Launched in 2012 the original Mazda CX-5 was a landmark car for Mazda, not only did it mark the debut of Mazda’s Skyactiv technology, it was also the first production car to feature Mazda’s now range wide Kodo: Soul of Motion design philosophy. Praised at launch for its sharp looks and dynamic proportions, a mid-life update in 2015 updated the looks ensuring that throughout its life the first-generation remained a benchmark for style in the compact SUV sector.

The latest Mazda CX-5 takes this award-winning concept to the next level. Launched in 2017, it hints at the future direction of Mazda’s Kodo design with its mature physique and elegant form, while fine fit and finish give it a refined modern look, yet at the same time it remains unmistakably a CX-5.

As you’d expect for a car this popular, the CX-5’s bold and elegant form remains unaltered, with a new design of 19-inch Metallic alloy wheel on Sport Nav+ models being the only exterior change to the 2019 model year car, while the newly launched GT Sport Nav+ features 19-inch bright alloy wheels.

At 4,550mm long, 1,840mm wide and 1,680mm high, the - CX-5 is 10 mm longer and 35 mm lower than its first-generation predecessor. Wheelbase length remains 2,700 mm, but front and rear track is slightly wider than before, and with the tyres placed as near as possible to the outer corners of the bodyshell, the new car has the sporty stance you’d expect of an SUV focused on delivering class-leading style and driver-focused dynamics.

Compared to the first-generation, overall body structure has been revised with the A pillars repositioned some 35 mm further back and the relative positions of the front axle and A-pillars optimised. A single, powerful character line sweeping from the headlamps towards the rear tyres culminates at the back in a trapezoidal form which extends from the tailgate outwards towards the rear wheels.

Slender LED headlight clusters accentuate the low and wide expression of the CX-5’s face, while the satin chrome signature wing emphasises width by extending outwards from beneath the grille to underscore the headlamps. Long and thin LED fog light bezels that further accentuate the sense of breadth inherent in the front of the - CX-5. The three-dimensional look of the Mazda badge and grille has also been strengthened by a new, three-sided pyramid design that features mesh that curves gently inwards to the centre of the grille, both strengthening the visual power of the badge and accentuating the depth of the air intake.

In profile, the Mazda CX-5 is further distinguished by a slightly lower beltline, while the expansive side glazing area is emphasised by blacked out B and C pillars and a new slimmer door mirror design. In summary, the styling goal for the - CX-5 was to create a simple yet bold, mature and elegant form in which character line accents are minimised and the transitions between body surfaces are emphasised to create changes in light reflected off the body.

To maximise this effect, Mazda has developed the new Soul Red Crystal Metallic body colour. By raising the brightness level over the hugely popular Soul Red Metallic by approximately 20 per cent and increasing the depth by some 50 per cent, Mazda’s new Soul Red Crystal paint finish achieves even more stunning levels of transparency to highlight the beauty and quality of Kodo design’s dynamic body shapes.

An £800 option across the range, Soul Red Crystal continues to use three coats -a reflective layer, a translucent layer and a clear top coat- but represents a major advance in Mazda’s TAKUMINURI painting technology. To achieve a purer red, the translucent layer adopts a high-chroma pigment with an optimised particle size, creating a deeper hue and more vivid colouring. The reflective layer is thinner, and uses smaller, high-brightness aluminium flakes. It also contains light-absorbing flakes that intensify shaded areas, achieving a visual depth that previously required a second coat. The end result is precisely controlled reflections which produce more vivid highlights and even deeper shadows.

As well as the new Soul Red Crystal finish, the - Mazda CX-5 can be specified in a choice of seven further colours – Machine Grey Metallic, Sonic Silver Metallic, Eternal Blue Mica, Deep Crystal Blue Mica, Jet Black Mica, Snowflake White Pearlescent and Arctic White. Mica, Metallic and Pearlescent paint cost £560, while new Machine Grey Metallic shares the TAKUMINURI process and costs £680.

As an example of form following function, Mazda’s design team ensured aerodynamics played an equally important part in the cars development. Mazda’s aerodynamic ‘ground line’ concept aims to streamline air flow along the underbody, and establish a balance between the flow of air over and beneath the body as it converges at the rear of the vehicle. To this end, the front grille employs a duct shaped opening and strategically positioned aerodynamic parts have been added, plus on Skyactiv-G 2.0 petrol models an active air shutter keeps the lower front grille closed whenever possible. As a result of these measures, the - CX-5’s drag coefficient has been lowered by some 6 per cent over that of the outgoing model.