The market’s fastest growing segment right now is that for Qashqai-like Crossovers and compact soft-roading SUVs.
If you want something that offers the best of both and offers the finest driving dynamics, the lowest running costs, the most space and arguably the best value in the class, then it’s hard to ignore this one, Mazda’s CX-5.
Not the first car of this sort you thought of is it?
But try one and you might just think it to be the best.
The 150PS 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D engine we tried isn’t short of pulling power and with 0-62mph taking just 9.2s, it’s 25 per cent quicker than a comparable Freelander.
If you want to go faster, there’s a 175PS version of this unit.
And a 165PS 2.0-litre petrol powerplant for entry-level 2WD customers.
But it isn’t the sheer straightline speed that you really remember after spending some time in this machine: it’s the way it rides and responds.
And off-road prowess?
Well, as with the systems employed by most of its rivals, this car has a set-up in which the torque is automatically split according to the terrain you’re on, so it can direct 100 per cent of drive to the front wheels in normal conditions, with up to 50 per cent then directed to the rear wheels if slip is detected.
List pricing sees CX-5 ownership pitched in the usual £20,000 to £30,000 bracket for cars of this kind.
And it’s also the least expensive car to run in its segment as well as being the best equipped.