When Mazda launch a new car they push the boat out for anyone who wants to try their new baby.

I’ve been up and down the country with their team and its always a pleasure because you know when you get behind the wheel of a new Mazda its going to be a great car.

My favourite saloon of all time was the Mazda6 MPS, a wonderful wolf in sheep’s clothing, so I was quite irritated when I had to miss the launch of their refreshed CX-5, one of the best in the SUV market, but one which is getting more and more crowded.

Five years ago there were more than 50 different models. Now with the many variations that figure is getting close to almost 100.

As the numbers have increased so have standards with Kia, Skoda and SEAT all providing great SUVs as well as the run of the mill Hondas, VWs and Peugeots where high standards are a norm.

But there’s no need for Mazda to worry about that because their standards are equally as high as the competition and probably even higher.

The CX-5, which comes in around £25,000, has been with us for more than five years and is particularly popular with the motoring public. It is both comfortable and quick on its toes and a great package all round. On the motorway it cruises like a dream, helped by the loss of wind and road noise.

The refreshed model is better than the last one – of course it would be – and handles better, runs better and is great to drive.

The CX-5’s two four-cylinder engines both come from the old CX-5, with various revisions to improve refinement, response and fuel efficiency.

The 2.2 diesel engine is superb. It is both strong and flexible and I’m sorry Honda didn’t keep their 2.2 engine for the SUV because that too was brilliant.

The CX-5’s 2.2-litre diesel is available in two power outputs (with 148bhp and 173bhp) and there is a 163bhp 2.0-litre petrol unit.

The new CX-5 is similar to the older vehicle, and uses the same platform but is 15 per cent stiffer than before. That improves handling, reduces the noise and the suspension has been completely changed. Both engines are generally unchanged and there is a four-wheel drive unit and a six-speed automatic gearbox is available with the diesels.

The 2.2-litre diesel is expected to be the top seller with either the 148bhp or the 173bhp versions.

The 2.0-litre petrol engine is naturally aspirated so no turbo, which most models go for.

The petrol model claims 47mpg combined and emits 149g/km of CO2 while the diesel almost gets to almost. The four wheel drive model is around 50 miles to the gallon.

Kit levels are fairly strong as well, with SE-L Nav models featuring LED headlights, sat-nav, DAB and dual-zone climate control, while Sport Nav cars include an electric tailgate, electric leather seats, a heated wheel and a head-up display.

Mazda’s rotary wheel, with a large central knob for navigating menus and a series of smaller buttons for shortcuts is now with the CX-5 and Bluetooth and DAB radio are standard.

The CX-5 also has a head-up display that shows speed, sat-nav data and traffic sign recognition. A clearer 4.6-inch TFT display features in the dials, too.

Entry-level cars come with a four-speaker sound system that provides perfectly adequate quality. The Sport Nav models has a Bose ten-speaker surround sound.

Visibility is pretty good, despite a driving position that’s a bit more low-slung than rivals and the new CX-5 is just over 4.5m long and 1.84m wide but the wheelbase is the same.

The actual space is unchanged and it’s big enough for a large family and there’s plenty of headroom. The purists would have liked to see a seven-seat model like most rivals do but they’re are not that much in demand.

Boot space is more than 500 litres and with all the seats down and that space increases to 1620-litre, which is rather impressive.

Safety wise Mazda has made a number of key advances. There is more ultra high-tensile steel and new underbody structures enhance the car’s strength in an impact without adding more weight. All models have six airbags as standard and there is an advanced Smart City Brake Support (standard on all models) is improved over the old model.

There’s also an optional £800 safety pack, bringing with it adaptive LED headlights, lane-keep assist, driver attention alert, blind-spot monitoring and rear active city braking with rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control with a stop and go function, allowing autonomous braking and accelerating even in slow traffic, also features.

All Mazdas have a three-year, 60,000 mile warranty and there is extended cover available to purchase. Service intervals for the CX-5 are every 12,500 miles or twelve months, whichever comes sooner.

Owners can keep track of their service record via a smartphone app, too. In addition, the company offers a maintenance plan with prices starting from £499.

On the insurance front the petrol is the cheapest, starting at group 15E and vary between 18E to group 21E.