Mazda's CX-5 diesel is arguably the best of this very good breed. Certainly it proved the perfect mount for a five-hour after-work jaunt to Russell loaded to the gunwales with goods and chattels, running about with up to four adults aboard - two of them 1.8m tall - then returning early one morning with a busy week-day schedule ahead. Such an itinerary requires a good-sized boot, four roomy seats, refined and frugal cruising and enough safety and comfort features to render the driving effortless, and this car delivered.
2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine punchy enough to please yet returned a 7.4l/100km average despite a good proportion of hilly rural roads and laden running; well above the 5.7 claim but reasonable for the class.
Getting smelly oily hands when filling up at the diesel pump, and road user charges which are a fiddle to manage and penalise the most frugal runners.