TECHNOLOGY continues to advance so quickly in the car market and the all-new Mazda CX-5, a roomy family vehicle, is a good example of this.

Its new engines, in particular, are very fuel efficient and there is a combination of other worthwhile advances to attract many purchasers and prevent them from going down the electric or alternative fuel car-buying route.

No doubt electric and other vehicles will become a force to be reckoned with when necessities such as charging points are far more numerous and purchase prices are more attractive. But for the present models like Mazda’s all-new CX-5, with its brilliant fuel returns and low emissions, make appealing alternatives, particularly for drivers covering a lot of miles.

The compact SUV, with Mazda’s Skyactiv technology, comes with a new line of motors comprising a 165bhp two-litre petrol and a 2.2l diesel with power outputs of 150 and 175bhp. There are two wheel and all-wheel-drive vehicles, with prices ranging from £21,395 for the SE-L petrol to £27,195 for the 175bhp diesel Sport with allwheel- drive.

The diesels are by far the most popular in Britain. They are well priced and if you are in the market for a new family vehicle the Mazda deserves to be on your shortlist.

The oil burner is refined, smooth, quiet and willing to rev high. And to help economy the engine has a very low compression ratio and an improved fuel and air mixture. There is also a general reduction in mechanical friction, an engine mapping system developed to achieve higher fuel economy and weight-savings measures throughout the car which all help to achieve a combined fuel return of 61.4mpg for the 150bhp diesel and 54.3mpg for the all-wheel-drive version.

The CO2 emissions (g/km) figure on the 150bhp diesel is a low 119, rising to 136 for the 175bhp version.

A surprisingly light throttle is needed to accelerate briskly while prog ress is helped by the sixspeed manual transmission which is one of the slickest in the class.

Dap your foot on the accelerator and there is performance aplenty with strong pulling power for overtaking or changes of direction.

And all the time the motor is smooth and flexible.

The speed-sensitive power steering is communicative but is on the light side and some motorists may prefer more feel.

However, the CX-5 has much driver appeal. With a new chassis it handles well, giving a fairly firm but controlled and comfortable ride over all but the poorest surfaces. The car is generally well insulated from road sound though the big tyres can pick up noise on some surfaces.

The car benefits from the allround ability and practicality of a hatchback with the commanding seating position and extra view of an off-roader. Its seats are luxurious and supportive to help maintain a cosseting ride.

The cabin is modern looking with a sur prising amount of space compared with class rivals and there is an excellent layout of controls and instruments.

The rear is sufficiently roomy for three adults while the spacious boot is big enough to hold just about all the family luggage.

However, the boot is a little on the high side for loading heavy items but there is a useful storage compartment underneath which will even accommodate the parcel shelf. There is no spare wheel but an easy-to-use emergency tyre repair kit is supplied as standard.

The CX-5 is generously equipped with alloys, air con and climate control stability programme and traction control, cruise control, airbags galore, including side and curtain, front and rear electric windows, Bluetooth, parking sensors and with sat-nav as standard on higher-grade models.

The CX-5 is undoubtedly an appealing car and should make quite an impression in its crowded sector.