Mazda CX-5 : epic drive to the Arctic Circle

What a relief when you are used to flying south, east, or west and then for once you can head northward… far from the madding crowd… in a quest with the Mazda CX-5 for the magic northern lights.

Looking for something to eat @a Swedisch airport? The toast at Joe & The Juice are so delicious!

It’s the end of March and the more north we fly (from Brussels to Stockholm to Luleåthe more pleasantly populated the airports become. After 1.2 hours of flying departing at Stockholm we arrive at Luleå airport. Though it is the biggest airport in northern Sweden it seems like a peaceful heaven in a remote and quiet area.

Twenty minutes after we got our luggage we are standing face to face with the beautiful facade of Elite Stadshotellet Luleå. This classic hotel, dating back to 1903, has a majestic entrance hall and an impressive banquet room in a French Renaissance style. Even though the hotel is situated in the centre of Luleå and our room windows are giving onto the street, are room is big, very comfy and quite.

© Sarah De Gheselle

As the next day we will be driving from Luleå to Rovaniemi (Finland) on quite curvy and snowy roads we get a safety briefing in which we get to know all about safety regulations and speed limits. Very quickly we learn that speed limits in Northern Europe are very strict. That is to say: we cannot drive over 100 km/h neither in Sweden nor in Finland. Fines are very high. Mazda even warns us that if we should try to go 30 km/h above the permitted speed, we might get arrested. As if we would try driving so fast on snowy roads? Apart from the police there is also wildlife that might make our trip very exciting… Let’s hope we don’t meet hungry bears but only elegant reindeer!

For dinner Mazda invited us at CG restaurant, a mainly meat restaurant where they cook according to simple traditions. They bake with sourdough, dry, marinade, smoke and love to long-cook. The seasonal products and all of the meat is cooked on a fine charcoal grill. We choose a dish with reindeer meat, a local speciality, that tastes great but we had to wait a long time and the place was like overcrowded. We guess CG has to be one of the better restaurants in Luleå.


The next morning we are all set at around 06h00 to get breakfast at the Festis restaurant in Elite Stadshotellet Luleå. The choice of breakfast is amazing. Fresh fruits, pastries, pancakes, local specialties (cheese and cold cuts) everything you need to get enough energy for a long drive.


At 07h00 a big line of Mazda CX-5 cars is waiting for us in front of the hotel to start the self-drive to Rovaniemi. Though the drive is only approximately 270 km it wil take us about five hours. Roads are not only curvy and snowy we get also 1 hour for an individual photo stop with professional photographer @Davidfsmith. Our schedule is tight but the good thing is that Rovaniemi is in another time zone (one hour later than in Luleå), a relief as we better don’t be late. Latecomers might miss the epic huski tour and frankly speaking we don’t want to miss that either.


Landscapes are white but the road itself is a mixture of snowy, icy and snowfree parts. Needless to say that we are very happy to drive this road in a Mazda CX-5 – the 2.2 diesel with 184 hp – equipped with 4WD and spikes. We are impressed by the way this well equiped car drives over snow and ice; by the way itconquers the road in a very efficient way. There is only one downside to those studded tires: they generate so much noise that we cannot judge whether the updated CX-5 has become quieter or not. We assume that in a sector where car brands are constantly striving for improvement, the updated Mazda CX-5 has not become any noisier.

Photo Mazda
Photo Mazda


The updated Mazda CX-5 MY 2019 builds on the many and diverse strengths of the second generation model with refinements focused on two key areas – cabin quality and technology, and driving dynamics. Numerous interior elements have been refined and upgraded to raise the quality of both the cabin environment and its HMItechnology and connectivity. On-board connectivity eg. has been evolved to support both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing users to operate both iPhone and smartphone apps via the Mazda MZD Connect system.

© David LF Smith

© David LF Smith
© David LF Smith

Apart from the interior improvements driving dynamics got improved by better damping and stabilisators in the front AND the rear, adjustment ofelectronig steering got improved and the model is equipped with the newest version of GVC, G-Vectoring Control Plus. In practice we feel that the CX-5 shows more dynamic driving. PS: We also adored the front-seat ventilation adopted on models with leather upholstery. It’s not that we were feeling very hot here in Lapland but we could perfectly imagine what a fresh breeze this ventilation generates on our body in summer. Another good thing was that we were not feeling very tired after this exhilirating drive that required a lot of concentration. That says a lot about the comfort of the car and the easyness to drive it.

The new Mazda CX-5 MY 2019 starts at € 34.990

Useful addresses:

– Elite Stadshotellet Luleå
Storgatan 15, 972 32 Luleå, Sweden

– CG Restaurant
Storgatan 9, 972 38 Luleå, Sweden

Staying @Arctic Treehouse Hotel
– Arctic TreeHouse Hotel
Tarvantie 3, 96930 Arctic Circle, Finland

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