Getting from A to B can be a challenge for anyone but for Adam Short it’s often a matter of life or death. As Logistics Support Officer for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust it’s Adam’s job to ensure the team of paramedics make it to their patient as quickly as possible. The job doesn’t start with the helicopter either. Getting to the helipad quickly whatever the conditions is key too. With this in mind, Adam was asked to put the Mazda CX-5 through its paces on an off road day with the Vospers team. Could the Mazda CX-5 be a vital new addition to his crew? Here’s what he had to say:
For paramedics of Devon Air Ambulance it is imperative that they can get to the airbases, whatever Mother Nature throws at us and, since she seems angrier in recent years, this is ever more important. Our paramedics work every day of the year (and in coming years into the night as well) so although our helicopters can fly in most conditions, in winter especially, it will be getting to the airbases that can pose the greatest issues. With this in mind, I was looking forward to the Vospers four-wheel drive event to see what some of the vehicles on the market can actually achieve.
I arrived at the venue with great excitement and anticipation. It is not every day you get to drive new vehicles in the conditions and environment they were designed for. Having little experience of driving off-road, I approached the Mazda CX-5 with some trepidation. I would expect a chunky Jeep to charge up 1 in 5 slopes and power through rivers, however the CX5 looks too stylish to be tackling such muddy climbs. The weather was on hand to play its part, showering the course with yet more rain, creating deep ruts and heavily churned up mud.
My fears were extinguished almost immediately. With a highly experienced instructor on hand, I was guided through how to get the best out of the car off-road. With power feeding all four wheels, the Mazda kept going where a normal hatchback would, undoubtedly, have just been sliding around. Amazingly, at one point a fellow driver started coming down the 1 in 5 slope whilst I was on the incline. Stopping the vehicle and then restarting was a doddle, with no issues raised for the Mazda – it had complete traction at all times; I was suitably impressed!
With the instructor encouraging me on, the route took in tracks which I would question walking, let alone driving. The Mazda provided great confidence and gleefully skipped over challenging ruts and holes. This should make it capable of dealing with the worst of the potholes littering our roads after another awful winter. Where I expected the ground clearance to be called into question, the CX5 ploughed on. Going back downhill, the modern technology also showed its worth. With ‘hill descent control’ the car spookily took control and ensured we descended safely. All this without my feet on the brakes – fantastic! It is comforting and amazing in equal measures to consider that the Mazda can cope so well off-road.
A car like the Mazda CX-5 really inspires confidence and would allow you to keep driving when most of us would question whether to continue. I was very impressed – it was highly capable and a pleasure to drive. Definitely the kind of vehicle to ensure our valued paramedics could always get to the airbases and emergencies, whatever the weather.
Vospers is proud to support the work of the Devon Air Ambulance Trust. For more information about their work or to make a donation please visit www.daat.org