Mazda has always been an impressive, sporty brand that offers really fun cars for a very affordable price. Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of Mazda and think its cars are great fun. Car and Driver, in fact, recently claimed that Mazda was the only brand on the market that they’d recommend every car in its lineup. However, what Mazda isn’t, is premium. But don’t tell that to Mazda, as the Japanese brand recently launched a press event for journalists to drive the new CX-5 crossover back-to-back with the BMW X1, Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and the Lexus NX.

In this new video from The Fast Lane Car, we get to see this back-to-back drive between the new CX-5 and the aforementioned premium crossovers. We even get to see an interview with Dave Coleman, the Vehicle Dynamics Manager for Mazda.

Coleman talks a lot about how Mazda has been studying humans as much as cars, trying to figure out what feels natural and intuitive. This has always been the Mazda way, to make its cars give the right kind of feedback and emotion, rather than just providing good numbers on a spec sheet. For instance, Coleman references the Mercedes’ poor throttle response, the Audi’s lack of steering feel and the BMW’s odd steering wheel position. Mazda claims it actually provides a more intuitive and sharper driving response than any of the premium vehicles.

Obviously, the CX-5 is slower than these cars, using a naturally-aspirated 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine, and it isn’t as luxurious. However, it is impressive and seems far better than any other car in its class, such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. But we’re not really sure it can compete with its more premium rivals.

Roman from TFLC does notice the weird throttle response of the Mercedes and a slight bit of turbo lag from the Bimmer but other than that, he doesn’t really seem convinced that any of the premium cars feel worse than the Mazda. He also points out that no customer is going to cross-shop these vehicles because they’re also buying a premium brand along with the premium car and Mazda simply can’t compete with that. While that wasn’t the point of Mazda’s exercise, as we know no one will cross-shop them, the point was to show that the new CX-5 punches above its weight class. That much we can agree on.