You need a compact crossover that’s fuel efficient, stylish and doesn’t even ditch the fun to drive factor. There are quite a few of them to choose from, but not many of them can quite click the buttons well like the CX-5. With stiff competition and stronger rivals, can the CX-5 justify a reason to buy one? Or is it all style and a lost cause? Let’s find out.
Performance: The CX-5 comes with two engines. The standard 2-liter four-cylinder produces 155hp. Top of the range comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder producing 184hp. Picking between the two all depends on tastes. Pick of the range is the 2.5 which has extra oomph without sacrificing gas mileage. Only tradeoff is you’re limited to an automatic transmission. The 2-liter trim is best left with a manual gearbox which works well with the little horsepower the engine has to offer.
Ride & handling: The CX-5 handles like a well balanced sports sedan. In the corners the CX-5 manages to remain perfectly flat. There’s plenty of confidence and really is quite fun to drive considering the size and weight. Ride comfort is a bit on the firm side. It stops short of being uncomfortable which is also welcome plus.
Refinement: The CX-5 does a fair job at ironing out wind and road noise. Some of its rivals do a better job at this. Both engines operate with finesse, the 2-liter can be heard at higher speeds or if you push it hard on the highway. If you option for the manual gearbox the shifts are smooth and precise, while the automatic is quite fun in manual mode.
Behind the wheel: There are plenty of adjustments for the driver’s seat and steering wheel. The dashboard has a no nonsense layout which gives it much more of a user friendly environment compared to the Ford Escape. The navigation system that’s offered isn’t as intuitive as some its rivals. Visibility from the rear is slightly hindered due to thick pillars.
Space & Practicality: There is plenty of space for four passengers inside the cabin. A fifth person can sit in the middle of the rear seat comfortably thanks to a flat floor where the transmission tunnel would most likely be. The boot space is nicely sized with the seats in place. With the seats down however the space is quite enormous for its size.
Equipment: The sport trim adds air-con, power windows, keyless entry and a fully functional trip computer standard. You’ll have to step up to the touring trim to add a 5.8inch touch screen display, six-speaker sound system and Bluetooth Technology. Top of the range Grand Touring adds rain sensing windshield wipers, auto lights, leather seats and 19inch alloy wheels.
Buying & Owning: The CX-5 is competitively priced with its keen rivals the Ford Escape and Hyundai Tucson. The fuel economy benefits between the 2-liter and 2.5 aren’t huge so both engines should be relatively cheap to run. Resale values and overall residual values should be average as well.
Reliability: Mazda generally enjoys strong reliability and build quality. The CX-5 is no exception to this and we think that long term reliability should be above average. Most of the materials used in the cabin are classy and feel long lasting.
Safety & Security: Front and side curtain airbags come standard across the range. All-wheel-drive is optional on both the 2-liter and 2.5 engines. Traction control, stability program and anti-lock brakes are all standard as well as brake assist. An engine immobilizer with anti-theft alarm is standard to keep theft at bay.
The CX-5 is a great compact crossover that’s stylish, spacious and fun to drive. The starting price is low and the overall driving impressions are all positive. This is a step in the right direction for Mazda. If you are looking for a compact crossover that’s fun, roomy and clicks all the right buttons in versatility and fuel economy. The CX-5 is a true winner.
Likes: Low running costs thanks to fuel efficient engines. Stylish exterior and interior design, fun to drive thanks to responsive chassis and responsive steering.
Dislikes: Base engine feels gutless on the highway with automatic transmission. Ride comfort can be overly firm on some surfaces. Some interior bits don’t feel up to par with its competition.