The Mazda CX-5 Remains a Formidable Competitor in a Robust Segment

2022 Mazda CX-5 SUV
The 2022 Mazda CX-5 is a compact SUV.

We are fans of most things Mazda, appreciating this Japanese brand’s styling verve, attention to detail, and fun-to-drive capabilities. The Mazda CX-5 remains a powerful entry in the compact crossover SUV segment, a five-passenger model that will soon be replaced by the CX-50. Aside from its irksome infotainment system, the CX-5 delivers on all counts.

The CX-5 has served Mazda well, replacing the Tribute in 2013 and entering its second generation in 2017. Since its inception, the Mazda CX-5 has received a warm reception for its styling vitality, which has likely influenced competing models to pursue likewise. Thus, the CX-5 simply elevates what otherwise might have remained a staid segment.

We are not entirely sure when it will happen, but eventually, the CX-5 will be replaced by the CX-50 as the latter arrives this spring. Future Mazda models add a “0” digit to the end of their names. This will distinguish them from earlier models as Mazda continues to push upmarket. Nevertheless, there may be some overlap before that happens. In any case, the 2022 CX-5 receives refreshed front and rear fascias, an updated suspension system, and standard all-wheel drive.


2022 Mazda CX-5 front fascia


Highlights of the 2022 Mazda CX-5

There is much to dissect about the 2022 CX-5. We will explore its trims, then dive into styling, features, safety, and technologies. Keep in mind that the CX-5 operates in a competitive segment. The Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet Equinox, and Honda CR-V are among its biggest competitors. However, we would be remiss if we overlooked the Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson, and the Subaru Forester. The Buick Envision and GMC Terrain are two other models that come to mind.

Eight trim choices.

Mazda offers the 2022 CX-5 in eight trims, ranging from the S ($25,900) to the Turbo Signature ($38,650). Add $1,225 for the destination charge. With a special paint option, the top trim exceeds $40,000 and that is a shockingly high price threshold for this little crossover. Fortunately, some well-equipped models retail for far less. Incidentally, our test model was none other than the range-topping Turbo Signature.

Leading-edge exterior.

The Mazda CX-5 is, in our estimation, the best-looking utility vehicle in the segment. The CX-50 will build on it and that is a win for consumers.

Tight proportions give this model a sporty look with no overhang waste to speak of. Its gaping grille, pretty LED accent lights, signature body lines, sculpting, and handsome color choices dovetail precisely to create a smooth, yet sophisticated appearance.


2022 Mazda CX-5 profile


Mazda dresses the CX-5 with standard LED headlights and 17-inch alloy wheels. Keyless entry comes with the Select trim, while the Preferred model adds a sunroof and a power liftgate. Heated side mirrors, 19-inch wheels, and adaptive headlights appear with the Premium trim. Other features include power-foldup side mirrors, black-painted wheels, and chrome embellishments.

Comfortable and high-quality interior.

Given the styling dynamism of the exterior, you would expect Mazda to do likewise with the CX-5’s interior. Happily, Mazda does not disappoint.

Indeed, we found the front seats supportive, with enough padding and bolstering for spirited driving. The rear seat is fairly narrow and that means two can sit comfortably, while it is a squeeze for a third. The cargo area measures approximately 31 cubic feet to 60 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. That is below the competition on both counts as the CX-5 delivers tighter proportions.


2022 Mazda CX-5 front seats
2022 Mazda CX-5 rear seats


Soft-touch and high-end materials are in abundance with the CX-5, especially in upper trims where leather covers the dashboard, center console, and seats. This is where the CX-5 earns a rightful comparison to such models as the Audi Q3 and Cadillac XT4. Wood trim and chrome pieces are also evident.

Full power accessories, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, push-button start, and air conditioning come standard. Among the many upgrades through the trim walk are dual-zone climate control and leather seats. Other features include heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated outboard rear seats, and upgraded leather.

Driving aids galore.

Manufacturers continue to add driver-assist safety technologies to their vehicles. The CX-5 is a strong representation of this. Forward collision mitigation, lane departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring are included on all trims. Beginning with the Premium Plus trim, a head-up display comes standard.

The range-topping Turbo Signature model earns a few exclusive features. These are a 360-degree camera system, parking sensors, and rear automatic braking.


2022 Mazda CX-5 technology


Tech features we want.

The base “S” trim with a four-speaker audio package is nothing special. However, a 10.25-inch central display is standard as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. We are just no fans of the infotainment system as it requires dialing in commands, something that is oddly like the 2015 Audi models.

Move away from the base model and a 6-speaker audio system kicks in. Starting with the Premium trim is a 10-speaker Bose package and satellite radio. The Turbo model adds a wireless charging pad, while the Signature edition gains an in-house navigation system.

A tale of two engines.

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine sits under the hood of every Mazda CX-5 again this year. What Mazda does with it makes a world of difference. In its naturally aspirated form, this engine produces 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. These are decent numbers, although nothing more. Power routes to the wheels utilizing a 6-speed automatic transmission.


2022 Mazda CX-5 engine


The second choice adds turbocharging technology. This one makes 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque with regular gasoline or 250 horsepower with premium. Inasmuch as we like the extra boost with the higher grade, costly gasoline prices would most likely keep us filling with regular. The same transmission choice is offered.

Driving Impressions

Our turbocharged test model was a joy to drive. We cannot say that about almost every other model in the segment. The extra kick supplied by boosting is noticeable and welcome. Its supplies more power than expected given this model’s small size. Therefore, it lacks no power, and it returns said power quickly.

Switch to sport mode and the CX-5 gains an aggressive persona with sharper shifting at the ready. The all-wheel-drive system is a bonus, especially on the lower-trim models. This system sends power to the front wheels, then shifts up to 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels when it detects slip. We found the steering precise with solid feedback and this crossover handles well, especially on twisting roads. There is some leaning detected on angular roads, but that is no surprise given its high profile. Nonetheless, the CX-5 behaves more like a sedan or hatchback to its credit. A smooth ride and firm brakes round out this model’s chief attributes.


2022 Mazda CX-5 rear three quarter
2022 Mazda CX-5 rear


Our Recommendation

The turbo engine is a sweet delight, but you will pay more than $35,000 to acquire a model equipped with one. We think starting your search with the Select trim and pushing up to the Premium Plus is the sweet spot for this model line. Certainly, you can pay more for features found on more premium models, but that means adjusting your budget accordingly.

All in all, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 hits most of the high notes. Its infotainment system, however, is a bust and that is hard to overlook for some shoppers.


See AlsoMazda Rolls Out EV, Expands Crossover Lineup, and Adds an I6 Engine

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Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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