Mazda CX-5: Steady as She Goes

The Mazda CX-5 has been a staple in the compact crossover utility vehicle segment, offering a blend of performance, style, and technology that has attracted a broad range of buyers. As it reaches the eighth year of its second generation, the CX-5 continues to outperform its siblings in sales, maintaining a 2-1 sales ratio over the next Mazda model. Let’s examine the key facts that define this vehicle.

2024 Mazda CX-5 front

Eighth Year of the Second-Generation Model

Despite its age, the Mazda CX-5 remains a strong contender in the market, outselling the next Mazda model (the subcompact CX-30 crossover) on a 2-1 basis. This longevity underscores its enduring appeal.

Compact Crossover Utility Vehicle

The CX-5 is one of two compact crossover utility vehicles offered by Mazda, highlighting the brand’s expertise in this popular segment. Mazda continues to offer the CX-5 along the new CX-50, the latter introduced in 2023.

Trim Levels and Pricing

In 2024, the CX-5 lineup has been refreshed and now features eight distinct trim levels. This year sees the discontinuation of the entry-level 2.5 S trim and the introduction of the new, upscale 2.5 Carbon Turbo trim. The pricing structure for the 2024 models is detailed below, starting with the 2.5 S Select at $29,300, moving up through various options including the 2.5 S Preferred at $30,650, the 2.5 S Carbon Edition at $31,950, the 2.5 S Premium at $33,900, and the 2.5 S Premium Plus at $36,500. The newly introduced 2.5 Carbon Turbo is priced at $37,000, followed by the 2.5 Turbo Premium at $37,800, and culminating with the 2.5 Turbo Signature at $40,600. Please note, these prices do not include a mandatory destination charge of $1,375.

Design Appeal

Mazda’s CX-5 showcases a striking design that captures attention and upholds the brand’s legacy of crafting visually stunning vehicles. Its front is marked by a bold, wide grille that is a signature element shared across Mazda’s lineup. This distinct facial expression is not unique in the automotive world, yet Mazda’s implementation stands out for its cohesion and appeal. The vehicle’s design harmonizes sharp angles, pronounced lines, voluptuous curves, and dynamic upward sweeps, embodying the handsome aesthetic characteristics typical of Mazda.

2024 Mazda CX-5 profile

The CX-5 is equipped with features that enhance both its functionality and style, including dual-exhaust tips and aluminum-alloy wheels as standard. On higher trim levels, the LED headlights are upgraded to adaptive versions, offering drivers improved visibility during nighttime driving. Additionally, as one moves up the model range, the CX-5 boasts larger wheel options, the availability of blacked-out trim for a more aggressive look, and a broader palette of color options.

Luxurious Interior

The interior of the CX-5 approaches luxury levels, especially in the top-end models. Features like quilted leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated outboard rear seats enhance the vehicle’s premium feel. The CX-5 all rides fairly quietly with Mazda doing a decent job in limiting vehicle noise, vibration, and harshness.

While the CX-5 can seat up to five passengers, it offers optimal comfort for four, making it ideal for families and small groups. Drivers should find their seat comfortable with sufficient head, neck, back, and hip support. Moving up the trim range brings more luxurious (and comfortable) choices, including the full leather seating with quilting (please note that the seat and dashboard pictures featured here are not representative of the test model).

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

Two Engine Choices

Mazda provides two engine options for the CX-5, both based on a 2.5-liter displacement. Customers can choose between a naturally aspirated engine and a turbocharged variant, catering to different driving preferences. The base engine makes 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, while the turbo delivers 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. It gets even better for the turbo when using premium fuel as those numbers climb to 250/320.

In a recent evaluation of the CX-5, we were offered the turbocharged model. This one is very fast and makes this crossover drive like a stock car under certain conditions. We don’t recommend taking this vehicle to the track unless you have that kind of experience. But if you do and equip it with racing tires, it may surprise you. For everyone else, take note of the grippy tires, stellar but heavy steering feel, and strong brakes. If this vehicle doesn’t imbue confidence, then it will certainly disappoint anyone who places a value on performance.

Standard All-Wheel Drive

Unique in its segment, the CX-5 comes with standard all-wheel drive, a feature that only Subaru also offers as standard across its lineup in this category. Typically, only luxury makes offer standard all-wheel drive, a cost that typically adds upwards of $2,000 to the price. Further, Mazda G-Vectoring Control is designed to enhance the vehicle’s dynamics and stability by modulating engine power in reaction to steering movements.

This system intelligently regulates the distribution of engine torque to optimize the balance of forces acting horizontally, longitudinally, and vertically on the vehicle during cornering. Through this adjustment of engine torque according to steering actions, Mazda effectively redistributes the load across the vehicle’s suspension system, adapting seamlessly to the demands of varying driving conditions.

Decent Towing Capacity

Equipped with an optional trailer package, the CX-5 can tow up to 2,000 pounds, on par with the Kia Sportage. For an additional $550, dealers can install a Class 1 trailer hitch complete with harness and cover, subject to availability.

Advanced Driver-Assist Package

Mazda equips the CX-5 with an advanced package that includes blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, lane keep control, and adaptive cruise control with full stop and go functionality. An adaptive lighting system is also available.

2022 Mazda CX-5 technology

Infotainment System

The newest entertainment and information system in the CX-5 now offers touchscreen functionality. However, it’s important to note that connecting a smartphone is necessary to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. This marks a significant enhancement from the prior setup, which relied solely on a command dial to navigate the 10.25-inch display.

The system comes standard with features such as a six-speaker audio system, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and USB ports located both in the front and back of the vehicle. Optional upgrades are available, including a 10-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, satellite radio, wireless smartphone charging, and wireless smartphone integration.

Cargo Space

The vehicle provides average storage space behind the rear seat, which nearly doubles with the seat folded down. However, it faces stiff competition from the Chevrolet Equinox, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Hyundai Tucson in this aspect. For owners dependent on storage capacity, we recommend evaluating this space carefully to ensure that it suits their needs.

Lack of a Hybrid Variant

Unlike many competitors, Mazda does not offer a hybrid variant of the CX-5, putting it behind in the push towards vehicle electrification. However, Mazda is introducing plug-in hybrid variants in other models, such as the CX-90 and the upcoming CX-70 for 2025. We do think that it is possible for an electrified variant of the CX-50 to follow. However, no such model has been announced.

Mazda CX-5 Takeaways

In summary, the Mazda CX-5 continues to be a strong contender in the compact crossover segment, thanks to its blend of performance, style, and advanced features. Despite facing competition from newer models and the absence of a hybrid option, the CX-5’s enduring appeal is evident in its sustained sales success and the introduction of new trim levels and enhancements. As Mazda evolves its lineup with electrified options, the CX-5 remains a testament to the brand’s commitment to driving enjoyment and design excellence.

See AlsoAt a Glance: 2024 Mazda CX-5

Photos copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Matt Keegan
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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