Mazda’s CX-5 compact SUV has been the carmakers top seller as it’s just the right size that new car buyers want, has good utility, an affordable price and top safety scores. It’s also economical to drive. And if you need more interior room, Mazda answered that with their new CX-50 that is a bit larger and one we recently reviewed.
For 2023, CX-5 retains the Mazda family smooth, aerodynamic design. And it emphasizes this with its new Rhodium White Metallic paint that adorned the test car. This would be my color choice as it’s whiter than snow and exemplifies a people pleasing SUV.
CX-5 is offered in S, Select, Preferred, Carbon Edition, Premium, Premium Plus, Turbo and Turbo Signature that we tested.
CX-5s interior too is pleasing to the eye and to the touch. Heated/cooled perforated Nappa leather front seats are nicely padded with just the right amount of lumbar support. And they’re not encumbering when wearing heavy winter coats.
Its 10.25-inch color display sits unobtrusively atop the center dash and serves a host of features that include Bose audio, rearview camera with overhead and frontal views, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HVAC selections, Travel Link with weather radar/forecasts, local gasoline prices and traffic reports. The latter comes compliments of Mazda connected services. Included too was a head-up display showing vehicle speed, posted speed limits and traffic signs.
HVAC controls are simple buttons that are easy to view and use. And below them is a neatly positioned wireless phone charger with receptacles for wired charging.
A burly gear selector for the 6-speed automatic transmission shares the console with the mode selector switch and rotary controller for the display. It too was simple to use although the latter should only be used when the car is not moving.
CX-5s gauge cluster has a combination of conventional analog gauges and a digital speedometer that also serves as a driver information display and mode display for Sport, Normal and Off-Road modes. In Off-Road the inner circle of the speedometer turns a gold color and in Sport, it turns red.
With a low 19-inch step-in, the heated back seats recline, are soft and supple and can seat two adults or three youngsters with decent leg room provided the fronts aren’t racked well rearward. Head room though is ample.
Back in the spacious cargo area, and with the rear seatbacks upright, there’s 30.8 cubic feet of space that measures 37 inches deep, 44 wide and 29.5 high. Flip the split 40/20/40 seatbacks and cargo capacity expands to 59.3 cubic feet for 66 inches of cargo loading depth. A 29-inch lift over onto the cargo floor is low enough for easy loading of heavy, bulky items.
Beneath the cargo floor are two shallow bins to stow small items out of sight and they share the space with the spare tire.
With a ground clearance of 7.9 inches and Mazda’s intelligent AWD system that can send power to different wheels that need the extra traction, CX-5 can handle modest snow depths, but only refined off-roads.
As for Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus, the system can adjust engine power and braking to achieve stability in negotiating turns and corners. And it all happens without notice. The CX-5 can actually be tossed in the turns and it remains planted on Toyo 18-inch tires. And it parks easily with its tight 39.1-foot wall-wall turn circle.
The CX-5 does not lack for power, especially in Sport mode and when the turbo kicks in. The top trim levels come with a 2.5-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder that generates 227-hp and a robust 310 lb/ft of torque. Use 93-octance gas and those numbers increase to 256-hp and 320 lb/ft of torque. With that much grunt, there is some torque steer under full throttle runs. Coupled to the 6-speed auto transmission, EPA’s estimated fuel economy ratings come in at 22 city, 27-highway mpg. Of course, those numbers suffer with a heavy foot.
With a base price of $39,650 the Signature trim model came standard with a long list of safety features such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, smart city brake support, driver attention alert, traffic jam assist and many more.
On the nicety side, there’s a powered sunroof, heated power folding outside mirrors, rain sensing wipers and SiriusXM satellite radio to name a few.
The only extra cost options on the test car were for the Rhodium White paint ($595) and rear bumper guard ($135) that took the bottom line to $41,655 with delivery. CX-5 is competitively priced within a crowded compact SUV market. It also comes with the Governments top 5-star safety ratings of five stars for an overall safety score; five for driver/passenger frontal crash; five for front/rear seat side crash; and four for rollover. These are all impressive scores that are important safety considerations for today’s car buyers.
As all Mazda’s, CX-5 offers a 60 month/60K powertrain, 36 month/36K bumper-bumper warranties and 24-hour roadside assistance coverage.