More than any other mainstream compact crossover, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 makes its driver feel special. With a price tag that’s much closer to a Honda CR-V’s than a Porsche Macan’s, the Mazda is accessible to the same demographic group as the former, but it’s also able to the impress those who fall into the latter’s tax bracket. The CX-5’s base four-cylinder engine doesn’t highlight its dynamic driving personality as well as the optional turbocharged four, but all models have a ride-and-handling balance that’s unrivaled in this segment. There are more-practical alternatives, especially when it concerns cargo space, but no competitors can match the Mazda’s elegantly styled and richly appointed interior. The 2022 CX-5’s transcendent traits simply outpace all of its classmates.
What’s New for 2022?
For 2022, Mazda massages the CX-5’s already attractive bodywork with smoother surfaces on the front and rear. Its grille also becomes more distinctive with a new three-dimensional mesh texture and wings that extend outwards toward the reshaped LED headlights. Inside, the seats have been updated to be more supportive. Mazda says it also retuned the transmission to be smoother and more responsive. Likewise, suspension improvements are said to make the CX-5 handle and ride even better than before. All models now come standard with all-wheel drive, and the SUV’s driving behavior is more adjustable thanks to new drive-mode settings. The Grand Touring Reserve trim is now called Turbo, and the top-tier Signature trim has body-color cladding instead of the previous dark color.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We think the new Turbo trim best exemplifies the CX-5. With the upgraded 250-hp turbocharged engine, its quickness better corresponds with its athletic handling. Its exterior is elegantly sporty with trim-specific gloss-black accents. Its interior mirrors that sportiness with red accents and stitching.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The CX-5’s standard 187-hp four-cylinder engine has great throttle response when pulling away from stoplights or hustling around town, so it feels quicker than it actually is. It’s at higher speeds, such as when trying to pass or merge onto the freeway, that it feels underpowered. The 250-hp turbocharged version we tested provided much quicker acceleration. Both engines pair with a snappy six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. You don’t need to drive the CX-5 hard to enjoy it or to appreciate its excellence. Sure, its precise steering and composed cornering make for one helluva Sunday cruise. But it also soaks up rough roads without commotion and has the ride quality of crossovers that cost twice as much. This harmonious interplay of dynamics is unrivaled by its competitors. Pavement imperfections are isolated, road noise is minimal, and the damping is neither stiff nor floaty. At the same time, the Mazda comes alive on curvy roads. The electrically assisted steering provides satisfying responses. The Signature model we tested had a reassuring brake-pedal feel that operated without delay and without being too touchy when you apply the brakes.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
With two engine options, the CX-5 has two fuel-economy ratings. The base 2.5-liter engine is rated at 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The more powerful turbocharged engine is rated at 22 mpg city and 27 highway. We’ve tested both on our 75-mph highway route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, and the standard engine returned 32 mpg compared with the turbo four’s 30 mpg result. For more information about the CX-5’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Wake up inside the top-tier CX-5 models and you might think you’ve been abducted by kidnappers driving an Audi or a Mercedes. First-rate materials and a fabulous layout make it feel especially upscale. The floor-hinged accelerator pedal feels better than the more common version that is suspended above the floor, the well-crafted steering wheel is directly in front of the driver and not offset at a slight angle, and all of the front-seat armrests are at the same height for optimal comfort. Sacrifices come in small packages: in this case, the CX-5 held just nine carry-on suitcases behind its rear seats in our testing. The storage bay does benefit from a completely flat load floor. There are also several nooks and crannies in the cabin to store smartphones and other small items. For instance, the center console has a deep tray at the front and a useful bin with a removable shelf.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every model boasts a 10.3-inch infotainment display that’s primarily manipulated through a rotary controller and volume knob on the center console. The interface also operates through voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the board. The CX-5 comes with Mazda Connected Services that includes access to remote vehicle functions via a smartphone app and a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The CX-5 comes standard with a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance technology and some other optional assists. For more information about the CX-5’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Standard adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Kia and Hyundai both offer better warranty coverage than Mazda, and some other automakers that play in this segment offer complimentary maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2021 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED
$39,400 (base price: $38,680)
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
152 in3, 2488 cm3
250 @ 5000 rpm
320 @ 2500 rpm
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 12.6-in vented disc/11.9-in disc
Tires: Toyo A36, P225/55R-19 99V M+S
Wheelbase: 106.2 in
Length: 179.1 in
Width: 72.5 in
Height: 65.3 in
Passenger volume: 102 ft3
Cargo volume: 31 ft3
Curb weight: 3809 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 6.1 sec
100 mph: 16.9 sec
110 mph: 22.3 sec
1/4 mile: 14.7 sec @ 94 mph
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.2 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.6 sec
Top speed (governor limited): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 ft
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 21 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 24/22/27 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs