Since the current, second-generation Mazda CX-5 arrived for 2017, it has received consistent updates over the years. Some of the changes have been significant—a larger infotainment screen, an optional turbocharged engine—while others have been less noticeable—a new font for the badges, an appearance package, and a tweaked exterior design for 2022 with smoother front and rear ends that include new headlights and taillights.
The context around the CX-5 has changed too. Many of its competitors have been redesigned, and Mazda has introduced another entry—the 2023 CX-50—into the compact-crossover class. So how has the CX-5, long one of our favorites in this popular segment, fared?
The short answer is that it’s still a great compact SUV. With the same eager driving dynamics, upscale interior, and refined demeanor as before, the CX-5 remains more engaging and desirable than your average mainstream crossover.
Andi HedrickCar and Driver
HIGHS: Great to drive, quiet and refined, nicely finished interior.
That said, the CX-5 is starting to show its age in a variety of ways. For one, it doesn’t look nearly as fresh as the CX-50, which has a wider stance, a lower profile, and a bit more visual interest thanks to a better variety of available colors. The CX-5’s taller and more upright proportions are less appealing to our eye, and although the reshaped front and rear ends help it from looking too stale—particularly in the Signature model’s new monochromatic treatment—the CX-5 is not the design standout it once was.
Andi HedrickCar and Driver
The CX-5 also lacks a hybrid option, a clear sign that it’s behind the times. Competitors from Honda, Toyota, Kia, and Hyundai all offer gas-electric variants now, with EPA combined figures approaching 40 mpg. The CX-50, too, will add a hybrid drivetrain soon, but the CX-5 continues with a choice of two gasoline engines: a 187-hp naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four or a 256-hp turbocharged version of that engine in upper trim levels. All-wheel drive is now standard across the board, which means that the CX-5 is rated at 26 mpg combined in base form and 24 mpg with the turbo engine.
Smaller than the CX-50, and lighter by 34 pounds, the turbocharged CX-5 proved to be quicker than its newer sibling by a few ticks. This turbo 2.5-liter engine is found in nearly every Mazda, and the 256 horses it now makes are 6 more than it did previously in the CX-5. That’s on premium gas; fill it with regular, and you’ll make do with 227 horses. Our 2022 CX-5 Signature test car’s 60-mph sprint of 6.2 seconds matched a 2019 example; the CX-50, meanwhile, got to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. Few compact crossovers can break the 7.0-second barrier, with only the Ford Escape, Ford Bronco Sport, and the Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid offering acceleration quicker than the Mazdas.
Andi HedrickCar and Driver
LOWS: No hybrid option, so-so infotainment, doesn’t look as sharp as the CX-50.
The CX-5’s squishy brake pedal is its only real sin in terms of dynamics—it stopped from 70 mph in a lackluster 185 feet. That’s 24 feet longer than what the CX-50 managed. We’ll blame this performance—as well as the low 0.78 g of grip it managed around the skidpad—on the CX-5’s narrow 225-width Toyo A36 tires. The CX-50, on wider 245-width Goodyear Eagle Touring rubber, managed 0.87 g. But unless you’re planning on exploring the CX-5’s limits on a regular basis, you’ll find its handling to be perfectly pleasant, as the steering provides just the right amount of feedback, and its ride quality is firm yet supple.
Were the CX-5 significantly cheaper than the CX-50, we’d find it easier to forgive its slightly dated interior design that lacks the optional stitched, rich-looking terra-cotta leather available on Mazda’s newer SUV offering. But our loaded CX-5 test car stickered for $40,745, and a loaded CX-50 goes for just a few thousand more than that (if you can get one for sticker price, that is). At that point, the CX-50’s extra interior space, newer design, and upcoming hybrid make it look like a no-brainer. But even as it ages, the CX-5 remains a good option, one that we’d still choose over pretty much any other compact SUV out there.
2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 Turbo Signature
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $40,225/$40,745
Options: Snowflake White Pearl paint, $395; rear bumper guard, $125
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 152 in3, 2488 cm3
Power: 256 hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque: 320 lb-ft @ 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 99Z M+S
Wheelbase: 106.2 in
Length: 180.1 in
Width: 72.6 in
Height: 66.3 in
Passenger Volume: 104 ft3
Cargo Volume: 29-31 ft3
Curb Weight: 3832 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 6.2 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.9 sec @ 93 mph
100 mph: 17.7 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.7 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.6 sec
Top Speed (mfr’s claim): 129 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 185 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.78 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 24 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 24/22/27 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
A car-lover’s community for ultimate access & unrivaled experiences. JOIN NOW
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io