There's a good chance that if you're looking for a small crossover, you will start with tried-and-true players like Ford or Toyota. But that doesn't have to be the case. The Mazda CX-5 is a compact crossover introduced in 2013, and since its debut, sales have been soaring. With its spunky appearance and athletic handling, this new offering manages to stand out among a sea of RAV4s, Escapes, and CR-Vs on the road. With that said, however, the small crossover segment is growing quickly, and the competition out there is fierce with so many good options. We wanted to see how this much-hyped newcomer would measure up, not just over the course of a week's commute, but in a variety of situations over four seasons of driving.
Compared to others in its segment, the Mazda CX-5 comes with a slightly lower base price than top competitors. Mazda allowed us to configure our own CX-5 just the way we liked it, so we selected the mid-range Touring trim level. Sandwiched between the Sport and Grand Touring trims, we believe this is the sweet spot that most buyers will enjoy. For 2015 models, this trim level brings important features like keyless ignition/entry, rearview camera, power driver seat, leather steering wheel, upgraded sound system, a 5.8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity with text message reading, Pandora radio, and HD radio. Our model also tacked on an optional $1,485 Technology package with TomTom navigation, Smart city brake crash avoidance system, bi-xenon HID headlamps and more. Somehow, this package also requires opting for the Moonroof and Bose Package. Including a destination fee, the final price of our model came out to just over $28,000—not bad for an SUV with such a long list of features.
In the past few weeks, we've racked up 280 miles on our test car with average fuel economy hitting 26.4 mpg. Our initial impressions? We noticed this SUV handles bumps on the road with extreme confidence. Its precise steering control and powerful 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine provide for fun driving experience, whether on twisty mountain roads or on long highway drives. We do, however, notice a good amount of noise coming from the tires, and this noise permeates into the cabin more than we would like.
Every month, we'll continue to update you on our thoughts and experiences with the CX-5. Stay tuned!