New for 2015After the much-needed power upgrade Mazda gave the CX-5 for 2014 in the form of the available 2.4-liter I-4 engine, the compact crossover remains largely unchanged for the 2015 model year. The CX-5 will be refreshed for the 2016 model year.
Vehicle OverviewThe Mazda CX-5 is a compact crossover that seats five passengers in two rows and offers a fun driving experience in addition to excellent fuel efficiency. The CX-5 sits below the CX-9 in the automaker’s two-vehicle SUV lineup.
SummaryThe 2015 Mazda CX-5 is powered by a pair of I-4 engines, offers a pair of six-speed transmissions, and is available with front- or all-wheel drive. The base FWD Sport model is the only combination to have the option of a manual transmission. The Sport models are powered by a 2.0-liter I-4 that makes 155 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque; the EPA rates it to achieve 26/35 mpg (city/highway) with the manual transmission and 26/32 mpg with the automatic. The more powerful 2.4-liter I-4 makes 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque, and can also be equipped with AWD. The EPA rates the bigger four at 25/32 mpg with FWD and 24/30 mpg with AWD. Notable features include adaptive front lighting (with HID headlights), rain sensing windshield wipers, power glass moonroof, dual zone climate control, keyless entry, heated front leather seats, Bose premium audio system, blind spot monitoring, Bluetooth with streaming audio, and Smart City Brake Support (which will automatically apply brakes between 2 mph and 18 mph to prevent a collision).
The 2015 Mazda CX-5 received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (the highest possible rating is five stars) and is considered a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS.
What We ThinkEver since the introduction of the Mazda CX-5 (back in 2012) we’ve enjoyed driving the small crossover from Mazda, with our only serious reservations due to the output of the 2.0-liter I-4. Last year that was remedied with the introduction of the 2.4-liter I-4, an engine that gives the CX-5 the extra spunk it needed to really move. Not to say the crossover could be called quick, but the 2.4 really is the engine it should have had all along, as it seems perfectly matched in balance to the platform.
In a comparison review involving seven of the best-selling compact crossovers on the market, the CX-5 was our pick, beating out models such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Jeep Cherokee, Chevrolet Equinox, and the Nissan Rogue. We said the Mazda had “the best to drive by a considerable margin,” while noting “great body control, excellent brake pedal response, superb steering feel and accuracy — at least in this crowd.” We commented that the steering and handling were “in a different league,” and the Mazda distinguished itself as the driver’s choice. We criticized the overly vocal engine and pronounced road noise, in addition to the plain interior. The controls were straightforward, the outward visibility was excellent, and the middle-of-the-pack cargo capacity was more than enough. We summed it up by saying, “the CX-5 is a straightforward, honest package that has a few flaws and is mid-pack in most dimensions but is definitely the most engaging from a ride-and-handling standpoint.”
- Handling is good, and not just good for a crossover
- Fuel efficiency
- 2.4-liter I-4
You Won’t Like
- Going up a hill with the base 2.0-liter I-4
- Can’t get a manual transmission with the 2.4-liter
- Plain interior
- Honda CR-V
- Toyota RAV4
- Ford Escape
- Chevrolet Equinox
- Jeep Cherokee
- Subaru Forester
- Nissan Rogue