2018 All-Stars Contender: Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

A fully capable, dynamically fun crossover

If you can’t tell a compact Mazda CX-5 crossover apart from a subcompact CX-3 or a three-row CX-9, you’re not alone. The CX-5 is a superb crossover and a bona fide All-Star candidate despite Mazda’s Russian-doll design strategy with its small, medium, and large variants.

“There’s something new about the Mazda CX-5? Oh, right! It got a refresh!” contributor Chris Nelson observed. “It feels exactly the same as it used to, which is totally fine—a pleasurable, middle-of-the-road crossover with plenty of space and style.”

The stylish CX-5 scored big points with the judges for its spunky performance, agile handling, and affordable price tag, starting at only $31,635. The dash is a touch somber, but it’s also impressive with logical controls and buttons in all the right places—we just wish the sunroof were more than an afterthought.

Especially with Sport mode engaged, we found Mazda’s middle-child crossover behaved exceedingly well, thanks in part to the capable AWD system—on twisty mountain roads it resembles a big hot hatch or a stealthy station wagon. “Mazda continues to impress with its dynamic packaging,” editor-in-chief Mike Floyd said. “This is one fine-driving crossover. I just wish it had a little more, you know, zoom. (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)”

The optional heated steering wheel and rear seats of the Premium package add $1,830 to the sticker but were an enormous plus up on Mount Charleston when temperatures hovered around freezing.

Did it warm our hearts as well as our buns? Find out on Saturday, March 10, when we announce the 2018 All-Stars at the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance—and right here on automobilemag.com.

2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Specifications

PRICE $31,635/$33,785 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 2.5L DOHC 16-valve I-4/187 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 185 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA MILEAGE 23/29 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 179.1 x 72.5 x 65.3 in
WHEELBASE 106.2 in
WEIGHT 3,699 lb
0-60 MPH 8.3 sec (est)
TOP SPEED 130 mph