Our review score: 8.6 / 10
The 2015 Mazda CX-5 boasts superb performance, space, safety and efficiency. In other words, it has everything most small families need in a compact crossover SUV.
The new Mazda CX-5 isn’t all that different from the 2014 model, with the only true alteration being the fact that keyless entry and ignition are now standard on the GS and GT trims. What hasn’t changed, however, is the vehicle’s affordability along with its surprisingly sporty nature, solid fuel economy and unparalleled safety. The base model costs only $22,995, which means that it is one of the cheapest compact crossovers on the market. As far as we are concerned, it’s worth every penny, and this is why:
One glance at the Mazda CX-5 and you can tell that it has a sporty edge. The expressive design of this crossover echoes Mazda’s “Kodo: Soul in Motion” styling philosophy, which is the idea that a vehicle should look “in motion” even when it’s stationary.
To be specific, the CX-5 gets its sportiness from its elegant yet muscular curves, large wheel arches, a rising window and a slightly lower stance. All of this is further complemented by the vehicle’s rear roof spoiler, dual exhausts and swept-back headlights.
However, the CX-5’s sportiness comes through where it truly matters – under the hood. It offers a selection of two athletic four-cylinder engines, along with sharp steering and flat cornering. The 2.0-litre variant provides 155 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque. It’s connected to a six-speed automatic transmission, but you can also pair it with a six-speed manual gearbox if you go for the front-wheel-drive Sport model.
The 2.5-litre engine – available on the higher trim levels – gives you 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. It’s connected to a six-speed automatic transmission and either all-wheel or front-wheel drive.
Despite offering plenty of power, the CX-5 also manages to pull off excellent fuel economy ratings. The front-wheel-drive version with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder and six-speed automatic is rated at 8.9 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway. If you replace this powertrain with the 2.5-litre four-cylinder, you will get 9.6 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 9.6 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway. The ratings on the all-wheel-drive models are slightly less impressive, but not by much.
How does Mazda achieve these numbers? By employing “SkyActiv” technologies, which allow every component of the vehicle to be as lightweight and high-efficiency as possible.
The Mazda CX-5 is a standout when it comes to safety too. Though it lacks some of the features found on its rivals, such as certain airbags, it succeeds in terms of ratings.
The CX-5 has the usual array of electronic features like stability and traction control, antilock brakes and side blind spot alert system. It also serves up high-strength steel and excellent front visibility, though its rear visibility is a bit subpar due to small windows.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the CX-5 “Good” ratings for frontal offset, side impact, roof strength, rear crash protection and small-overlap frontal tests. Based on these scores, it also named the crossover a “Top Safety Pick+.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the CX-5 five stars overall, as well as five stars for side impact and side-pole tests. Basically, it scored perfectly across the board, so if you need a safe car for your kids, this is it!
Quick Comparison: 2015 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2015 Audi Q3
If you are not sure whether to get the higher-tier Mazda CX-5 or try out the luxurious Audi Q3, both of which are comparable in terms of pricing and accommodations, we would recommend the CX-5.
The reason for this has to do with pricing. The most expensive version of the CX-5 costs $33,495, while the comparable Q3 is worth $38,300. While the Mazda crossover will not offer you luxurious features like mirror memory, satellite radio, HID headlights or remote trunk release, its bigger cabin and cargo area will be far more useful to you – that much we can guarantee.
For a more detailed comparison, be sure to check out this page.
In short, all we can really add here is that the Mazda CX-5 is one of the most desirable compact crossovers for a reason. If you need an affordable, athletic, efficient and safe vehicle for your kids and yourself, then you can start your search with this one.