Sharp handling, well-designed cabin, and good performance
Roseville, Calif.- The Mazda CX-5 has been a very reliable SUV since its inception in 2012.
It only took the compact SUV four years to reach the six-figure sales mark and it hasn’t dripped below that level ever since. Last year the sales total was 151,594. The numbers tell the story for the CX-5 that has risen to a rung just below the class heavyweights – Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.
Expect similar sales results from the 2023 Mazda CX-5. It comes with no significant changes this year, mirroring last year’s version that added standard all-wheel drive across all trim levels. Mazda also updated the front and rear styling,
The CX-5 remains one of the top small SUVs because of its sharp handling, well-designed cabin, and good performance from its turbocharged engine in making it a fun ride. The downside is lack of much second row space, and good, but not great fuel economy.
The Mazda SUV has an impressive turbo engine – a 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder that generates 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. We were totally impressed with the power-on-demand it delivered.
The turbo is the optional engine for the CX-5. It goes 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds, but the fuel economy (23-28 mpg) is underwhelming.
The standard CX-5 engine is not nearly as powerful as the turbo model. It’s a 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder that produces 187 horsepower and 186-pound feet of torque. Freeway passing capability and climbing steep hills can be an issue. It goes 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds, yet is more fuel efficient than the turbo engine, getting 25-31 mpg.
The smartly designed SUV receives high marks for its driving acumen because it handles like a well-behaved sedan. It features responsive steering, a smooth ride, and superb handling on challenging roads. It’s also quiet, with wind and tire noise only heard at highway speeds.
The safety package on all CX-5 models includes smart brake support, lane-keeping assist, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, radar cruise control with stop-and-go functions, advanced smart brake support with pedestrian detection, and rear cross-traffic alert.
AT A GLANCE – 2023 MAZDA CX-5
- Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 187 horsepower; turbocharged 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 227 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 25-31 mpg; 23-28 mpg
- Price estimate: $26,800 to $39,700
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance 3 years/36,000; corrosion 5 years/unlimited
The interior gets mostly good mark, thanks to its upscale design and using quality materials. The 10.25-inch display screen is easy to use. The cabin is suited well for the driver, who has all controls within an easy reach. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard features.
While the CX-5 is spacious up front, the three rear passengers will feel very cramped, especially if it’s three adults. The cargo area is adequate, offering 30.9 cubic feet of space that expands to 59.3 cubes with the second row down.
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 remains a smart buy because of its overall quality. It has earned the tag of being among the top small SUVs.