Jan 18, 2016
Reviewed By Tony Piff
Price as Tested $33,855: Skyactiv 2.5-L 184-hp I4, Skyactiv-Drive 6-sp Sport Mode automatic transmission, GT I-Activsense Package, Grand Touring Tech Package

Smart, sporty, understated styling makes it look smaller than it is, which I like. Interior is spacious with great visibility and abundant cargo room in back. Cabin styling touches are upscale but not gaudy. Sporty-ish driving dynamics are engaging without being punishing. The lively 2.5-L I4 with 6-speed automatic is great for zipping around town and decisive freeway driving. Impressive standard features: rain-sensing wipers, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, seat-heaters, hands-free Bluetooth phone/audio, moon roof, AWD, dual USB jacks. $1,500 is money well spent for the GT I-Activsense package, which includes Mazda Radar Cruise Control, lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring. The deep lip in front of the touch screen is the perfect shelf for your smart phone. I like the stereo controls on the lower console.  24/30 mpg is decent for a vehicle of this size with such a sporty demeanor. Fair price point.


Other, big-block-minded staffers called it “gutless.” I mistook the perforated leather seats for vinyl. Sport Mode with sky-high shift points is almost too sporty. I was not impressed with the AWD in snow.


I like tiny cars with tiny engines and manual transmissions, and I expected the medium-sized CX-5 to feel sluggish. I was completely wrong. For a sensible around-town family hauler, the car still manages to deliver satisfying driving dynamics and a connected road feel. The size makes sense for a family of four carrying lots of gear. Add in all the nice finishes and features, and I’d expect a price tag nearer $40k. Great car, great value. My favorite ride of the last twelve months.

Fun to Drive
4.5 rating
Fun to Look at
4.0 rating
Overall Experience
5.0 rating
Horsepower 184
Torque 185
EPA Mileage 24/30

For more about this car, please visit the manufacturer's website.