By: Eric Stafford
Distinctive styling and engaging driving dynamics separate the CX-5 from the competition. The marvelous Mazda appears more expensive than it is—which adds to the charm. A fuel-efficient four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. The pièce de résistance is a phenomenal chassis that combines precise steering with refined road manners. Its rich-looking interior is also a class above, and abundant advanced driver assists are available. We feel it is the best-looking and best-driving compact crossover, and that makes it a winner in our book.
What’s New for 2018?
For 2018, Mazda updated the CX-5’s standard four-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation. The technology shuts down two cylinders during cruising to improve fuel efficiency. Every CX-5 now has a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert become standard, too. The base model adds a host of active safety options, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. The Touring trim receives 19-inch wheels and the full suite of driver assists. The top-tier Grand Touring adds memory settings for the driver’s seat and six power adjustments for the passenger. The Grand Select model is discontinued.
What Was New for 2017?
Although the CX-5 appeared to be all new for 2017, it was actually a heavily revised version of the previous-generation model. Aside from the gorgeous new sheet metal and sharply redesigned interior, it rides on a similar platform and uses the familiar Mazda 2.5-liter inline-four. It’s slightly longer and wider and has a lower center of gravity for better handling and further driving fun—but its lower roofline and other interior revisions have reduced cargo volume. Mazda aimed to offset this loss with a rear seat that reclined, was cooled by rear climate-control vents, and was warmed by optional seat heaters. A 4.6-inch color display in the gauge cluster and an available head-up display were new, too.