2023 Mazda CX-5

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2023 Mazda CX-5 Review: A Crossover With Soul

by Michael Butler

To say that there are many choices in the compact crossover segment would be an understatement, so standing out in this class is some feat. That's exactly what the Mazda CX-5 manages to accomplish, though. It may not be the top seller in this class (that honor belongs to the Toyota RAV4), but the Mazda distances itself from the rest with superb driving dynamics and a premium polish lacking in many of its competitors. From its accurate steering to its tight body control, the CX-5 will make you forget you're in a family-friendly SUV on the right stretch of road, especially when equipped with the optional turbocharged engine that produces 256 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque with 93 octane fuel. But perhaps because of this focus on the driving experience, the CX-5 falls short in areas where crossovers are expected to excel such as rear-seat legroom and cargo space. As it has been around for a while, the CX-5 is also not as fresh as some more modern rivals. However, if your family is small and you don't need acres of space, the Mazda is one of the best.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 9 /10
  • Performance 9 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 10 /10
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2023 Mazda CX-5 Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 CX-5?

Our review of the Mazda CX-5 won't change much as, other than the addition of a new premium paint color known as Rhodium White, the compact crossover is virtually unchanged for 2023.

Pros and Cons

  • Stylish inside and out
  • High-quality, stylish interior
  • Impressive turbo engine
  • Standard AWD
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Athletic handling
  • Smaller trunk than the competition
  • Sluggish base engine
  • Luxury trims get pricey
  • Limited rear legroom

What's the Price of the 2023 Mazda CX-5?

The price of the Mazda CX-5 is another bragging point for the Japanese automaker, as few, if any, can match the levels of comfort and luxury at this price point. The base price of the S starts at $26,700 while the S Select increases this to $28,500. The S Preferred costs $29,590 and the S Carbon Edition carries an MSRP of $30,500, while the S Premium bumps up the sticker to $32,400. The S Premium Plus is the most luxurious model with the standard engine and costs $35,500. The similarly equipped Turbo gets the 256-hp engine and retails for $36,850 while the range-topping Turbo Signature asks $39,650. Costs as mentioned above are exclusive of a $1,275 destination charge.

Best Deals on 2023 Mazda CX-5

2023 Mazda CX-5 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5 S
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
2.5 S Select
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
2.5 S Preferred
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
2.5 S Carbon Edition
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
2.5 S Premium
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Mazda CX-5 Trims and Specs

2023 Mazda CX-5 Handling And Driving Impressions

Your average compact crossover SUV will lean towards comfort more so than athletic ability, which is fine if all you're after is a relaxing drive in the city and on the open road, but if there's even a single strand of DNA in your body that likes to drive, the new Mazda CX-5 crossover will appeal to you. This SUV is more than just a simple commuter; it actually excites, and when fitted with the 256-hp turbo engine, it truly comes alive and can be called a driver's car. The fully independent suspension system shows less lean in the corners than most of the Mazda CX-5's competitors and, while stiff, doesn't completely ruin the ride quality; in fact, it is rather good, even at lower speeds over bumpy terrain. Steering is light and responsive, making frequent lane changes feel fun when you're in more of a hurry. The brakes on the base model lack the bite we need to feel confident, but that issue is resolved in the turbocharged models that receive larger 12.6-inch front ventilated brakes. As for the standard 186-hp engine, it is fine at low speeds but lacks power when more is asked of it.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Mazda CX-5 A Good SUV?

Just because you have a growing family and need to start looking at buying a crossover SUV doesn't mean you have to entirely abandon the idea that you can have fun in a car. The 2023 Mazda CX-5 proves that compact crossover SUVs, which tend to be a bit bland in the driving department, can still put a smile on your face and then some. The CX-5 is a handsomely styled car inside and out and features Mazda's now famous flair for interior comfort and style, an impressive turbocharged engine option, and standard AWD in the USA. The standard feature list is great, and the safety tech too. Sure, it doesn't offer as much space as cars such as the Honda CR-V, but it makes up for it with near premium-level quality, an entertaining chassis, and great overall balance.

What 2023 Mazda CX-5 Model Should I Buy?

With so many models to choose from, it's difficult to pick, especially when all of them come well-laden with safety and comfort features. The top-spec Turbo Signature is the pick of the litter if you're after a true luxury SUV, but we understand that not everyone's budget permits going all out. For those on a tighter budget, the Turbo is a sublime middle ground that gets you the turbocharged engine and bigger brakes, but also a Bose sound system, and luxuries like leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power moonroof, and USB ports for the whole family. At nearly $37,000, it's expensive though and it would have been nice to have access to the 256-hp engine at a lower price point. If you don't mind the standard engine, the S Premium Plus trim now offers you everything the Turbo does, but with the standard engine - and a saving of only $1,350. We would go for the Turbo if the budget permits.

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