2021 Mazda CX-5

Compare insurance prices:
Save an average of $440
Free Quote

2021 Mazda CX-5 Review: Fun to Live With

by Aiden Eksteen

At first glance, you'd probably think that the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is a pretty conformist family runabout, but once you get behind the steering wheel and hoon around a bit, you'll quickly realize that this is no ordinary crossover. The CX-5 is a surprisingly fun and poised compact cruiser that Mazda designed with enthusiasts in mind. Along with its entertaining and engaging performance, the CX-5 crossover is also very comfortable and fairly fuel-efficient. It's also one of the most luxurious crossovers in the class and price bracket, and has been rated with exceptional safety scores and reliability expectations by US standards. Powering the compact crossover is either a 187-horsepower four-pot or a 250-hp turbo 4-cylinder motor, both of which provide plenty of oomph for pleasant and efficient city driving and suburban meandering. The price of the 2021 Mazda CX-5 crossover starts at $25,370, which places it up against the Toyota RAV4, which is a better off-roader, the Honda CR-V, which is a little more practical, and the value-rich Hyundai Tucson. As a fun and pragmatic crossover, however, the second-gen Mazda CX-5 remains hard to beat.

Read in this review:

What is BuzzScore?

2021 Mazda CX-5 Changes: ๐Ÿš™Whatโ€™s the difference vs 2020 CX-5?

The 2021Mazda CX-5 crossover hasn't changed immensely since the previous model year, but there have been some notable enhancements for 2021 that improve the already winning recipe. Among the changes is a newly-standard 10.25-inch touchscreen with Mazda's latest infotainment software. A new package for the Touring trim, called the Touring Preferred SV, includes leather seats, a Bose 10-speaker sound system, a power liftgate, power moonroof, power-adjustable front seats, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

There is also an all-new pair of trims -the Carbon Edition and Carbon Edition Turbo. Based on the Touring Preferred SV Package, they wear Polymetal Gray paint, gloss black exterior detailing, unique black 19-inch alloy wheels, and get red leather seats and black honeycomb interior trim. The top-tier Signature trim adds a few driver-assist features that include driver-attention alert and a 360-degree camera.

Pros and Cons

  • Stylish and contemporary exterior design
  • Vivacious and smooth turbo-four engine
  • Really fun and engaging driver's car
  • Loads of comforts and conveniences
  • Exceptional official safety rating
  • Standard engine is quite lethargic
  • Competitors can tow a lot more
  • Not the largest trunk
  • Higher-spec trims get a lot pricier

Best Deals on 2021 Mazda CX-5

2021 Mazda CX-5 Trims and Prices

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
Carbon Edition
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
Grand Touring
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
Carbon Edition Turbo
2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive

CX-5 Exterior

2021 Mazda CX-5 Front Angle View Mazda
2021 Mazda CX-5 Rear Angle View Mazda
2021 Mazda CX-5 Top View Mazda
See All 2021 Mazda CX-5 Exterior Photos


  • Length 179.1 in
  • Wheelbase 106.2 in
  • Height 65.4 in
  • Max Width 72.5 in
  • Front Width 62.8 in
  • Rear Width 62.8 in
  • Curb Weight 3,552.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Jet Black Mica
  • Snowflake White Pearl Mica
  • Eternal Blue Mica
  • Soul Red Crystal Metallic
  • Sonic Silver Metallic
  • Machine Gray Metallic
  • Deep Crystal Blue Mica
  • Polymetal Gray
  • Sonic Silver Metallic, Build Out: 09/21/2020

CX-5 Performance

2021 Mazda CX-5 Front Angle View 1 Mazda
2021 Mazda CX-5 Rear Perspective Driving Mazda
2021 Mazda CX-5 Engine Mazda

Engine and Transmission

The 2021 CX-5 can be had with one of two engines, both of which are 2..5-liter inline-4 gas units. While one engine is naturally aspirated, the other is turbocharged. The nat-asp motor is the entry-spec option and has been tuned to churn out 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged unit is offered with the top-spec models including the Carbon Edition, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature. it thrums with a spicier 250 hp (227 hp with 87 octane) and 320 lb-ft. Both engines come paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, which directs outputs to a rear- or all-wheel drivetrain. No matter the configuration you choose, the CX-5 crossover's max towing capacity remains fixed at 2,000 pounds.

  • Engines
    2.5L Inline-4 Gas, 2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

CX-5 Gas Mileage

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.8 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 25/31 mpg
* 2021 Mazda CX-5 Sport Automatic FWD

CX-5 Interior

2021 Mazda CX-5 Interior Mazda
2021 Mazda CX-5 Central Control Panel Mazda
2021 Mazda CX-5 Dashboard Mazda
See All 2021 Mazda CX-5 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 41.0 in
  • Front Head Room 39.7 in
  • Rear Leg Room 39.6 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.0 in

CX-5 Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Mazda CX-5 Trunk Space Mazda
2021 Mazda CX-5 Armrest Storage Mazda
2021 Mazda CX-5 Armrest Mazda

CX-5 Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: ๐ŸIs the 2021 Mazda CX-5 a good SUV?

Mazda eagerly caters to driving enthusiasts with nearly all of its cars, the Mazda CX-5 crossover being one of them. It's the ideal vehicle for someone with a passion for driving but who has transitioned into a stage in their life where a two-door sports coupe, feisty hot-hatch, or novelty muscle car just won't cut it as a daily anymore. Not only is the CX-5 fun to drive, but it's also spacious, comfortable, and extensively outfitted with awesome features. Its inclusive array of advanced driver assists and safety systems is augmented by a superb crashworthiness rating earned from the NHTSA's review of the 2021 Mazda CX-5 model, as well as a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS. Needless to say, it's a brilliant family runabout.

The Toyota RAV4 is a superior off-roader and can tow a bit more than the CX-5 and the Honda CR-V does have a bit more room in the trunk for cargo, making it the more practical SUV. But the CX-5 is a refined and balanced 5-door cruiser that caters to those who seek joy in their day-to-day driving, along with the comfort and livability a family car or daily requires.

๐Ÿš—What Mazda CX-5 Model Should I Buy?

You'd do well settling for any of the Mazda CX-5 models, though we're really drawn to the new Carbon Edition. This model bears a more novel style than the rest of the line and comes with a fair number of comforts and conveniences. It's offered only with the Polymetal gray exterior paint scheme but rides atop stylish 19-inch black alloy wheels. On the inside, the red-stitched leather steering wheel and gear shifter, red leather seats, and black honeycomb trim really add a quirky flair that sets it apart. In terms of features, the Carbon Edition benefits from the addition of a premium 10-speaker Bose audio system that really enhances the cabin experience, along with power-adjustable front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power moonroof, and a power tailgate that all improve comfort and convenience.

Mazda CX-5 Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Mazda CX-5:

See All 51 Comparisons
To Top