2022 Mazda CX-5

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2022 Mazda CX-5 Review: The Enthusiast Crossover

Competing in America's most competitive non-truck vehicle segment is no easy feat. Just ask the Mazda CX-5, a compact crossover that deserves to be one of the USA's bestsellers, and yet in 2020, could only sell 146,420 units while its chief rival, the Toyota RAV4, managed to sell over 430,000. But sales volumes don't determine a great car, and the CX-5 deserves to wear the tag of greatness. While it may lack the rear-seat and trunk space of more practical rivals like the Honda CR-V, it's arguably the most luxurious non-premium crossover around. More than that, it's a crossover built for those who still enjoy driving, with a keen chassis, great steering, and the ability to instill joy in the driver on even the shortest commutes. Aiding this are two 2.5-liter engines, one with a turbocharger equipped to develop 256 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel. Pair this with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive and it's a recipe for success. Climb inside the luxurious leather-clad cabin and enjoy a feast for the senses, from luxurious materials to a stylish design and class-leading infotainment. In the world of compact crossovers, few do it better than the CX-5.

Read in this review:

8.8
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2022 Mazda CX-5 Changes: What’s the Difference vs the 2021 Mazda CX-5?

This year, the CX-5's styling has been subtly revised with smoother front surfacing, a new bumper with a more pronounced lower air intake, and restyled headlights, tail lights, and alloy wheels. There is also a new grille with a threedimensional mesh. The Signature trim's body cladding is now in body color. Mazda has dropped all 2WD derivatives, leaving the CX-5 as an all-AWD range. Other mechanical refinements include a slight power hike for the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, which now produces 256 hp (up from 250) on premium fuel, as well as an automatic transmission retuned for better responsiveness and refinement. The suspension system has been further fettled to improve handling and reduce vibration. The trims have been renamed and the previous Grand Touring Reserve trim, for example, is just the Turbo; this trim also now gets black accents on the exterior and red accents inside. There have been minor changes to the interior too, most notably the more supportive, redesigned seats.

Pros and Cons

  • Stunning exterior design
  • Class-leading infotainment
  • The driver's compact crossover
  • Strong turbocharged engine
  • Loaded with standard features
  • Excellent safety rating
  • Smaller trunk than the competition
  • Lethargic standard engine
  • Rivals can tow more
  • Can get pricey for luxurious trims

Best Deals on 2022 Mazda CX-5

2022 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
$26,250
2.5 S Select
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$28,250
2.5 S Preferred
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$29,950
2.5 S Carbon Edition
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$31,070
2.5 S Premium
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$32,660
See All 2022 Mazda CX-5 Trims and Specs

2022 CX-5 Exterior

2022 Mazda CX-5 Frontal Aspect Mazda
2022 Mazda CX-5 View Out Back Mazda
2022 Mazda CX-5 Side Angle Driving Mazda
See All 2022 Mazda CX-5 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 180.1 in
  • Wheelbase 106.2 in
  • Height 65.3 in
  • Max Width 72.6 in
  • Front Width 62.8 in
  • Rear Width 62.8 in
  • Curb Weight 3,717.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Jet Black Mica
  • Eternal Blue Mica
  • Snowflake White Pearl Mica
  • Soul Red Crystal Metallic
  • Deep Crystal Blue Mica
  • Sonic Silver Metallic
  • Machine Gray Metallic
  • Polymetal Gray

2022 CX-5 Performance

2022 Mazda CX-5 Front View Driving Mazda
2022 Mazda CX-5 Side Angle Driving 1 Mazda
2022 Mazda CX-5 Gear Shifter Mazda

Engine and Transmission

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

Handling and Driving Impressions

There are more comfortable compact crossovers than the Mazda CX-5. However, while some rivals give you a spongy ride with an abundance of body roll around the corners, they'll never remind you why you loved driving to start with. The Mazda CX-5 is a crossover that will.

Independent suspension at all four corners is tuned to not roll as much as competitors might. This gives the CX-5 an excellent sense of connection with the driver, which is just as well since the steering is somewhat lacking in this department. The suspension isn't overly stiff, though, not to the point of shaking out your fillings, but it relies on quality damper tuning to filter out road imperfections without removing you from the driving experience - this year's subtle improvements have improved ride quality somewhat without sacrificing handling.

As alluded to, the steering isn't very communicative, but it responds quickly to inputs in a manner that sees the CX-5 change direction quickly, behaving more like a compact hatchback than a high-riding crossover. It'll still handle dirt though, and when the dirt ends and twisting roads beckon, you won't feel like you traded in your gearhead membership card the day you decided to start a family.

But if there's one area we weren't convinced of the CX-5's ability, it was in the way its brakes felt, particularly on the base model. Here, 11.7-inch vented discs sound ample, but there were a few times we didn't feel confident in the stopping power. The turbocharged configurations get larger 12.6-inch discs which do a far better job and instill a greater sense of confidence in the driver.

2022 CX-5 Interior

2022 Mazda CX-5 Central Control Panel Mazda
2022 Mazda CX-5 Interior Mazda
2022 Mazda CX-5 Infotainment System Mazda
See All 2022 Mazda CX-5 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

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

2022 CX-5 Trunk and Cargo Space

2022 Mazda CX-5 Cup Holder Mazda
2022 Mazda CX-5 Interior Overview Mazda
2022 Mazda CX-5 Trunk Space Mazda

2022 CX-5 Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • 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: Is the new Mazda CX-5 A Good SUV?

Many see compact crossovers as the proverbial river Styx, signifying the death of your passion for driving as you cross over from singledom to a family lifestyle. The CX-5 is a different breed of crossover, one that still lets you cling to your love of driving despite the inherent ability to ferry your family around. But not only is it involving to drive; it's also luxurious, spacious, and jam-packed with features, from the largest standard infotainment screen around to the plethora of standard safety features.

In its most potent form, the turbocharged engine and upgraded brakes make the CX-5 a standout in this segment, and the uppermost trims are borderline premium in their use of high-end materials. A Honda CR-V might be more practical, and a Toyota RAV4 more capable off-road or when needing to tow, but the CX-5 is a phenomenal blend that caters to the enthusiast, to the discerning buyer who craves something more than mere numbers on paper.

2022 Mazda CX-5 Comparisons

Honda CR-V CarBuzz
Toyota RAV4
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Mazda CX-5187 hp24/30 mpg$26,700
Honda CR-V 190 hp28/34 mpg$31,110
Toyota RAV4 203 hp27/35 mpg$27,975

2022 Mazda CX-5 vs Honda CR-V

It might be a Toyota that dominates the sales charts, but if you want a compact crossover that caters to the joy of driving, the Honda CR-V is the closest thing you'll get to the CX-5. It's not as pure a machine, though, and the softer suspension and abundance of cargo space - 8.3 cubic feet more than the CX-5 - make it more comfortable daily and more practical, too. But from a performance perspective, it falls short. A 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder is more fuel efficient, but with only 190 hp on tap, it can't match the available 250 hp from the Mazda. However, Honda has an available 212-hp hybrid variant too, for which the CX-5 doesn't have a true rival. While the Honda has solid build quality and feels pretty high quality overall, the CX-5 completely outguns it, feeling more premium at every step of the way, particularly in its uppermost echelons. But even at a base level, the CX-5 packs in the value, with a larger infotainment suite and tons of safety. The CR-V is just as safe, and as we said, is more practical. On paper, the Honda makes the most sense for a family vehicle, but do you really want to settle for "makes sense", when you can have something that fulfills all your needs and brings a smile to your face in the process? In a heart vs head choice, we'd have the Mazda.

See Honda CR-V Review

2022 Mazda CX-5 vs Toyota RAV4

If you believe that sales reports determine how good a car is, you'll likely be of the opinion that the Toyota RAV4 is three times as good as the Mazda CX-5. You'd be stone-cold wrong. The RAV4 is the choice of the masses - reliable, spacious, comfy, safe, and even somewhat capable off-road. It'll even tow 1,500 pounds more than the CX-5. It is, for all intents and purposes, a great family crossover. But the Mazda is as good on many a front. It might not have the same cargo capacity, but interior space is just as generous and it's vastly more luxurious. The Toyota feels a little staid and outdated, although there can be no doubting it'll likely last a century without wearing. However, the infotainment feels outdated by comparison, and Mazda will give you way more feature in upper trims, making the CX-5 feel like a luxury SUV while the RAV4 is very much a utilitarian machine. The Toyota has less power than the available Turbo engine from Mazda but does have available hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants that compensate for this, being more economical, and in the case of the plug-in, more potent, too. But the kicker here is that a base RAV4 isn't as generously equipped as a base CX-5 and lacks AWD, yet the Mazda's starting MSRP of $25,900 undercuts the Toyota's $26,525 base price.

Ultimately, you need to decide whether you want practicality or luxury. If you plan on going off-road or towing regularly, the Toyota might be a better fit, but if you spend all your time on the streets, the CX-5 will bring you more joy.

See Toyota RAV4 Review

2022 Mazda CX-5 Popular Comparisons

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