2018 CX-5 New Car Test Drive
The Mazda CX-5 is a midsize crossover that delivers crisp driving response with practical cargo and people hauling capability. Rivals include the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and Subaru Forester.
The CX-5 was redesigned for 2017, with a retuned engine, stiffer chassis with wider track, more stylish exterior, better-looking and much quieter cabin, and many detail improvements. So for 2018 there are no changes, except for the addition of some equipment, for a very small increase in price.
Standard is a 2.5-liter gas engine that makes 187 horsepower, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The powertrain of the CX-5 is crisp, and the steering precise, thanks to the rigidity of the chassis, as well as its standard brake-based torque vectoring system that shifts torque to outside wheels in corners. The CX-5's excellent handling makes it more fun to drive than the other compact crossovers. Ford and Subaru off more powerful turbocharged engines.
The CX-5 is small for a compact crossover, with a wheelbase of 106.3 inches and overall length of 179.1. As a result, it has less room inside than the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue. But that same trait makes it easier to park and enhances its responsive handling.
Fuel mileage is 24 miles per gallon city, 31 highway, and 27 combined with front-wheel drive, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The 2016 CX-5 earned Top Safety Pick+ of the insurance industry's IIHS, so the 2018 model should equal that, with the stiffer chassis including stiffer roof pillars.
The 2017 Mazda CX-5 comes in Sport ($24,150); Touring ($26,215); and Grand Touring ($29,645). All-wheel drive is optional ($1300); front-wheel drive is standard.
CX-5 Sport comes with LED headlamps, 7.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, rearview camera; cloth upholstery, and two USB chargers that can charge bigger things.
CX-5 Touring adds leatherette upholstery, acoustic front windows, power driver's seat, heated front seats, better six-speaker sound system, rear USB ports, and blind-spot monitors. An optional package ($780) adds automatic headlamps, navigation, power liftgate, and Bose 10-speaker sound. Another package includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning ($625).
Grand Touring models add leather and 19-inch wheels to the above. Options beyond that include heated rear seats and a new head-up display.