No two crossovers are created equal. The Mazda CX-5 has made a name for itself by becoming a sporty and lightweight family car with great mileage. Mazda has kept its ethos of building affordable cars. For those spirited drivers who aren't quite ready to throw in the towel yet. The newly styled CX-5 comes with a retooled suspension, attractive standard safety features, and some cool options that will help keep those suburban doldrums at bay.
What's so great about the diesel option?
The thing about diesel engines is that they offer incredible fuel economy and power to match so that if you like the feeling of a powerful car but don't want to spend half of your life at a gas pump, you'll love a diesel powered car. The CX-5 has a urea-injection turbocharged 4-cylinder 2.2-liter diesel that mates exclusively to the company's six-speed automatic engine and it puts out a fun and action-packed drive. The Skyactiv-D, as it's known, pumps out 150 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, which keeps it low riding and centered on the road but with a nice bit of pop, and it drives so smoothly that you'll often have to look at the gas tank to be sure it's diesel. Highway test drives on the German Autobahn clocked consumption at 7.7 liters/100 km, and on normal human highways that number went down to 5.4 liters/100 km. Those are fine numbers for a hatchback or subcompact- for a crossover they're downright unmatched.
How does it stack up to the competition?
The thing about diesel engines in the US is that since the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal, car buyers and sellers aren't too keen to stock their showrooms or garages with direct injections. As such, there aren't any other diesel crossovers on the market to even compete with the CX-5, which puts it head and shoulders above the competition. But it's not all good news for gearheads just yet. The massive recall and computer scheming that followed in the wake of the Volkswagen kerfuffle not only put buyers off of the hassle, but it also made US emissions tests a lot more stringent. The result is that the CX-5 has had to make a lot of adjustments to the engine and there's still no word on when the diesel CX-5 will be available for widescale distribution stateside, so for the moment it's not yet blowing away the competition. However, even with its current options of a 2.0 liter or 2.5 liters four-cylinder gas engine, the CX-5 still outperforms the rival Kia Soul or Nissan Juke, even though it's lighter in weight and a bit less powerful.
What kinds of features are on offer?
The Cx-5 comes in three trims with a slew of nifty features that help this little guy punch above its weight in the affordable crossover segment. The Sport trim comes with 16-in alloy wheels, a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen display that connects to the Mazda Connect infotainment system, a tilt-telescopic steering system and keyless entry. The Touring trim steps it up to 18-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors and rain sensing wipers, auto on/off headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and automatic climate control. Take it up to Grand Touring, and you'll get a power moonroof, LED lights with fog lights and auto-regulating capacity, voice-activated navigation, and a seven-speaker Bose surround sound system. There's enough comfort in here to feel like you've made it, and the value for money is nothing to sneeze at.
How much cabin space are we talking?
Something's got to give, right? In the case of the CX-5, it falls short on the cabin space as well as the cargo hold, particularly against the rival Honda CR-V, Kia Soul, and Nissan Juke. The front seats are both spacious and snug, and both driver and passenger have the feeling of being cradled during the drive with very good visibility. However, when you get into the backseat, (or rather, squeeze into the backseat) you notice the difference between the models. The CX-5 doesn't have much space in the back to accommodate two larger sized adults comfortably, and the trunk or cargo space probably won't get your mountain bike in to take with you for the weekend. However, if your kids are your most frequent backseat passengers and you're more of a rollerblader anyway, you'll hardly notice the tight quarters in the backseat. Besides, you'll be too busy listening to that diesel engine roar.
Are safety features optional or standard?
Mazda made a company-wide decision that as of 2018, all of its models (excluding the Miata MX-5) would come standard with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Other standard features include hill-start assist, front, front side and curtain airbags, Smart City Brake Support, and electronic traction with stability control. There's also a Lane Departure Warning with Keep Assist, all of which come standard on the CX-5. Crash tests in 2017 awarded the model a Top Safety Pick, and with the added features that Mazda has made available to all models, this year should see a repeat performance.