2016 Mazda CX-5
  • Exterior
  • Interior
  • Technology
  • Performance
  • Value
4.2

Summary

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 is definitely not the loudest crossover in the room. I’m not sure that there’s any one ‘catch’ or ‘gimmick’ that’s gonna jump out at you as soon as you sit in the CX-5. No massaging seats. No turbos. No self parking. No over-chromed design cues to scream for attention. But – there are a lot of little engineering ‘wins’ wrapped up in the CX-5. Things that’ll make you keep loving it for a long time in real life applications, long after all the crossover sales-bait gimmicks have A) gone out of style, B) failed, or C) become obsolete.

mazda CX-5 review

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 is one crossover that stands out for being trim & lean… when a lot of the competitors tend to be uselessly bulky, over-designed, and over-chromed. If you’re in the market for a crossover, and you actually LIKE to drive, then the CX-5 is definitely worth consideration.

 

The CX-5 is noticeably agile for an SUV. I would say – it’s even agile by most ‘sport sedan’ standards – especially when flicked into Sport Mode. Mazda really did a good job with the chassis. You can zig-zag the wheel, carve through a turn, or dart around potholes – without feeling the typical sketchy, top-heavy, SUV body roll.

mazda CX-5 review rear side

The windshield is large, and the dash is placed fairly low – making for great visibility. It’s got a good turning radius, and minimal rear overhang. All of this combines to make one maneuverable, confidence inspiring, sporty crossover – that’s easy to drive. A crowded parking lot master. And sure, it’s not the largest crossover around, but the tradeoff is, you don’t feel tranquilized, weighted down, or blinded by its size.

mazda CX-5 review

For me, the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder (the larger of the two engines offered) is just ok. It’s nothing groundbreaking. No turbo. And at 184hp, it’s not gonna knock your socks off… but it’s not anemic either. The plus side to the 2.5 – is that you’re going to enjoy averaging 27 MPGs on regular gas. An in real life, that great gas mileage translated to you being eager & willing to drive it anywhere on short notice.

A day full of errands? Whatever.

A spontaneous beach trip? No problem.

Sure some of the competition out there offer similar MPG numbers. But note: cars like the VW Tiguan & Ford Escape use turbos to deliver good power AND good MPGs. That’s pretty cool, but it also comes with a cost – as those turbo motors require premium fuel (and ultimately more maintenance). And take it from a guy who has to buy premium… the upcharge on premium-vs-regular seems to be widening. It used to be a flat 30 cents more. But more recently, I’ve seen it move to 40-cents at the trusty pumps…. and up to 80-cents more at the shady pumps. So it’s something to consider – because having to use premium really does offset seemingly good MPG numbers.

mazda CX-5 review

The interior of the Mazda CX-5 carries over the crisp/light design theme, with 2-tone seat options front & rear, and soft-touch materials/textures throughout. The CX-5 does not have a typical ‘radio’ in the center of the dash. Rather, the stereo is integrated fully into the infotainment screen… and a volume knob is located on the center console & steering wheel. It took a couple days to get used to, but it soon became quite easy & intuitive.

mazda CX-5 review dash interior

Bottom line? The 2016 Mazda CX-5 is definitely not the loudest crossover in the room. I’m not sure that there’s any one ‘catch’ or ‘gimmick’ that’s gonna jump out at you as soon as you sit in the CX-5. No massaging seats. No turbos. No self parking. No over-chromed design cues to scream for attention. But – there are a lot of little engineering ‘wins’ wrapped up in the CX-5. Things that’ll make you keep loving it for a long time in real life applications, long after all the crossover sales-bait gimmicks have A) gone out of style, B) failed, or C) become obsolete.

mazda CX-5 review interior seats