2015 Mazda CX-5

Starting MSRP: $21,545

Estimated MPG: 26 city / 35 hwy

2015 Mazda CX-5 Review

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 is a compact, front-wheel drive crossover utility vehicle with available all-wheel drive. Offered in three trim levels, the stylish 2015 CX-5 is powered by a peppy but fuel efficient four-cylinder engine that’s paired with a six-speed transmission.

By Matt Keegan
Last Updated 05/03/2016

Small SUVs are sold by nearly every manufacturer. Mazda’s entry, the CX-5, was updated for 2014, bringing to the segment a rare combination of style, performance and fuel efficiency. Front wheel-drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available.

Exterior

Exterior
10

Mazda’s current styling convention is called KODO or soul of motion, which turns an ordinary design into something extraordinary. It represents Mazda’s attempt to deliver style especially to the types of models that typically lack flair and visual interest, such as utility vehicles.

The KODO design language brings in highly defined body lines, a strong stance and an energetic presence. In the 2015 CX-5 you have a look that just doesn’t sit there, but one that invites you to get moving.

Every CX-5 comes equipped with halogen headlamps, alloy wheels and color-keyed side mirrors. Beyond the standard model you also get halogen fog lamps, larger wheels, rear privacy glass, heated side mirrors and a power moonroof.

Interior

Interior
9

Mazda takes its KODO design language and applies it to the interior as well. No drab layout here. The tested Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring edition featured a two-tone color arrangement dividing the top and bottom of the door panels, along the dashboard and at the base of the center storage area. Standard cloth seating is upgraded to premium cloth in the Touring edition and wrapped in leather with the top-of-the-line Grand Touring model.

The front seats are supportive and offer very good head, shoulder, thigh and legroom. The driver’s seat is bolstered and offers six-way power support with the Touring edition and eight-way power support with the Grand Touring model. Both power seats provide lumbar support.

The instrument panel is marked by three oval displays. Analog tachometer and speedometer readouts are on the left and center respectively. To the right is a digital driver’s information center featuring the usual driver, audio and navigation information. Auxiliary driver and cruise control switches are found on the steering wheel, which is covered in leather.

At the top of the center console is a display screen that’s flanked by buttons and switches controlling audio and navigation. Beneath that are air conditioning controls. In the Grand Touring edition you get dual-zone automatic climate control with the attendant control knobs. Switches controlling the heated seats are beneath that with a storage compartment large enough to hold a smartphone at the base of the console.

Between the front seats is the transmission shifter, which can be operated in automatic or manual mode. Two cup holders and a center arm rest with a storage compartment separate the front seats. To the rear, Mazda offers a 60/40 split-folding bench seat in the base model, while all other models have a 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat. The rear seats are comfortable and offer very good seating for three or two when you fold down the middle arm rest to gain access to a pair of cup holders.

Every 2015 Mazda CX-5 comes with an audio system, a tilt and telescopic steering column, power accessories and keyless entry. Trim level upgrades bring in blind spot monitoring, premium audio systems, Bluetooth connectivity, HD radio, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated front seats, automatic headlamps and heated side mirrors.

Performance

Performance
10

The base 2015 Mazda CX-5 comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 155 horsepower. Higher trims feature a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower.

The larger engine delivers generous amounts of power while still providing excellent fuel economy. The base front-wheel drive model comes paired with a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard elsewhere.

Fuel economy is excellent, coming in as high as 26/35 mpg city/highway for the Sport edition equipped with the manual transmission. Its lowest numbers are still quite good: 24/30 mpg for all-wheel drive versions with the larger engine. All CX-5 models take regular grade gasoline.

On the road the 2015 CX-5 never lacks for power. It moves from a full stop and up to highway speeds without straining. Handling is quite good with power-assisted electric steering tuned nicely with this vehicle. The ride is comfortable, braking is excellent and for improved driver feedback you can shift the CX-5 into sport mode. When it comes to small SUVs, it doesn’t get any better than the Mazda CX-5.

Technology

Technology
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The Mazda CX-5’s infotainment system features a 5.8-inch color screen. The navigation system is included with a $1,425 technology package upgrade that brings in automatic, adaptive headlamps.

Mazda makes use of TomTom technology — one of the earliest car-based GPS systems — to power its navigation. It represents the latest system, which gets the job done for Mazda. Its simplicity means that it is easier to figure out than some of the more complicated infotainment units offered by competing manufacturers.

Safety

Safety
10

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 garnered a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That represents the IIHS’ highest rating.

The IIHS awarded its top rating across all five of its testing categories: small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints & seats.

Mazda equips the CX-5 with numerous safety features that include: daytime running lights; stability control with rollover mitigation; antilock brakes; front, front side and side curtain airbags; and traction control.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
9

Mazda offers the 2015 CX-5 in Sport ($21,545), Touring ($24,965) and Grand Touring ($27,970) editions. Add $1,250 to the base price to transition from front- to all-wheel drive. The base model, equipped with a manual transmission requires an upgrade to an automatic transmission as well, adding $2,800 to its base price.

A well-equipped Touring edition with all-wheel drive can be had for about $27,000 before incentives are taken. This model comes with keyless entry, blind spot monitoring, a six-speaker audio system, HD radio, premium cloth upholstery, a split-folding rear seat and other amenities.

Overall

Overall
9

Mazda may not have the sales numbers of Honda, Ford and Nissan, but it maintains a styling advantage that makes the CX-5 worth considering. Its sporty characteristics are welcome in a segment where sedate driving is more common.