2021 Mazda CX-5 review: Fun at the forefront

Victoria D. Doty

Even although you can be getting enjoyment driving the wheel, the CX-5’s styling ensures you stay underneath the radar.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

At times, earning a adjust signifies getting rid of sight of what you made use of to hold pricey. Fortunately, that is not the circumstance for the 2021 Mazda CX-5. Even though the Japanese automaker has injected its most current vehicles with cost-effective doses of luxurious-stage trimmings, the company has not lost sight of the enjoyment-to-travel mother nature that introduced men and women into its showrooms in years past. If nearly anything, it only tends to make this compact crossover a lot more compelling.


  • Exciting to travel
  • Properly extravagant interior
  • Inexpensive

Will not Like

  • Light on cargo room
  • Middling MPGs
  • Lack of touchscreen is not for absolutely everyone

Fashion ahead

Devoid of severe angles and eye-grabbing garishness, I take pleasure in the CX-5’s clear overall body lines, with only a hint of aggression on the hood offering way to subdued curves on the sides. It truly is a small nameless, sure, but I consider it’s interesting in the compact crossover phase rivals like the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue are material to go really hard in the paint with one of a kind styling but a normal glossing-above of driving dynamics, whilst Mazda’s having the reverse technique.

The very best elements of the CX-5’s style and design are inside. This cabin is 1 of my favorites in the phase just like the exterior, Mazda chooses to prioritize cleanliness above whiz-bang, appear-at-me styling. Combine that with a entire great deal of impressively delicate leather-based on my Signature-trim tester, and you have an interior that borders on bona-fide luxurious — and for much less than the ordinary new-car transaction rate. The entrance seats are roomy and supportive without having being tight, and though the rear seats may possibly be a small cramped for individuals above 6 feet tall, there’s continue to a respectable sum of room back again there.

Storage is a little bit of a combined bag, although. The CX-5’s cabin by itself has a adequate amount of spots to shop one’s junk, whether or not it’s the cellular phone-or-mask-sized tray underneath the local weather controls or the deep center armrest cubby with its detachable shelf. Having said that, cargo space suffers in contrast to the levels of competition at thirty.9 cubic feet driving the next-row seats, the CX-5 falls much driving the Honda CR-V (about 38 cubic feet), Toyota RAV4 (about 37) and Nissan Rogue (about 36). You will have to both get innovative with your excursion packing or determine out which kid receives left at household.

Worthwhile on the highway

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 will come with 1 of two engines. Reduce trims get a 2.5-liter, normally aspirated I4 that generates 187 horsepower, but the best-tier Signature instance prior to me picks up some significant hustle with a 2.5-liter turbocharged I4 that bumps output to a meaty 250 hp and 320 pound-feet of torque. (All those quantities are for quality gasoline making use of the cheap things drops those specs to 227 and 310, respectively.) No matter whether I am making use of the torque to quickly shift amongst stoplights all around city or wringing the four-pot out at better revs to go cars on the highway, at no position am I left wanting for a lot more motive drive. Both of those engines use a six-speed automated that could sense a small driving the occasions on gear rely, but in exercise it’s a clean-shifting transmission that will never ever command awareness.

Throwing some enjoyment attributes into a mass-marketplace vehicle’s driving dynamics at times needs a trade-off in everyday livability, but not in this article. The 2021 CX-5’s static dampers do an remarkable balancing act, soaking up a majority of gross streets and returning small in the way of jostling or not comfortable movement. Still, at the similar time, entering a corner a lot quicker than my travellers could favor won’t consequence in a floaty or discombobulated sensation. The steering is immediate but not so tight that compact actions sense like more substantial kinds, and each pedals are useless uncomplicated to modulate for smoothness. Like its styling, I consider the way the CX-5 drives will enchantment to a broad swath of the buying general public.

Oh, never stress, there’s a downside tucked away in in this article. Sadly, it’s gasoline economic system. With all-wheel travel and the peppier motor selection, the 2021 CX-5 is EPA-rated at just 22 miles for each gallon metropolis and 27 mpg highway. I was capable to very best those figures by a few, mind you, but the feds’ estimates are bleak in the deal with of Mazda’s rivals. For context, a likewise outfitted Honda CR-V is rated at 27 mpg metropolis and 32 mpg highway, with the RAV4 pulling forward of the Honda by one mpg highway. Then all over again, that is the rate you pay back for getting 310 lb-ft of torque, which the other cars talked about in this article unquestionably do not.

The CX-5’s interior provides a couple “quality” automakers a operate for their money.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Slick typical tech

Even though lots of of Mazda’s rivals are material to give you a small newborn monitor until you throw down a lot more money for a better trim or an alternatives package deal, the 2021 CX-5 provides just about every solitary purchaser a 10.three-inch infotainment display mounted substantial on the dashboard, which runs the sleekest, newest variation of the Mazda Join program. Like the relaxation of the interior, this monitor looks rather darn extravagant, with a typical dark-method motif that is mild on distracting eye candy. It truly is responsive, and Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle are now each typical, but consumers made use of to touchscreens may possibly not take pleasure in the point that the sole techniques of manipulation are a rotary dial on the center console and voice instructions as a result of a steering wheel button. When it will come time to demand, there are two USB ports for every row, though the foundation CX-5 Activity only tends to make do with plugs up entrance.

That is not the only monitor tucked away in the CX-5, although. Grand Touring and better trims also get a 7-inch Lcd in the gauge cluster that contains the speedometer and can exhibit a little bit of further information on both facet it’s a small mild on characteristics, but it receives the task done without having too much to handle the driver. There’s also a head-up display on Grand Touring Reserve and Signature variants, which assignments pertinent information on the windshield alternatively than the dinky pop-up plastic that Mazda made use of to count on.

Like most just about every other automaker, Mazda’s thrown in a amount of energetic and passive basic safety techniques regardless of trim. Every single 2021 CX-5 receives automated crisis braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise handle, lane-maintaining guide and blind-place checking. The tip-best Signature model provides to that with a encompass-view observe, traffic signal recognition and reverse automated crisis braking.

In addition to the typical webpages for audio and navigation, you can keep track of your gasoline economic system… though supplied its efficiency, perhaps you never want to do that.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Down to brass tacks

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 is cost-effective, with the Activity FWD model starting off at $26,370, which includes $one,100 for vacation spot. AWD is a $one,400 selection for any trim other than Grand Touring Reserve and Signature, the place it’s typical. Pricing tops out with my tester’s Signature trim, which will established you back again $38,505 — a good chunk of adjust, certainly, but continue to inside the realm of affordability.

That places the CX-5 in line with the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue, all of which are practical rivals. Having said that, the CX-5’s most significant rivals are rather milquetoast, offering small in the way of an interesting travel. The Mazda could be a small very low on cargo room in contrast to the relaxation, but the tradeoff is a compact crossover that is engineered with a lot more than rote transportation in mind.

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