2015 Mazda CX-5 SUV Review & Ratings | Edmunds
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2015 Mazda CX-5 SUV Review

2015 Mazda CX-5 SUV
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Summary

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2015 Mazda CX-5 Sport SUV

  • A Edmunds Rating
  • With its spacious, functional interior, impressive fuel economy and top safety scores, the 2015 Mazda CX-5 is a top pick among small crossovers. The fact that it's also fun to drive comes as a bonus.

  • Pros

    Engaging driving experience; fuel-efficient engines; roomy, comfortable seating; excellent crash test scores; sharp styling.

  • Cons

    Mediocre electronics interface; subpar stereo sound quality; weak acceleration with base engine.

  • What's New for 2015

    Keyless entry and ignition is now standard on the Touring and Grand Touring trim levels. Otherwise, the 2015 Mazda CX-5 carries over unchanged.

Review

If you're shopping for a compact yet versatile vehicle with a relatively affordable price tag, a small crossover SUV is one of the best options available. With its outstanding fuel economy, functional, well-built interior, stellar safety ratings and excellent overall driving experience, the stylish 2015 Mazda CX-5 is one of our favorites in this class. If there's a small crossover in your future, this Mazda should be on your short list.

Although there are many reasons to like the 2015 CX-5, this Mazda is one of those vehicles that just makes your life easy. It's very comfortable to drive to work or run errands in with the kids, and you'll have no problems seeing out of it or parking it. In addition, the 2.5-liter engine that's standard on most trim levels offers strong acceleration while returning class-leading fuel economy. If you venture out of town for the weekend, you'll find that the CX-5's smooth ride, generally quiet cabin and comfortable seating make it a great road trip vehicle as well. Finally, compared with other small crossovers you might consider, this Mazda is actually kind of fun to drive, thanks to its precise steering and sporty handling.

Of course, no vehicle is perfect, and one of our main complaints about the 2015 CX-5 involves its subpar electronics interface. Compared with the infotainment systems in rivals, the CX-5's system has mediocre graphics, poorly organized menus and, with navigation equipped, no scrolling feature for its map screen. Similarly, sound quality is nothing to write home about, even with the available Bose audio system. And while the base 2.0-liter engine on the Sport trim level is quite fuel-efficient, it's also pretty low on power. If extended highway travel or full passenger loads are in your plans, we certainly recommend the available 2.5-liter engine.

There are a lot of choices in the small crossover class, so it's worthwhile to check out a few rivals before making your decision. Another top pick is the Honda CR-V, which has lots of space, high-quality interior materials and an easygoing driving demeanor that most shoppers will like. It's not as athletic as the CX-5, but it's an equally desirable choice. Others you may want to consider include the Ford Escape, which has top-notch interior materials and a powerful, optional turbocharged engine, and the Toyota RAV4, which is also quite roomy and especially comfortable on the highway. For shoppers interested in a small crossover SUV that can handle the occasional off-road excursion, we recommend looking at the Jeep Cherokee and Subaru Forester.

While each of these competitors has certain advantages, the 2015 Mazda CX-5 is one of the best all-around vehicles in the small crossover segment and deserves strong consideration.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels.

The base Sport comes standard with 17-inch wheels, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface. The optional Bluetooth Audio package adds Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a touchscreen interface, HD radio, Pandora Internet radio, automatic crash notification, SMS text message reading and audio system voice controls. Stand-alone options include foglights, rear parking sensors and remote ignition (automatic-transmission models only).

The Touring includes all the Sport's equipment and the contents of the Bluetooth Audio package. It also features a more powerful engine, keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, a blind-spot warning system, a six-way power driver seat, a 40/20/40-split-folding rear seat, a six-speaker sound system, upgraded cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system. The Moonroof and Bose Audio option package adds a sunroof and an upgraded nine-speaker Bose audio system.

The Grand Touring includes all of the Touring's equipment, plus 19-inch wheels, automatic headlights, automatic windshield wipers, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and leather upholstery.

Available on both the Touring and Grand Touring, the Technology package tacks on the Smart City Brake Support System (see Safety section), automatic and adaptive bi-xenon headlights, an auto-dimming mirror, satellite radio and a navigation system. The latter two items are available as stand-alone options. The Touring version of this package also includes automatic wipers.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-wheel-drive 2015 Mazda CX-5 Sport comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. With AWD, the automatic is standard. Note that Mazda only built the CX-5 Sport with the 2.0-liter engine and AWD for a brief period before switching it over to the larger 2.5-liter engine (see below).

In Edmunds performance testing, an all-wheel-drive CX-5 with the 2.0-liter engine went from zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds, which is on the slow side for a small crossover. The EPA's estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg combined (26 city/32 highway) on automatic-transmission front-drive models; the manual version also rates 29 mpg combined but gets a 35 mpg highway estimate. With AWD and the automatic, estimates drop to 28 combined (25 city/31 highway).

The Sport AWD (built after May of 2014), Touring and Grand Touring models come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that's good for 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive versions are available for the Touring and Grand Touring.

In Edmunds testing, a CX-5 with the 2.5-liter engine and AWD accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds, which is a very respectable performance for this class. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 27 mpg combined (25 city/32 highway) with front-wheel drive and 26 combined (24/30) with AWD. Properly equipped, all 2015 Mazda CX-5s have a 2,000-pound tow rating, though we don't recommend towing with the 2.0-liter engine.

Safety

Every 2015 Mazda CX-5 comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. An automatic crash notification feature is optional on the Sport and standard on the Touring and Grand Touring, which also get a blind-spot warning system.

Optional on the Touring and Grand Touring, the Smart City Brake Support system uses a laser sensor to detect stationary objects (such as stopped cars or pedestrians) in front of the vehicle at speeds up to 19 mph. If the driver fails to respond to a warning, the CX-5 can automatically apply the brakes.

In Edmunds brake testing, a CX-5 Grand Touring equipped with all-season tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, which is a bit better than average for the class.

In government crash testing, the CX-5 received a perfect five stars for overall, front and side crash protection. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the CX-5 earned the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, small-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. Its seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Interior Design and Special Features

Regardless of the trim level, the cockpit of the Mazda CX-5 is attractive, modern and functional. It's a mature design, and it isn't swathed in poorly rendered fake wood or highly reflective chrome trim. Instead, materials are simple and high in quality, and soft-touch surfaces are set off with limited use of satin-finish metallic details. The CX-5's black gauges with white lettering are also highly legible.

On the other hand, the CX-5's touchscreen electronics interface, which is available with or without navigation, is just OK. The screen is small, and the system is sometimes slow to process touch inputs. The TomTom-sourced navigation software will get you to your destination, but there's no ability to scroll on the map screen and the navigation units in most competitors have better graphics.

Most Mazda CX-5 drivers will be able to find a good driving position, and front seat comfort is excellent on long road trips. The backseat is spacious and offers plenty of legroom for this class. Although the seat-bottom cushions might feel a bit flat to adults, they feature an innovative folding mechanism on the Touring and Grand Touring that lowers the seat bottom before folding the seatback on top to provide a near-flat load floor. With all seats occupied, there are 34 cubic feet of luggage space that grows to a competitive 65 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Driving Impressions

Equipped with the base 2.0-liter engine, the Mazda CX-5 offers competitive power on paper, but out in the real world, it just doesn't feel that strong during merging and passing maneuvers. For the majority of small crossover shoppers, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder (which is standard on most trims) is a much better choice given its superior power and minuscule fuel economy penalty. Either way, the six-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly and is one of the most responsive transmissions in this class. Mazda still offers a very good manual transmission, too, but given that it's only available on CX-5s with the 2.0-liter engine, its appeal is limited.

Easily the most striking thing about the 2015 Mazda CX-5 is its athletic character. Even if you're just looking for a small crossover to drive to work every day, you'll notice that its brakes, suspension and steering are uncommonly capable for a vehicle in this class. It's an enjoyable vehicle to run errands in, and if you happen to turn onto a road with twists and turns, the CX-5 can be downright fun. On the highway, the Mazda rides just as comfortably as most other crossovers. It isn't the quietest choice available in this class, but as long as you get the 2.5-liter engine, noise levels are acceptable on road trips.

2015 Mazda CX-5 Video Review

Reviews from owners of the 2015 Mazda CX-5 Sport SUV

Average Consumer Rating (See all 43 reviews) Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Red snapper

by on
Vehicle: 2015 Mazda CX-5

Excellent road handling cabin could be quiter overall just a good driving veichal



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Worst car owned/worst brand ever

by on
Vehicle: 2015 Mazda CX-5

Where do I begin? The fact that it was never working when I bought it and Mazda refused to repair it? Or the multiple times it stranded me? Or how Mazda wouldn't honor its warranty when the mileage dropped to 12, the gearbox failed a second time, the infotainment stopped working, etc? How's this: My friend bought a Mazda6 and recommended the 2014 Mazda3, which I bought. That car was a complete lemon with constant problems, so I foolishly traded it for the CX-5: Even more problems, more headaches, and less support from Mazda! Nothing worked, the dealer lied for two years, the car never got fixed despite a dozen unscheduled service visits and multiple breakdowns. After the umpteenth time catching Mazda reps in a lie, I gave up... BTW, my friend with the 6? His turned into an even worse lemon and got no help from them either.




My first mazda - surprisingly impressed

by on
Vehicle: 2015 Mazda CX-5

I've had the car for about 2 years now and so far so good, it's very reliable in the worst conditions considering I still have the stock all seasons! The interior could use more leg room, my son who is only 2 years old is able to reach my seat with his legs already and he's only 3 ft tall. But overall I like this small cuv, it's very reliable in the snow might be just as good as my toyota fj cruiser in NJ snow conditions. Gas mileage is the best in class, exterior design is awesome for a car at this price point.




Disappointed

by on
Vehicle: 2015 Mazda CX-5

Overall I guess the car is ok but the transmission is the worst I've ever experienced. It's quick to to gear down at the slightest incline yet slow to shift back ( 5 to 8 seconds sometimes longer). I took it back to the dealer the second week I had it and they told me it was fine. I drive on the highway a lot but can't use my cruse because of it.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Transmission died after 24,000 miles

by on
Vehicle: 2015 Mazda CX-5

I purchased a 2015 CX5 Grand Touring w/ tech package in October 2014. Fast forward to March 2016 with 24,000 miles on it and my transmission died. It needed to be completely replaced. I replaced the vehicle entirely with a Rogue. Pros: -I really like the exterior. I especially like the Soul Red color. -The blind spot warning system is very visible Cons: -Well, the transmission died after 24,000 miles. -The technology (Although, I think they updated it for 2016) was slow. It would always takes 5-10 seconds to switch from FM to XM. Furthermore, pairing my iPhone would take a while, especially during the downloading of contacts whereas my new Rogue downloaded it in 5 seconds. -The Smart City Braking System is useless. It's supposed to stop the car if it senses another car in front of if you are going under 15 mph (I think). It may be useful if you live in Manhattan but for me it was just a giant pain. I work in a secured environment. There is a lift gate getting into work. The lift gate would start to lift and I would let off the brake and it would think the gate is a car and then slam on the brakes for me. I mean, obviously I learned eventually but to me it is a completely useless safety feature and could only do me harm rather than good.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Fun to drive

by on
Vehicle: 2015 Mazda CX-5

Finally got rid of my 12-year-old car and I love this one. I like sitting up higher, lots of visibility, great "driving aids" like the back-up camera and blinking/beeping in side mirrors when there is a car in the blind spots. Tons of cargo area when the second row seats are folded down. Easy-to-use controls for the radio, navigation system and climate adjustments. Love the heated seats!



SPONSORED CONTENT
Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2015 Mazda CX-5 Suv in VA is:

$52.83 per month*
*Disclaimer

Talk About The 2015 CX-5

2015 Mazda CX-5 Discussions See all Started By

dondilio
dondilio
02-09-2016
I was checking out the CX-5 at the Mazda dealer today and they had 4 leftover 2015. 2 GT and 2 Tourings. One of them is dark gray which was my 2nd option since I wanted it black....


eharkey
eharkey
07-26-2014
Looking at 2015 CX 5 GT FWD (no xtras). Was quoted $27656 for 36 month lease, 10K miles, $390/month with 0 down and first month payment of $390. RV of $16,704 (58%) annd MF of 0.00029. I am in Texas.…...


yogist12
yogist12
09-13-2014
I'd like to know residual and money factor for base cx-5 touring in Los Angeles ,CA...



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