2015 Mazda CX-5 Review
2015 Mazda CX-5 Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Engaging driving experience
- fuel-efficient engines
- roomy, comfortable seating
- excellent crash test scores
- sharp styling.
- Mediocre electronics interface
- subpar stereo sound quality
- weak acceleration with base engine.
Keyless entry and ignition is now standard on the Touring and Grand Touring trim levels. Otherwise, the 2015 Mazda CX-5 carries over unchanged.
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.
Notably, we picked the Mazda CX-5 as one of Edmunds' Best Used SUVs for 2015.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2015 Mazda CX-5 Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$129/mo for CX-5 Sport
Avg. Midsize SUV
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.
Notably, we picked the 2015 Mazda CX-5 as one of Edmunds' Best Used Cars.
Performance & mpg
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.
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.
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.
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.
2015 Mazda CX-5 models
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.
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
Great, until the 2017 was released
2015 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
Dec 2014- I just traded in a 2015 Accord sedan (which had multiple problems) for the 2015 CX-5. I prefer the style and drive of Mazda models. The seats in the CX5 are supportive and comfortable (apart from the head restraint which is not comfortable for short people) The Bose system sounds fine to me--not great-- but good enough. The interior noise level (I checked with a decibel … meter) is not great, but is equivalent to other SUVs in this price range. The car is relatively smooth on bumpy roads. The CX5 is known for being a pleasure to drive- sporty for an SUV with great handling. The electronic multifunction interface is not great. it is a bit slow and sometimes requires multiple entries. I am not able to download my messages. Also, the screen should be bigger. Fuel economy was lower than advertised. Only 28.5 on the hightway at 70 mph. 2017-- So, living in Florida, I found that the car took a long time to cool off, due to the lack of air conditioning vents in the back. Also, I just got tired of the road roar, especially on the highway. I'm trading it in for the 2017, which has loads of improvements. Still sticking with the CX5 , which gave me no problems while I owned it.
5 out of 5 stars
love it but the 2016 is on the way
2015 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
Bought the Grand Touring AWD in August now has 5,000 miles. I bought the reflex blue color which is hard to find. Get a lot of good comments on it. I love the ride, the stereo sounds great. Good acceleration for a 4 cylinder. Others have complained about the touchscreen but I have no problem with it. I just saw the 2016 is coming out in June. Classic Mazda dealership was great. … Will most likely buy another one when i get tired of this one! Now have 35,000 miles on it. Found out that the reason for the poor road noise is the tires. I bought Michelin Premier Tires as a replacement and the car rides smoother and much quieter. Also wish the car had heated steering wheel. Overall a good car and may buy another one in a few years.
4.63 out of 5 stars
5,000 Miles in, all smiles
2015 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
We purchased this CX-5 in December 2014 after my 7 years driving an X3. Of all the compact SUVs available in the $25-30K price range, we liked the CX-5 styling the best. Now 5,000 miles on the odometer and I really have no complaints. On highway trips through the PA mountains and over OH flatlands, I averaged 29mpg at 70mph. In mixed driving (local errands, groceries, etc.) I'm seeing … about 25mpg. And all this with 87 octane on a high-compression engine. The in-dash multimedia system works great, pairing with multiple iPhone/iPods cleanly and transmitting bluetooth info as needed. The update to the TomTom nav system worked as described on the web guide. Very happy with this choice so far.
4 out of 5 stars
Except for the heating, A/C and defogger systems
2015 Mazda CX-5 Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
I wanted to wait till I owned this CX-5 touring long enough to experience all seasons to their worst. 8 month's ownership in central IN, former CR-V owner. I have to say that I love everything about this car except for the defogger/heat and air system. I must choose between having clear windows or a comfortable cabin. In the 11 years I owned the Honda CR-V, this was not the case. In the … CX-5 you cannot turn on the internal air re-circulation if you have the defogger dial engaged. (I went to the dealership to make sure it wasn't user error.) I realize this is common with other makes, but I hate it. I experienced sudden visibility loss on a hot, muggy night when I first owned the car. I hate having to smell car exhaust inside my vehicle. On a 15 degree day my windows froze shut on my 35 min. drive because I (only person in the car) could not keep the interior warm enough to keep the window seal from freezing. I had to keep the defroster on or I couldn't see. And, this was after parking in a heated garage overnight. The car rides like a dream, is quiet, gets great mileage, is comfortable for large adults in the front and back. The sound system is great and I love the look of the car. This car is great for a desert dweller, not for anyone who must fight foggy windows in humid environments. This is a deal breaker for me. I will trade the car within 2 years, whereas I kept my Honda for 11. If it were not for Honda's road noise, I probably would have purchased another. I thought the CX-5 was my answer. One other tiny thing, the cargo area could use more than a 1 by 2 inch light for a $28K car. July 2016, still have the car, still hold the same opinion. Jan. 2018 update, I didn't trade the car because I would lose too much money. I am still driving the car. It's still a good car, but my feet freeze in the winter, even with the dial turned to floor blower and with the heat turned on high. January 2021 I am still driving the car. I am still the only car on the road with the windshield wipers running early on a summer morning because I can't get rid of the condensation, with the defogger, any way I set it. No other complaints. 1/2023: Still a reliable car at 96K. Still don't like the defogger or heat.
2015 Mazda CX-5 videos
ALISTAIR WEAVER: Today, the Subaru Forester and Mazda CX-5 go head to head in Edmunds exclusive, bespoke, unique, five category comparison. [MUSIC PLAYING] ALISTAIR WEAVER: Hello, I'm Alistair Weaver and I'm joined once again by the frosted Nixon of the Edmunds team. James Riswick will be representing the Subaru Forester. Mike Monticello, the Mazda CS-5. The first category up is performance. Mike, Mazda used to be all about zoom-zoom, but tell me, is there any zoom left? MIKE MONTICELLO: Absolutely, I mean performance is where the CS-5 shines. It's steering and it's handling are unlike anything else in this segment. You throw it into a corner, it always remains poised. And let's talk transmissions. The CX-5 has a traditional six speed automatic with quick, but yet smooth, shifts. The Forester has a CBT and it's not even a very good CBT at that. JAMES RISWICK: You know, I can't really argue with anything Mike says there. But I will add that the Forester has something that the CX-5 does not have, a two liter turbocharged four cylinder. It allows the Forester to go from 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds. Nothing in the segment is even close. It's two seconds quicker than the best CX-5 engine. The other thing about the Forester, it's better off road. It has higher ground clearance and approach angles. ALISTAIR WEAVER: Well, this is tougher than you might think. The Mazda has more verve, but Uncle Scooby has more pure grunt, and it secures my first point. MIKE MONTICELLO: What? ALISTAIR WEAVER: Moving on to comfort. Can you chillax in the Forester? JAMES RISWICK: Absolutely. And it's really easy to do it because you have so much space. The back seat is high mounted and you have a lot of legroom, tons of headroom as well. And really it's boxy shape makes it feel a little less claustrophobic inside. It also has better visibility. Now I'm not going to say that the CX-5 is uncomfortable, but if you're looking for a comfier, softer ride the Forester will deliver that. MIKE MONTICELLO: People who really like driving are going to like to the CX-5's front seats. They're nicely contoured which means they have really good side bolstering. So the seats are going to hold you in place through corners. The Forester seats are wide and flat. Despite the CX-5's handling, which we've already discussed, it still offers a pretty darn smooth ride. ALISTAIR WEAVER: It's another close call but for a superior interior space, the Forester scores another point. 2-nil. So we know the Subaru has more space. But Mike, does the CX-5 hit back with the quality of its interior? MIKE MONTICELLO: Well, I think it does. The CX-5's interior is inviting for the sake of driving. It's easy to get in and out. The doors open nice and wide. Now, I know James is going to want to talk about maximum cargo room, but I'd rather talk about daily usable cargo room, meaning the space behind the rear seat. There, the Forester has 34.4 cubic feet of cargo room. The Mazda has 34.0. Which, according to my new math, that's a tie. JAMES RISWICK: You know, I will grant you that in numbers that these two cars are pretty close. Although, again, the Forester is bigger. But in terms of actual real world space, I actually went car shopping with friends who have a big old golden retriever. She didn't fit in the back of the CX-5. She fit easily in the Forester. Elsewhere in the cabin, you have nice, simple controls in the Forester, especially compared to the Mazda. ALISTAIR WEAVER: Well, despite being a major dog lover myself, I'm still going to give the point to the Mazda. So it's currently 2-1 to the Forester. But can it's boxer engine deliver the killer punch? JAMES RISWICK: Well, the Forester is a few hundred bucks more than the CX-5, but you do get standard Bluetooth, a rear view camera, and most importantly standard all-wheel drive. Now, not everybody needs all-wheel drive but when there's no cost, fuel economy, or performance penalty, why not? In terms or fuel economy, they're also even. Even the 2.0 XT, the turbo model, is only two miles per gallon lower than the CX-5 and it's a lot more powerful. MIKE MONTICELLO: Well, despite its [INAUDIBLE] performance, this little Mazda actually gets pretty good fuel economy. The base engine with all-wheel drive gets 28 MPG combined which is one MPG better than the Forester with its base engine. And the 2.5 liter engine in the CX-5 also gets better fuel economy than the Subaru Forester Turbo. Admittedly, that car is just a little bit quicker than CX-5. Now, Subaru has a reputation for building rugged interiors, but the CX-5's interior is just a really nice place. And to me, there is value in giving buyers a nice place to spend time. ALISTAIR WEAVER: I'm all for utilitarian sheep, but to be honest, at times the Subaru just feels a bit drab. So point to the Mazda. 2-all. So the last and decisive category is personality. Mike is a serious wheelman. Does the CX-5 make you smile? MIKE MONTICELLO: Absolutely, it sure does. The CX-5 owner they're probably looking more forward to the actual drive. Where as the Forester owner's maybe thinking more about what kind of activities are they going to do once they get to where they're going. Now, the CX-5 is the kind of vehicle that the driving dynamics put a smile on your face. The other thing about the Forester is, it's kind of boring looking these days. You can mistake it for one of like 20 other crossovers out there. The CX-5, in contrast, I mean it's a great looking vehicle. And to me, part of the fun of owning a vehicle is enjoying looking at it. JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, I don't really enjoy looking at the Forester. I'll give you that. And it's not really that fun to drive either. It's certainly easier to drive, great visibility, nice, big old mirrors, and I will also agree with you that the Forester's the sort of car you have more fun at your destination with all of your fun leisure activity equipment. ALISTAIR WEAVER: To be honest James, only one of these cars sets out to be genuinely fun to drive and that's why I'm giving the category to the Mazda. It's victory to Mike, Mazda, and the CX-5. But tell us, would you choose the Mazda over the Scooby? And for more information, explore Edmunds.com.
2015 Mazda CX-5 vs 2015 Subaru Forester Comparision Test
Two crossover SUVs and two Edmunds.com editors Face Off: the Subaru Forester vs the Mazda CX-5. Editors James Riswick and Mike Monticello debate the merits of each SUV, including their performance, comfort, interior, value and how much (or little) they're fun to drive. Which car would… you buy: the Forester or CX-5?
2015 CX-5 Highlights
|Combined MPG||29 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$129/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover17.4%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood