2016 Mazda CX-5 Review
2016 Mazda CX-5 Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Sporty driving feel that makes you feel secure while cornering
- engines earn great fuel economy
- spacious seating in both rows
- many desirable safety features.
- Subpar stereo sound quality, even with the Bose upgrade
- weak acceleration with base engine.
For 2016, the Mazda CX-5 receives a refresh in the form of minor styling tweaks, improved interior materials, revised suspension tuning, added sound insulation and an updated infotainment interface. New options include LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert and lane departure warning, while Bluetooth is now standard across the board. Additionally, a midyear update brings separate 2016.5 models (production after January 2016) that include a standard rearview camera (except manual-transmission Sport), standard heated seats for the Touring trim and standard navigation for both Touring and Grand Touring.
When you're shopping for crossover SUVs, it can seem like they are all just different flavors of bland. The Mazda CX-5 breaks that mold. It has an engaging driving character, yet it still gives you pretty much everything you're looking for, including great fuel economy. Let's take a closer look at what makes this Mazda tick.
Notably, we picked the Mazda CX-5 as one of Edmunds' Best Used SUVs for 2016.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2016 Mazda CX-5 Sport 4dr SUV w/Prod. End 01/16 (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 $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$130/mo for CX-5 Sport
Avg. Midsize SUV
With their ample cargo capacity, good fuel efficiency, elevated driving positions and enhanced foul-weather driving capability, compact crossover SUVs have massive appeal. Indeed, this is one of the most popular vehicle segments. And within that crowded class, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 stands as one of our favorite picks.
What pushes this Mazda to the front of the class is that, in addition to satisfying those core requirements, it also boasts a nicely trimmed cabin, excellent safety ratings, a smooth and quiet ride, comfortable seats and good visibility. The CX-5 also has something quite rare in this segment: a fun-to-drive personality that comes by way of its precise steering and sporty handling. With the bigger engine that's standard on most trim levels, the CX-5 also provides an impressive combination of peppy acceleration and high fuel economy. Whether you're driving to work, running errands or dropping the kids off somewhere, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 is enjoyable to drive and as comfortable and easy to live with as a favorite pair of jeans. Those traits also make the CX-5 a great road trip companion.
We think the 2016 Mazda CX-5 is one of the best crossovers on the market.
For 2016, Mazda has updated the CX-5 in a few areas. Refinements include styling tweaks to the front and rear ends, an electronic parking brake, added sound insulation for reduced road noise, an updated infotainment system and revised suspension tuning for a more comfortable ride. There's also more cabin storage thanks to larger door pockets and a bigger console bin. Mazda improved the seats as well, with the backseat gaining a larger seat-bottom cushion.
If you're looking for a weak spot in this generally excellent package, the main one is the base 2.0-liter engine found on the Sport trim level with the manual transmission. It's pretty low on power and, although it's quite fuel-efficient, it has a negligible advantage over the significantly better-performing 2.5-liter engine. If full passenger loads and/or hilly driving are in your plans, we certainly recommend the available 2.5-liter engine. In addition, the Mazda CX-5's sound systems are subpar. Even the uplevel Bose system delivers unimpressive audio quality.
There are a lot of good choices in the small crossover class, so it's worth checking out your options before making a decision. The Honda CR-V has lots of space, a high-quality interior and a likable, easygoing driving demeanor. It's not as athletic as the CX-5, but it's an equally desirable choice. There's also the Ford Escape, which has a top-notch interior as well as the option of a powerful, turbocharged engine. The Toyota RAV4 boasts a roomy cabin and is especially comfortable on the highway. For those 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 2016 Mazda CX-5 is one of the best all-around vehicles in this segment and deserves strong consideration.
Notably, we picked the 2016 Mazda CX-5 as one of Edmunds' Best Used Cars.
Performance & mpg
The front-wheel-drive 2016 Mazda CX-5 Sport comes with a choice of two powertrains. You may choose either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque matched to a six-speed manual transmission, or a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional on Sport models with the 2.5-liter engine. The bigger engine is standard on Touring and Grand Touring models.
The EPA's estimated fuel economy for the Sport FWD, 2.0-liter version is 29 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway). All FWD CX-5s with the 2.5-liter engine earn an identical 29 mpg combined (26/33), while those with all-wheel drive (AWD) rate 26 combined (24 city/30 highway).
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.
Every 2016 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 blind spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems.
Available 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. The Grand Touring can also be had with the i-ActiveSense package that features adaptive cruise control, Smart Brake Support (allows automatic braking from higher speeds than the City system), lane departure warning and automatic high beam control. On automatic-equipped CX-5s, remote door locking is possible via the optional Mazda Mobile Start smartphone app service.
In Edmunds brake testing, a CX-5 Grand Touring 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 four-star rating for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact 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 it just doesn't feel that strong during merging and passing maneuvers in the real world. For the majority of small crossover shoppers, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder is a much better choice given its superior power and virtually identical fuel economy. Furthermore, the six-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly and is one of the most responsive transmissions in this class. Mazda still makes a very good manual transmission, but given that it's only available with the 2.0-liter engine, its appeal is quite limited.
Easily the most striking thing about the 2016 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 steering, brakes and suspension 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, making it a fine road trip companion.
Regardless of the trim level, the cabin 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 tasteful metallic or piano black accents. The CX-5's black gauges with white lettering are also highly legible.
The 2016 version of the CX-5 brings a much-improved infotainment system. Boasting a 7-inch (versus the previous 5.8-inch) screen and an intuitive multifunction control knob, the new system is one of the better ones out there. Most drivers should be able to find a good driving position, and front-seat comfort is excellent on long road trips.
Mazda has added an improved infotainment system to the 2016 CX-5.
The Mazda's backseat is spacious and offers plenty of legroom for this class. That rear seat features an innovative folding mechanism on the Touring and Grand Touring trim levels that lowers the seat bottom before folding the seatback on top to provide a near-flat load floor. With all seats occupied, there are 34.1 cubic feet of luggage space. That grows to a competitive 64.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
2016 Mazda CX-5 models
The 2016 Mazda CX-5 is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels. All trim levels offer a choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD).
The base Sport with the 2.0-liter engine and manual transmission comes standard with 17-inch alloy 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, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and an iPod /USB interface.
There's also a Sport variant with the larger 2.5-liter engine and an automatic transmission. Its standard features expand to include a 7-inch touchscreen interface, a multifunction controller knob, HD radio, Pandora Internet radio, automatic crash notification, SMS text message reading and audio system voice controls. For the 2016.5 model, a rearview camera is also standard; it's optional on the earlier 2016 version.
The Touring includes all of the above as well as foglights, keyless ignition and entry, blind spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems, a six-way power driver seat, a height-adjustable passenger seat, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, 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 above plus 19-inch wheels, automatic headlights, automatic windshield wipers, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, heated front seats and leather upholstery.
Leather upholstery comes standard on the CX-5's Grand Touring trim.
Available on both the Touring and Grand Touring is the Technology package. It features a navigation system, the Smart City Brake Support System (see Safety section for more details), adaptive LED headlights, LED running lights, LED foglights, LED taillights and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. On the Touring, it also includes automatic headlights and automatic windshield wipers.
Optional on the Grand Touring is the i-ActiveSense package that includes adaptive cruise control, Smart Brake Support (see Safety section), lane departure warning and automatic high beam headlight control.
Note that the 2016.5 CX-5 Touring trim gets the heated front seats as standard, while both the 2016.5 CX-5 Touring and the 2016.5 CX-5 Grand Touring come standard with the navigation system. Otherwise, the content of the optional packages is unaffected.
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
My second CX5!
2016 Mazda CX-5 Touring 4dr SUV w/Prod. End 01/16 (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
I don't understand a lot of the reviews that I've seen here. I read some of the complaints and you could tell that these people forget what a car is supposed to be and do. They are complaining about the A/C, I haven't experienced any lack of cooling ability and I live in South Florida. This is an SUV meaning its bigger than a regular car so it takes more effort to cool, consider … installing tinted window film if you need a cooler car. In terms of some of the other non-functioning or not to my liking features, please read the car manual, it is all in there. Some of the options could be disabled if it is too much work learning how to use them properly. This is a great car for the money, and it is the reason that I traded my 2014 for a brand new 2016. There was nothing wrong with the 2014, but having to get rid of my son's old car with high mileage, I found a great deal trading in both my cars for the new one. This car is the complete package; amazing performance, very safe, awesome looks, quality construction, very reliable and a bargain for your money. Like all cars, there are some flaws in the CX5, but so far I have not heard of the perfect car out there and probably never will, as each one of us have different needs and wants. That being said, the flaws I will talk about are minimal and won't affect your decision when buying a great performing SUV. 1) I wished the Bose Audio System was more powerful, I don't know if Bose decided to make a lower quality than usual system for Mazda or if it has to do with the speakers location but I certainly expect more from Bose. It is still a nice sound system and being packaged with the moonroof, makes sense for the price. The regular sound system with 6 speakers instead of the Bose 9, should be very weak. 2) I also consider the Technology Package a good addition unless you're comfortable following navigation instructions from a telephone, I prefer the car's GPS. It does take some getting used to versus the old tom-tom system, but I believe it's an upgraded version and you get 3 years of free map upgrades. 3) I could use more usb charging outlets, like behind the center console for the rear passengers, but again not a big deal. 4) I don't understand why the passenger seat has to be manually adjusted when it has six-way power driver seat. Again, no big deal. That being said, I love the new infotainment and its larger 7-inch touchscreen interface and the multifunction controller knob, it makes the whole driving experience better. You feel in control of all your needs with a touch of a button (music, phone, gps, etc.) The new electronic parking brake makes for a better looking cabin and extra space for you cellphone and/or wallet. I love the new keyless entry feature with just the press of a button at the doors and also the trunk. I definitely noted two big differences from my 2014 model, the quietness inside the cabin (which I love) and that is because Mazda added sound insulation for reduced road noise, and a smoother ride as a result of the revised suspension tuning. The smoother ride is something that I am still getting used to, being a speed junkie myself and a kart enthusiast I like a stiffer suspension, it gives me a better feel for the road. Nonetheless it makes for a more luxurious drive and I'm sure a lot of people will like that better. This is one of the things that is a matter of personal taste. On the other hand, Mazda added a "sport" mode selector that you can choose if you like higher revs and get the most out of its powerful engine. I am very happy with this vehicle. I have taken it on a long road trip and it is so comfortable, but also very responsive when you need to make a pass or speed up. I am sure everyone will find a comfortable position on the driver's seat. If you're looking for a compact SUV that feels bigger than it looks, gives you a quality ride without sacrificing performance and has anything you would like to have in today's car environment, look no further this is your car. Mazda quality has been proven for decades and their car engineering is at the top of the charts. I got my 2016 Touring CX5 with both packages (Technology and Moonroof/Bose), roof rack rails and crossbars for $27,000 (out the door), from an MSRP of just over $29K before taxes, fees and registration. You just can't get this type of vehicle with all the amenities, options and performance for that amount of money and the best part is that the Lexus, Audi and Acura owners who pay at least $10K more, still look mesmerized at you and your ride.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Couldn't be happier with my purchase
2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD w/Prod. End 01/16 (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
I recently traded in my 2008 Mazda 3 for the more future family friendly cx-5. I was hesitant leaving my sporty 4 door sedan at first, but I couldn't be happier with my cx-5. It is a fun, fuel efficient, capable suv. We've taken it from Maryland to Atlanta for a road trip and was able to drive through a snow storm in the process (odd that NC got hit with a snow storm though). … Nonetheless, it's awd handled great in the snow and the cx-5 produces confidence when driving in extreme confusions. The ride comfort is great considering how the suspension is tuned. If I had to be picky about it, I would say it is a little underpowered, but the sport mode alleviates this issue for me.
4 out of 5 stars
3 years in
K B, 02/14/2016
2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
Overall it's a decent car. I like the overall appearance, handling, and layout of the interior. I like the hands-free infotainment control in the center console. No fingerprints on my touchscreen! Folding down the seats, I can fit my bike in the back without removing the front wheel. A few things need to be addressed by Mazda: --The Smart City Brake System (SCBS) is far too sensitive … on my car. When making a left turn with the turn signal on, this system will activate (without cause) about 20% of the time. It's sensitive to any reflective light (e.g., reflective lane dividers or construction signs, sometimes my garage door opening). That's not a high percentage, but when you're drinking hot coffee it's 20% too high. I'd taken the car to the dealership for this 3 times, and they "weren't able to replicate the problem." --The rear brakes wore out before the front, which is really odd. I'm not an aggressive driver. I replaced the rear brakes around 45K miles, which isn't super early. Just thought the wear was strange. --The original windshield had to be replaced in under a year of having the car. It was horrible quality. --The car averages 25.5 mpg. Half of my work commute is uphill, so there's that. --My programmed radio stations spontaneously delete every 5-6 months. Not horrible, but annoying. --The latch on the middle console is quite fragile and broke off after about a year of owning the car. I fixed it using a method I saw on YouTube, as I wasn't willing to spend the money to have plastic replaced with more plastic. In all honesty, when it's time to get a new car, I would get another CX-5. But the Mazda dealership recently closed shop in my town, so I'll probably be getting something else. It seems every time I get any new car I have to take it in a few times for recalls or minor issues, and I don't want to have to drive far to go to a dealership. My town has an "auto row" with all the major auto makers. Mazda leaving was a surprise. UPDATE 2 MONTHS LATER: transmission failed at 55K miles, and was replaced under warranty. The SCBS increased in hypersensitivity to the point when I didn't know when my car would suddenly jerk and slow down on its own volition. Dealership couldn't replicate the problem. Got rid of it for KBB value right after the transmission change. Got a Honda. I strongly recommend anyone considering buying the CX-5 take it for an extensive test drive around reflective surfaces (e.g., lane dividers, road work signs, reflective paint at a certain coffee drive-thrus). Drive it during the day and at night. These seemed to be the triggers to the SCBS going off, and what was initially annoying became flat out dangerous.
5 out of 5 stars
Great compact SUV
jim clune, 08/05/2015
2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD w/Prod. End 01/16 (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
Am an 80 year old, just retired. Wanted a versitleuseful compact 4wd for Northern MI bad weather. This car reminds me of the fun driving sports cars I Owned when younger and dumber. Have owned for 4 months and 3700 miles. Average in town mileage24 mpg, highway 29-32 mpg including 1700 mile trip to upstate NY. Bought all the tech available to compensate for age loss of reaction times. … Radar cruise is astounding, choose your distance and car unobtrusively maintains it. Great for freewaydriving. Handling and braking superior to every competitor in this class Highly recommend to other seniors whowould like great handling and safety!!
2016 Mazda CX-5 video
[ROCK MUSIC PLAYING] ALISTAIR WEAVER: This is Alistair Weaver for Edmunds with Mazda's compact crossover, the CX5. It's a rival to the Honda CRV, the Ford Escape, and Toyota's RAV4. Now, in common with just about every modern Mazda, the designer's gone a bit crazy. Everywhere you look there's a new line, a new swoop, a new slash, but hey, at least they're trying. Take a look down this side for example. That's one line there. This is another line here. When you compare it with some of the more conservative opposition, I think it's got a bit of breed, a bit of flare, it's got a bit about it. And it has a choice of two different engines. A two liter four with 155 horsepower or 2.5 liter with 184. We reckon it's worth paying the extra for the bigger engine. To be honest the two liter is a bit slow. Follow me inside. For 2016 Mazda has given the CX5 interior a bit of a makeover. Their touch screen infotainment system has grown in size and there are a few improvements to the trim quality. We'll take you'll like this silver effect fascia finish. It's not real aluminum, but it is nicely done. Standard on the two liter car is a six speed manual gearbox, but these 2.5 liter has a 6 speed auto. And It's a proper automatic, not the CVT transmission you find in a Honda CRV. This overall has a sporty vibe that's very much in keeping with the car's exterior. In the back here the CX5 is class competitive within enough space for most people. Although, the middle passenger, well, they get a bit of a bum steer. As you'd expect, the CX5 is priced to compete with its key competitors and it marginally undercuts Honda's CRV. It is a distinctive, appealing, and highly accomplished alternative, which is why it's Edmunds A rated.
2016 Mazda CX-5 Walkaround Review
With its spacious, functional interior, impressive fuel economy and top safety scores, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 is a top pick among small crossovers. The CX-5's fun-to-drive demeanor is just a welcome bonus.
2016 CX-5 Highlights
|Combined MPG||29 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$130/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger3 / 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