Quick Summary The 2015 Mazda CX-5 is currently one of Edmunds' highest-rated compact crossovers. Refined suspension tuning, a new infotainment interface and modest styling changes for 2016 give it an even stronger foothold. Its value is combined with excellent fuel economy and noticeably better performance, keeping it among the best offerings in the class.
What Is It? The 2016 Mazda CX-5 is a compact crossover SUV with seating for five. We tested the Touring trim, which slots in between the base Sport and range-topping Grand Touring models. The Sport trim starts at $22,675 and comes with a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive. A more powerful 2.5-liter 184-hp engine, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive can be added for $2,650.
Our front-wheel-drive CX-5 Touring test vehicle came standard with the bigger engine, the automatic transmission and a price tag of $26,095. Along with the drivetrain enhancements, the Touring also adds items like blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert systems, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats and upgraded interior materials and audio. With the optional moonroof and Bose Premium Audio package, along with a few cargo-related items, the as-tested price came to $27,585.
Starting at $29,100, the Grand Touring adds features like 19-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and leather upholstery. Higher-trimmed CX-5s are eligible for options like a navigation system and adaptive LED headlights. Additional advanced safety features can be added to the Grand Touring trim. The entire CX-5 range is priced comparably to its chief competitors.
How Does It Drive? The 2016 Mazda CX-5 is an anomaly among compact SUVs, most of which are narrowly focused on comfort and convenience. The CX-5 certainly satisfies those very important requirements, but it's also satisfying to drive. In Touring trim with the larger 2.5-liter engine, the Mazda can accelerate to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, which is a full second quicker than the average set by direct competitors (7.6 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip). That means it merges onto highways and passes slower traffic more easily. Stopping from 60 mph requires 125 feet, which is typical for this class.
For drivers seeking a hint of performance, that alone may be enough to sway them toward the CX-5. It's definitely not sports-carlike, as the physics of a crossover's elevated ride height limits cornering ability, but it handily outperforms all others in this class. It tracks through turns like a much smaller vehicle and encourages performance-minded drivers to push harder. For the average driver, this translates to more confidence that the CX-5 can avoid unforeseen hazards.
Fortunately, this athleticism doesn't come at the expense of ride quality. The CX-5 does ride slightly more stiffly than other SUVs, but ruts and bumps are shrugged off as capably as its softer-riding rivals. The subtle ride stiffness also quells some of the residual jostling over undulations in the road. All of these traits combine to make the Mazda CX-5 the best-driving compact SUV we've tested.
What Is It Like on the Inside? For 2016, the CX-5 receives the same praise-worthy infotainment system that has been implemented in other Mazda vehicles. It's a standout among competing systems for its ease of use and dial controller that is typically found in premium-branded cars. There's also more sound insulation than before. Road and wind noise are at barely detectable levels.
The interior design is tastefully executed, with just enough style to keep it from being boring. The quality of materials used, though also improved for 2016, is merely average for the class, with some hard plastics standing out from otherwise attractive surfaces.
The front seats provide plenty of head- and legroom for taller adults, but the telescoping steering wheel doesn't extend quite far enough for lanky drivers. The Touring trim's cloth seats are adequately padded for hours of long-distance comfort and aren't stifling in hot climates. The rear seats also offer enough headroom for adults, but they'll likely find the cushions are a little low and lacking in thigh support. Unlike in some rivals, the rear seats neither recline nor slide, but overall, the CX-5 offers more passenger space than many other compact crossovers.
With 34 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, the CX-5 lags behind the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. Folding the seats flat increases that space to 65 cubic feet, and the 40/20/40-split folding seats provide some added passenger and cargo flexibility. Small bins and pockets easily accommodate personal items up front.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Does It Get? The EPA estimates fuel economy for the front-drive CX-5 at 29 mpg combined (26 city/33 highway), which ties with the Honda CR-V for the top spot in the class. Our highway-heavy evaluation loop confirmed these estimates with a 32.6-mpg result, though our overall average of 23.6 mpg may have been affected by dense urban traffic.
Opting for all-wheel drive drops fuel economy to 26 mpg combined. Considering that the weaker and smaller base 2.0-liter engine virtually matches the larger 2.5-liter unit for fuel economy, the lower purchase price may be the only reason to choose the smaller engine.
What Safety Features Are Available? In addition to the typical safety features included in all new vehicles, higher-trimmed 2016 Mazda CX-5s also come with automatic crash notification, a blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic warnings. Optional on these models is a frontal collision warning system with automatic braking at lower speeds and rear parking sensors. The Grand Touring can also be optioned with a lane departure warning system.
What Does It Compete Against? The Honda CR-V represents the only other alternative to receive an Edmunds "A" rating and matches the CX-5 for price and fuel economy. The CR-V beats the Mazda for cargo capacity but can't compete in overall performance.
The same can be said for the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4, both of which received "B" ratings. The RAV4 benefits from Toyota's reputation for reliability and really doesn't put a foot wrong elsewhere, but doesn't stand out, either. The Escape scores points for good performance and the new Sync 3 infotainment system, which is a faster, fully redesigned interface.
Why Should You Consider This Car? It has better driving dynamics than rivals and even if performance isn't a priority, the average driver should appreciate its on-road manners. It's also priced appropriately and can handle the day-to-day family duties of shuttling people and cargo with similar ease to its competitors.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car? If you need to maximize every cubic foot of cargo space, this is one of the few areas where the CX-5 comes up short. The other possible shortcoming may be its busier ride, but we're confident most drivers won't object.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Is the 2016 Mazda CX-5 a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2016 Mazda CX-5 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2016 CX-5 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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How do people like the 2016 Mazda CX-5? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2016 Mazda CX-5 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2016 CX-5 4.4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2016 CX-5.
Review 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.
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Is the 2016 Mazda Cx-5 safe? The 2016 Mazda Cx-5 earned a 4-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, IIHS Small Overlap Front Test Results, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 2.5 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
What options are available on the 2016 Mazda CX-5?
Available Mazda CX-5 2016 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: Grand Touring, Touring, Sport
Exterior Colors: Deep Crystal Blue Mica, Jet Black Mica, Soul Red Crystal Metallic, Snowflake White Pearl Mica, Machine Gray Metallic, Meteor Gray Mica, Sonic Silver Metallic, Eternal Blue Mica, Soul Red Metallic, Crystal White Pearl Mica, Blue Reflex Mica, Crystal White Mica, Liquid Silver Metallic, Liquid Silver, Titanium Flash Mica, Stormy Blue Mica, Sky Blue Mica, Soul Red Mica, Black Mica, Zeal Red Mica
Interior Colors: Black leather, Black leatherette/suede, Black premium cloth, Silk Beige Touring Parchment leatherette/suede, Black cloth, Silk Beige Touring Parchment leather, Sand leather, Sand/Parchment leather, Sand premium cloth, Sand cloth, Sand/Parchment premium cloth, Sand/Parchment cloth
Popular Features: Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Bluetooth, Post-collision safety system, Back-up camera, Blind Spot Monitoring, Power Driver Seat, AWD/4WD, Heated seats, Upgraded Headlights, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-collision safety system, Sunroof/Moonroof, Keyless Entry/Start, Navigation, Leather Seats, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, USB Inputs, Upgraded Stereo, Alarm, Heads up display, Remote Start, Parking sensors, Towing Hitch