The first-generation Mazda CX-5 came onto the scene quietly impressing with a blend of impressive driving dynamics and stylish good looks. The newly introduced second-generation model turns things up a notch.
For its second generation, Mazda left no stone unturned when re-engineering the CX-5. Everything from the engine, chassis, suspension, and design was done with an incredible attention to detail that mimics higher-end brands.
The 2018 model year brought slight changes to equipment levels for the base model and introduced an innovative cylinder deactivation technology to improve fuel economy. This stylish crossover also won the 2017 Reader’s Choice Utility Vehicle of the Year for AutoGuide.com. Make sure to take a look at our full on review of this crossover, but here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons of the CX-5.
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2018 Mazda CX-5 Pros and Cons
Stylish Looks: Mazda’s entire lineup is very stylish and the new CX-5 is easily one of the best-looking crossovers in its class. With a higher-end look, smart details, and a design that will age gracefully, it stands out by ditching the generic or overstyled designs that plague the compact crossover segment.
Impressive Standard Features: For 2018, even the base CX-5 Sport is equipped with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Also included are LED daytime running lights and headlights. All this for $25,125, which is pretty much in line with the base prices of most of its competitors.
Unmatched Driving Dynamics: This crossover is truly the sports car of the compact crossover crowd and has great steering and handling that outshines its competitors. “The CX-5 stays impressively flat through corners for a compact SUV,” AutoGuide.com’s Jonathan Yarkony wrote in his review. “The CX-5 lives up to Mazda’s reputation as a driver’s car, delivering the best overall driving experience in the segment, carefully balancing fun character and a comfortable ride.”
Next-Level Interior: Even without that swanky white leather interior option, the interior for a base CX-5 puts some more expensive vehicles to shame. The mid-level Touring trim models come with a unique leather and suede seat design that is quite attractive, but the general layout and quality of materials elevate it beyond what is expected in this class of vehicle. Function also doesn’t take a back seat to form. The ergonomics are good and the essential switchgear and controls are very user-friendly.
Less Cargo Capacity: The 2018 Mazda CX-5 falls behind in the cargo capacity department by a fair amount when compared to several of its competitors with 30.9 cubic feet behind the second row. There is a useful 59.6 cu-ft of space when the 40/20/40 split folding second row is folded, but in a field of vehicle options where more than 70 cu-ft of space is possible, you will end up wishing the CX-5 had more room.
Lack of Engine Choices: There is a sole engine choice for all three trim levels in the CX-5. The 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G inline-four with 185 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque did duty in the last generation but came back extensively polished for this new model. For the 2018 model year, a further revision to the engine added cylinder-deactivation technology. The promise of the long talked about diesel CX-5 is also interesting, except it appears that it won’t be available for quite some time.
Above Average Ownership Costs: Despite Mazda having grown in market share during the past few years, the North American dealer network is still pretty small compared to Honda, Toyota, and Jeep, which are more established automakers. The fewer amount of dealers can make after-sales maintenance and service costs pricier than the industry average due to plain economics: less supply or availability of spare parts/materials automatically drives up prices and that cost ends up being transferred to the customer.
Less Than Ideal Infotainment System: A 7.0-inch infotainment screen sitting on the dash with an attractive floating tablet setup comes standard on every CX-5. It is straightforward and intuitive enough for anyone to master quickly, although it can look a bit childish. We think this system would be a more complete package if it had Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. Mazda has promised Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility later in the year. Let’s hope they make good on their promise.
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