2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 S Carbon Edition Review: Quick Take

Lee Bailie
by Lee Bailie


Engine: 2.5L I4
Output: 187 hp, 186 lb-ft
Transmission: 6AT, 4WD
US fuel economy (MPG): 26 Combined
CAN fuel economy (L/100KM): 9.3 Combined
As-Tested Price (USD): $31,775 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (CAD): $40,418 (inc. dest.)

Recently, we held a massive 2022 AutoGuide Compact SUV Comparison test presented by NRS Brakes. We are now going to take a closer look at one of the stronger finishers, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 S Carbon Edition.

Age is a strange thing. Despite being roughly as old as the outgoing Honda CR-V, the second gen Mazda CX-5 still looks and feels contemporary. Whereas the Honda is in desperate need of an overhaul, the Mazda still seems fresh, which is due in no small part to the slew of updates it has received for 2022.

Among the changes are a redesigned grille, new LED headlights and taillights, new aluminum alloy wheels, updated seats and Mazda intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive), a new drive select switch that debuts with the ’22 CX-5.

2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 S Carbon Edition

For our test, Mazda loaned us a 2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 S Carbon Edition (Kuro Edition in Canada). It slots in the middle of the CX-5 range. This model isn’t the most loaded but comes with a good number of standard features, including exclusive Polymetal Gray Metallic paint, dual exhaust outlets, 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, leather seating, 10.25-inch digital multimedia display, and more.

SEE ALSO: Mazda CX-5 vs Nissan Rogue Comparison: Heart and Head

Generally, the CX-5 proved to be a strong all-around performer in our compact SUV comparison test. It finished just off the podium in our test. It scored near the top of our test in handling, braking, interior and exterior styling, material quality and pricing. In fact, it achieved a perfect score in the latter.

Still a Looker After All these Years

With respect to design, the CX-5 remains one of the most attractive entries in the segment. Its slippery silhouette, bold grille and sophisticated LED headlight and taillight designs exude a strong premium character. In addition, its sheet metal, with its many interesting shapes and surfacing details gives the CX-5 a commanding presence from all angles. The Carbon Edition’s black trim, wheels, and Polymetal Gray Metallic finish make for a striking contrast that enhances the car’s visual appeal.

The air of sophistication continues in the cabin, where the CX-5’s interior design and its fine trim materials, which ranked first in our test, really stand out. The look and feel of these surfaces are simply the best in the category and Mazda designers should feel proud of their work here, indeed. The CX-5 also scored well in front seat comfort with good forward visibility.

A Bit Tight Inside

So where does the CX-5 come up short?

The biggest hit comes in the included features section, where it ranks ahead of only the RAV4. As mentioned, the Carbon Edition isn’t a bare-bones model, but some features are noticeably absent such as an around-view camera, ventilated front seats and panoramic sunroof.

SEE ALSO: Mazda CX-3 vs CX-5 Comparison

Still a Fun Little SUV

On the road, the CX-5 is a spritely performer around town, with a firm – but not punishing – ride and well-balanced handling that makes it a fun car to zoom around in.

The Carbon Edition is fitted with the non-turbo 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (187 hp / 186 lb-ft.) that’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. Acceleration from rest is impressive, and while the engine doesn’t pull as strongly as the 2.5 turbo at higher speeds, it’s more than adequate for daily driving tasks. Also on the plus side, the CX-5’s steering feels responsive and cabin noise isn’t excessive.

Because the 2.5 here is the non-turbo, the CX-5 didn’t rate as highly as more powerful entries, such as the Tiguan, Bronco Sport and its own CX-50 sibling. But its braking and handling were among the best in our comparison.

Verdict: 2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 S Carbon Edition

Overall, the CX-5 is one of the strongest all-around performers in the compact SUV segment. It does almost everything well. And while it’s not the most powerful, nor does it have the most standard equipment, and is a bit short on cargo space, it makes up for its shortcomings with attractive styling, a premium cabin, a fun-to-drive character and the lowest starting MSRP in our test.

The CX-5 may have just missed the podium in our comparison, but its many virtues, combined with constant improvements from Mazda, should keep it near the top of most shopping lists in the segment.


What is special about the Mazda Carbon Edition?

The Mazda CX-5 Carbon Edition features black trim, black wheels, and exclusive Polymetal Gray Metallic exterior paint. 

Does the Mazda CX-5 carbon edition have a sunroof?

Yes, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 S Carbon Edition includes a standard sunroof. 

Does CX-5 Carbon Edition have leather seats?

Yes, it includes standard leather seats that can even be had in a nice shade of red. 

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Lee Bailie
Lee Bailie

With more than 20 years of industry experience, which includes automotive retail, motorsports PR, and writing and editing for various automotive publications, Lee is an AutoGuide freelancer, and car guy to the core. For nearly a decade and a half, he has married his two consuming passions together – journalism and the automotive industry. Whether it’s providing coverage on debuts from an auto show floor, writing road test reviews, or previewing a new model coming soon, Lee is eager to share his passion for the automotive industry with his readers. He is a long-standing member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and won a feature writing award in 2018.

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Join the conversation
  • Jeff W. Jeff W. on Dec 03, 2022

    I have a 2021 Carbon with the turbo engine. List then was $33,400. There was nothing even close in value then. Auto climate control, Bose, leather seats, moonroof, 250 horsepower, etc. They've since gone way up in price and you have to pay high 30s to get the turbo version. It's a very good vehicle, so far completely reliable, and lots of fun to drive. And it's pretty quick. The interior quality is almost at Audi levels, maybe even right there. Altogether, a very good car (but the Forester is probably more practical).

  • Jorge from Puerto Rico Jorge from Puerto Rico on Dec 28, 2022

    I have a 2021 Turbo Carbon Edition, I can say it's the best car I had so far. Fast, reliable and comfortable. Hell of a car, love it in the highway...!!!