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2015 Mazda CX-5 Review

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2015 Mazda CX-5 Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 8.2

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 marks the third model year for this compact SUV. Up against veteran competitors like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, it offers Mazda's Skyactiv technologies, which promise to combine fuel efficiency and performance. In the case of the CX-5, it succeeds and adds solid value and advanced safety features. In keeping with Mazda's sporty image, the Mazda CX-5 is actually fun to drive, and offers a manual transmission on the base model. After Mazda added a new and more powerful 2.5-liter 4-cylinder to the lineup last year, this year it carries over with few changes. Add it up, and the 2015 Mazda CX-5's combination of sporty style, fun-to-drive dynamics, and very good fuel economy make it a strong choice for those who don't want to see themselves coming and going.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you demand that your 5-passenger compact SUV looks great, gets good fuel economy and delivers good value, then you should take the 2015 Mazda CX-5 for a test drive. Its fun to drive nature seals the deal.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the bigger engine gives the Mazda CX-5 adequate power, it should be standard across all trims, instead of a step-up. The manual transmission is a rare treat, but it's only available in base model front-wheel-drive (FWD) versions.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.2
  • 8.2
  • 6.9
  • 9.1
  • 8.2
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#1

out of 8

Fuel Economy

#7

out of 8

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.8 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2015 Mazda CX-5 Low/wide front photo What's New for 2015

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 is mostly carryover from last year. The only notable change is the addition of Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry as standard equipment on Touring and Grand Touring trims.

Driving the CX-5
2015 Mazda CX-5 Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions With the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, the 2015 Mazda CX-5 offers up barely adequate performance, hardly what Mazda's "Zoom-Zoom" tagline suggests. Step up to the Touring or Grand Touring models though, and...

... you'll get the more powerful 2.5-liter Skyactiv engine. While it doesn't outperform competitors like the Kia Sportage turbo or Subaru Forester turbo, it's at least in line with competitors like the Honda CR-V, with good acceleration. If you like manual transmissions, you're in luck, as the Mazda CX-5 is one of the few SUVs available with one. We love driving the slick-shifting 6-speed manual, but it comes at a price: You can only get it in front-wheel-drive versions of the base Sport model, meaning you sacrifice a lot of the CX-5's creature comforts. On the road, the CX-5's handling impresses, with sharp reflexes and an ability to carve corners that's rare in the compact-SUV market.

SMART CITY BRAKE SUPPORT
It's rare to see an automatic braking system available in such an inexpensive vehicle, especially a mainstream compact SUV. At speeds of 3 to 19 mph – think heavy traffic, where there's a good chance drivers are distracted – the system automatically applies the brakes if its laser sensor detects an imminent collision.

SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY
Goofy marketing names are usually just that, but Skyactiv really does deliver on its promise of performance without sacrificing fuel economy. Skyactiv emphasizes a combination of factors, such as aerodynamics and lightweight materials, in addition to advanced engine technology.

2015 Mazda CX-5 Details
2015 Mazda CX-5 Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 holds up to five passengers, although like most compact SUVs, the 2nd-row bench gets cramped with three adults. There's good headroom and legroom in the front and rear seats, which are covered in cloth in Sport and Touring trims, or leather in the top-line Grand Touring trim. The driver's controls are all easy to find and use, but the Mazda CX-5 needs more storage nooks and crannies for small items like phones and wallets. The 34.1-cubic-foot cargo area is plenty big for groceries or suitcases, and the center section of the second row folds independently from the outboard positions to accommodate long objects without sacrificing the outboard seating positions, a handy touch.

Exterior
2015 Mazda CX-5 photo

The Mazda CX-5 was the first to embody the automaker's "Kodo – Soul of Motion" styling philosophy. The upshot of the fancy language is a compact SUV with elegant and muscular curves, with a slightly forward stance from the side that gives it an athletic appearance. The rear roof spoiler and dual exhausts are standard, adding to the sporty look. The base Mazda CX-5 comes with 17-inch wheels, while the Grand Touring trim gets 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. If you need more room than the cargo area can provide, an optional roof rack adds functionality.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All three 2015 Mazda CX-5 trims – Sport, Touring, and the range-topping Grand Touring – get stability and traction control, antilock brakes, and front, side, and side-curtain airbags as standard equipment. The Sport version gets push-button start, a 4-speaker audio system with USB input, cruise control, and the base 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Touring and Grand Touring trims add the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, along with blind-spot monitoring, Bluetooth, a better audio system with HD Radio, and a 5.8-inch color display with a backup camera. Grand Touring models add leather, a 9-speaker Bose audio system, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic windshield wipers, and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Keyless entry is now standard on Touring and Grand Touring trims.

Optional Equipment

All 2015 Mazda CX-5 trims are available with all-wheel drive (AWD) to enhance traction, with the exception of the manual-transmission Sport model. Otherwise, packages and options vary according to trim. If you order a Sport trim with an automatic transmission, you can add a Bluetooth package that includes HD and Pandora radio, along with a 5.8-inch color screen. Touring and Grand Touring trims offer the Smart City Brake Support collision avoidance system, as well as navigation, high-intensity discharge headlights, and adaptive front lighting. Front and rear parking sensors, fog lights, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a trailer hitch are also available.

Under the Hood
2015 Mazda CX-5 Engine photo

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 offers two engine choices. The first, available only on base-model Sport trims, is a 2.0-liter 155-horsepower 4-cylinder that comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission. A 6-speed manual is available on FWD Sport models. If you move up to the Touring or Grand Touring, you get a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, which produces a more competitive 185 horsepower and is available only with a 6-speed automatic. All trim levels are available with either front- or all-wheel drive, and both engines use Mazda's Skyactiv technology to get the most out of each drop of gasoline. However, unlike many advanced engines, the CX-5 runs on the less-expensive 87-octane "regular" gasoline. The CX-5 can even pull a small trailer, thanks to its 2,000-pound towing capacity.

2.0-liter inline-4
155 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
150 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 mpg (manual), 26/32 mpg (automatic, FWD), 25/31 mpg (automatic, AWD)

2.5-liter inline-4
184 horsepower @5,700 rpm
185 lb-ft of torque @ 3,250
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/32 mpg (FWD), 24/30 mpg (AWD)

Prices for the 2015 Mazda CX-5 rose a modest amount compared to last year, increasing $150 across the board, regardless of trim or drive configuration. The base CX-5 Sport with its manual transmission costs $21,545. Add the automatic, and that goes up to $22,945. The mid-level Touring models start at $24,965, while the top-line Grand Touring costs $27,970. All-wheel drive adds $1,250. Price-wise, the Mazda CX-5 is mid-pack when it comes to price. It's undercut by competitors like the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, but right in line with the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. But the price doesn't reflect the intangibles that come with the car, such as the Mazda CX-5's fun-to-drive nature. Before you buy, be sure to check out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price and see what others in your area are paying for the Mazda CX-5. Residual value for Mazda's compact crossover SUV is expected to be good, although not quite as good as the CR-V, Tucson, or the Toyota RAV4.

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2015 Mazda CX-5 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 117 Ratings for the 2013 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Fantastic vehicle.

By on Monday, September 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Driveability"

Cons: "Back up camera screen is a little small."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"To put this in perspective, I'm a 60 year old male who cut his teeth on British cars and still drives a Miata, summers only. Bought my wife a new a new '13 Accord V6 almost two years ago. Fastest production 0-60 fwd car you could by and drives amazing. With that said, I was looking to replace my '03 Kia Sorrento EX 4wd that had been a great little tank, dog and stuff hauler. I really thought I'd replace it with a CRV. I don't drive the Accord often, and as I'm not techy find the Bluetooth confusing to remember. So figured the CRV would be the same layout making it easier to remember. All the reviews I read of the CX5 and CRV all pretty much gave a slight nod to the Mazda, and I figured I could give up the benefits of the Mazda to get the same OS of the Hondas. Until I drove them both. The Honda, though I'm sure is very high quality, is boring as mud to drive. When little old ladies decide to drive small SUV's, this will be their choice. I could detect the difference in the Mazda before I even got out of the parking lot. The difference that I thought would be slight is staggering in how they drive, and the cons I was prepared for never materialized. Engine and road noise in the Mazda are less, and handling isn't even in the same ballpark. To clarify, I bought a white/sand Grand Touring AWD w/ Tech. pkg., and I did purchase the cargo matt (carpeted) which dresses it up a bit, but thought would help with road noise issues I read about. Don't know if that was the cure, but it's quieter than the CRV EX-L. Maybe it's in part the 19" rims, but I think of it more as a sport sedan with lots of storage. I'm 6' tall and very comfortable behind the wheel, and can get in the back seat and not have my head or knees touch anything. Four six footers fit fine. Oddly compared to other comments I find all the tech stuff very intuitive and easy to set up. Wife and I have Androids and they pared up with no issues. To me the Bose is awesome. Even driving in town at a reasonable level drowns out any engine or outside noise. I can't comment on reliability as I've only had the car a week. I'm averaging 25 mpg. For the life of me I can't recognize any higher level of refinement in the CRV over the CX5, although I do think the black interior looks rather cheap while the sand looks straight out of a BMW. This car puts a smile on my face when I drive it and the CRV made me yawn."

30 people out of 44 found this review helpful

First Impression - Excellent!

By on Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Styling, Quality Materials, Handling, Value"

Cons: "Noisy on Cold Starts."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"2015 Grand Touring with the Technology Package. We've only had the CX-5 for a month or two. We love it! It has looks up there with the Luxury brands. It handles like a dream. The fit and finish is excellent. We've driven it on one long trip (500+ miles each way) and found it very comfortable and roomy. It's noisy for the first 20-30 seconds on cold start, due to the exhaust recirculation feature that i guess lowers emissions (pumps the fuel-rich exhaust back into the engine for a re-burn, or something like that). Otherwise it is very quiet! We had a 2008 CR-V which we have since given to our college age daughter. This car is way better looking, inside and out, with a much more updated and richly appointed interior. It also gets better mileage. If it's as reliable as the CR-V, Mazda will have a real winner on their hands!"

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Good car with navigation problem

By on Monday, September 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fuel efficient, great design, smooth, BSM!!!"

Cons: "not enough power, tech. problems (GPS sucks)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I bought this car in July and I love it. It's very smooth and fuel efficient. However, I noticed that my navigation does not work well. The GPS loses signal every 5 seconds, and keeps rerouting itself. Last time I took a trip to Oregon, in the middle of the road, it detected me in the middle of the ocean. I took it in to the shop to fix it and they said there's a clitch in 2015 Mazda CX5 navigations. Not 2014 but only in 2015 and they are trying to find a solution to fix it. Once they find a solution, only then they will be able to fix my navigation! What the heck? They shouldn't sold me this car in the first place then! This car is perfect for me if it wasn't for this problem and everytime I drive it, I got frustrated by the navigation which impacted my driving experience of this car. This tech-package costed me extra $1500 too. I would advise to check the navigation while test-driving before buying this car."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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