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2018 Mazda CX-5 KBB Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating 9.4 / 10
This Car - 2018 Mazda CX-5
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Consumer Rating 8.8 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor

Among the vast field of compact-crossover SUVs roaming the freeways, there’s one that offers an exceptional combination of styling, economy and sports-car-like driving dynamics. It’s the 2018 Mazda CX-5, and if you’re shopping this segment it’s an SUV you’ll definitely want to test-drive. From its sleek styling to its handsome interior, the CX-5 feels far more premium than its $25,000 asking price might suggest. There’s a new diesel model coming this year, as well as an advanced gasoline engine with cylinder deactivation, a first for a 4-cylinder car in North America. And of course, there’s the CX-5 generous equipment roster that includes such amenities as a Bose audio system, a power tailgate and a full suite of driver-safety and collision-avoidance systems.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a small SUV that rides and handles like a sporty hatchback (think Mazda3), the 2018 Mazda CX-5 stands above all rivals. Excellent fuel economy from an available diesel engine further separates the CX-5 from the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Ford Escape.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a compact SUV with a big interior and/or the ability to venture off-road, a Subaru Forester is a better choice. Diesel fans can get on a waiting list, or stop by a Chevy dealer and pick up a diesel-powered Equinox right now.

What's New for 2018

Changes for the 2018 Mazda CX-5 include the addition of cylinder deactivation for the 2.5-liter engine and more features added to each trim. The Sport gains blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic detection, while the Touring gets the full i-ACTIVSENSE suite of safety assists (now optional on the Sport).

Driving It Driving Impressions

We’ve always considered the Mazda CX-5 to be one of the most spirited and enjoyable-driving compact-crossover SUVs money can buy. While not the quickest or most powerful in its class, the CX-5 has enough muscle to make it feel swift when accelerating from a stop or merging with fast-moving traffic. The CX-5’s beauty lies in its agility and nimbleness. If you’re the type of driver who prefers twisting back roads to vast expanses of freeway, the CX-5 is the SUV you’ll want. Feedback from the taut steering never feels too heavy or artificial, and the CX-5’s Sport mode helps deliver better response from the engine. The ride is firm, but not harsh, something to keep in mind if you prefer the softer ride of the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. Updates last year helped the suspension better absorb road imperfections without diminishing ride quality or comfort, and Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control is standard on every model.

Favorite Features

Active at speeds up to 19 mph, Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support can reduce or altogether prevent the damage incurred from a front-end collision. The system senses danger ahead and, if the driver fails to act, automatically applies the brakes. Best of all, it is standard on every 2018 CX-5.

Using sensors and a windshield-mounted camera to read the painted lane lines, this system helps alert the driver when the car is drifting from its lane. A low-pitched audible warning alerts the driver and if no action is taken, the system will gently pull the car back into its lane.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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