In a sea of worthy compact crossovers and SUVs, the 2020 Mazda CX-5 stands out for its lively handling, good looks, classy interior, good fuel economy and long list of standard features. It’s easy to see why it’s Mazda’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. The CX-5 is definitely worth checking out if you’re shopping for a small crossover.
Base Price: $37,055
As Tested: $38,925
Mileage: 22 mpg city/27 mpg highway/24 mpg combined
The CX-5 got a makeover for the 2017 model year. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert became standard for 2018. For 2019, some major updates included the addition of a turbocharged engine and the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims. For 2020, more driver assistance technologies become standard and the two upper trims get a new eight-inch touchscreen.
The five-passenger 2020 CX-5 comes in five trims: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature. Starting prices range from $25,090 to $37,155. These prices a little higher than average for the class; however, the CX-5 offers good value for its features and amenities.
Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available for $1,400 on the Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims. AWD is standard on the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims.
The CX-5 is one of the best performers in the class. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. My tester has the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that cranks out 227 horses and 310 pound-feet with regular gasoline. With premium gas, horsepower increases to 250. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.
With both engines, the CX-5 boasts spirited handling. It’s quick off the line and easily shoots up to speed for merging and passing on the freeway. Steering is precise and responsive, and the CX-5 stays planted when cornering. My tester is really fun on curvy backroads. The ride is composed even over bumps and on rougher roads. Visibility is good all the way around. If you want a small crossover that’s fun and engaging to drive, the CX-5 delivers!
Fuel economy is good for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 22 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with a combined rating of 24. I got 24 during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The cabin is modern and posh, especially in the upper trims. It’s easy to think that you’re getting into a high-end vehicle. Materials look and feel nice. Seats are supportive and comfortable. Front row passengers enjoy lots of leg- and headroom, and two adults will be comfortable in the second row.
Standard features include push-button start, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, and the Mazda Connect infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen, four speaker audio system, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and two USB ports.
Standard driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and rear cross traffic alert.
Available features include synthetic leather upholstery with suede inserts, genuine leather-trimmed seats, power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-inch touch screen, navigation, six-speaker audio system, 10-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, two additional USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a moonroof.
Available driver assistance features include head-up display, traffic sign recognition, a surround-view parking camera system, and front and rear parking sensors.
The infotainment system is user-friendly and responds quickly to commands. The screen is located on top of the dash, and there’s a rotary dial between the front seats.
The CX-5 has less cargo space than some rivals with 30.9 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 59.6 cubes with the rear seats folded. The rear seats split-fold 40/20/40. A power liftgate is available. Several bins, pockets and cubbies in the cabin are handy for stashing smaller items.
One of the best performers in the class
Good fuel economy
Lots of standard and available features and tech
Standard or available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay depending on trim
Not as much cargo room as many rivals
Costs more than other small crossovers
My tester starts at $37,055. Machine Gray paint is $300. The rear bumper guard is $125. The roof rack and side rails are $400.
The 2020 CX-5 sure stands out in the competitive compact crossover class for its attractive looks, nimble performance, upscale cabin, and all of the standard and available features and tech. Don’t buy a small crossover without considering the CX-5.