2021 Mazda CX-5 overview: Enjoyable on the forefront

Although you will be having enjoyable behind the wheel, the CX-5’s styling ensures you stay beneath the radar.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Typically, making a change means shedding sight of what you used to carry pricey. Fortunately, that is not the case for the 2021 Mazda CX-5. Whereas the Japanese automaker has injected its newest autos with inexpensive doses of luxury-level trimmings, the corporate hasn’t overlooked the fun-to-drive nature that introduced folks into its showrooms in years previous. If something, it solely makes this compact crossover extra compelling.

LikeFun to driveProperly fancy interiorAffordable

Do not LikeLight on cargo spaceMiddling MPGsLack of touchscreen is not for everybody

Vogue ahead

Devoid of harsh angles and eye-grabbing garishness, I recognize the CX-5’s clear physique strains, with solely a touch of aggression on the hood giving strategy to subdued curves on the perimeters. It is just a little nameless, certain, however I feel it is fascinating within the compact crossover phase; rivals just like the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue are content material to go exhausting within the paint with distinctive styling however a common glossing-over of driving dynamics, whereas Mazda’s taking the alternative strategy.

The very best components of the CX-5’s design are inside. This cabin is one in every of my favorites within the phase; identical to the outside, Mazda chooses to prioritize cleanliness over whiz-bang, look-at-me styling. Mix that with an entire lot of impressively gentle leather-based on my Signature-trim tester, and you’ve got an inside that borders on bona-fide luxurious — and for lower than the typical new-car transaction value. The entrance seats are spacious and supportive with out being tight, and whereas the rear seats could also be just a little cramped for people over 6 toes tall, there’s nonetheless a good quantity of area again there.

Storage is a little bit of a blended bag, although. The CX-5’s cabin itself has a enough variety of locations to retailer one’s junk, whether or not it is the phone-or-mask-sized tray beneath the local weather controls or the deep middle armrest cubby with its detachable shelf. Nonetheless, cargo space suffers in comparison with the competitors; at 30.9 cubic toes behind the second-row seats, the CX-5 falls far behind the Honda CR-V (about 38 cubic toes), Toyota RAV4 (about 37) and Nissan Rogue (about 36). You will should both get artistic along with your journey packing or determine which youngster will get left at dwelling.

Rewarding on the highway

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 comes with one in every of two engines. Decrease trims get a 2.5-liter, naturally aspirated I4 that produces 187 horsepower, however the top-tier Signature instance earlier than me picks up some main hustle with a 2.5-liter turbocharged I4 that bumps output to a meaty 250 hp and 320 pound-feet of torque. (These numbers are for premium gas; utilizing a budget stuff drops these specs to 227 and 310, respectively.) Whether or not I am utilizing the torque to swiftly transfer between stoplights round city or wringing the four-pot out at greater revs to move vehicles on the freeway, at no level am I left wanting for extra driving force. Each engines use a six-speed automated that may really feel just a little behind the instances on gear rely, however in observe it is a smooth-shifting transmission that can by no means command consideration.

Throwing some enjoyable traits right into a mass-market car’s driving dynamics typically requires a trade-off in day by day livability, however not right here. The 2021 CX-5’s static dampers do a formidable balancing act, absorbing a majority of gross roads and returning little in the best way of jostling or uncomfortable motion. But, on the similar time, coming into a nook quicker than my passengers would possibly want does not lead to a floaty or discombobulated feeling. The steering is direct however not so tight that small actions really feel like greater ones, and each pedals are lifeless easy to modulate for smoothness. Like its styling, I feel the best way the CX-5 drives will enchantment to a broad swath of the shopping for public.

Oh, don’t be concerned, there is a draw back tucked away in right here. Sadly, it is gas financial system. With all-wheel drive and the peppier engine choice, the 2021 CX-5 is EPA-rated at simply 22 miles per gallon metropolis and 27 mpg freeway. I used to be in a position to greatest these figures by a pair, thoughts you, however the feds’ estimates are bleak within the face of Mazda’s rivals. For context, a equally outfitted Honda CR-V is rated at 27 mpg metropolis and 32 mpg freeway, with the RAV4 pulling forward of the Honda by 1 mpg freeway. Then once more, that is the value you pay for having 310 lb-ft of torque, which the opposite vehicles talked about right here undoubtedly don’t.

The CX-5’s inside provides just a few “premium” automakers a run for his or her cash.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow
Slick customary tech

Whereas a lot of Mazda’s rivals are content material to offer you just a little child display screen except you throw down more cash for the next trim or an choices bundle, the 2021 CX-5 provides each single purchaser a 10.3-inch infotainment show mounted excessive on the dashboard, which runs the sleekest, latest model of the Mazda Join software program. Like the remainder of the inside, this display screen seems to be fairly darn fancy, with a regular dark-mode motif that’s mild on distracting eye sweet. It is responsive, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto at the moment are each customary, however consumers used to touchscreens could not get pleasure from the truth that the only real strategies of manipulation are a rotary dial on the middle console and voice instructions by means of a steering wheel button. When it comes time to cost, there are two USB ports for every row, though the bottom CX-5 Sport solely makes do with plugs up entrance.

That is not the one display screen tucked away within the CX-5, although. Grand Touring and better trims additionally obtain a 7-inch LCD within the gauge cluster that includes the speedometer and may present a bit of additional data on both facet; it is just a little mild on options, but it surely will get the job achieved with out overwhelming the driving force. There’s additionally a head-up show on Grand Touring Reserve and Signature variants, which tasks pertinent data on the windshield moderately than the dinky pop-up plastic that Mazda used to depend on.

Like most each different automaker, Mazda’s thrown in a variety of energetic and passive security programs no matter trim. Each 2021 CX-5 will get automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise management, lane-keeping help and blind-spot monitoring. The tip-top Signature mannequin provides to that with a surround-view monitor, site visitors signal recognition and reverse automated emergency braking.

Along with the same old pages for audio and navigation, you may observe your gas financial system… though given its effectivity, maybe you do not wish to do this.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow
All the way down to brass tacks

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 is inexpensive, with the Sport FWD mannequin beginning at $26,370, together with $1,100 for vacation spot. AWD is a $1,400 choice for any trim besides Grand Touring Reserve and Signature, the place it is customary. Pricing tops out with my tester’s Signature trim, which is able to set you again $38,505 — a good chunk of change, sure, however nonetheless throughout the realm of affordability.

That places the CX-5 in step with the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue, all of that are viable rivals. Nonetheless, the CX-5’s largest rivals are fairly milquetoast, providing little in the best way of an fascinating drive. The Mazda is perhaps just a little low on cargo area in comparison with the remainder, however the tradeoff is a compact crossover that is engineered with greater than rote transportation in thoughts.

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