The CX-5 provides a competitive and more entertaining small SUV alternative.
Handling is taut and agile, with quick, well weighted steering that makes the Mazda fun to drive.
However, we found the ride to be choppy and road noise pronounced, making it a loud car.
Early versions were powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that returned a good 25 mpg overall in our tests, but it was underpowered.
Look for a later model with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which is much more responsive and returns the same fuel economy.
The smaller engine was eventually phased out.
Happily, the cabin is roomy and versatile.
Touring and higher trims have standard blind spot monitoring, a welcome feature.
If budget permits, we suggest focusing your used-car search on a 2014 or newer model as these did better in the IIHS small overlap crash test.
2016 brought a light freshening that made the car marginally quieter, spiffed up the interior, and brought the Mazda Connect infotainment system, which is frustrating to use.
Automatic emergency braking became available on Touring and Grand Touring models, with forward-collision warning an exclusive option on the top trim.