Small SUVs tend to be boring boxes, short on driving enjoyment or verve. But for enthusiast drivers looking for the versatility of a small SUV in a sporty-handling package, the CX-5 may be just what they're seeking. Very good fuel economy, agile handling, a roomy interior and a generous array of features put the Mazda CX-5 in the top tier of small SUVs, though a few lapses in refinement may annoy some buyers.
Most CX-5s come with a muscular 184-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine providing quick acceleration and an impressive 25 mpg overall with all-wheel drive. Quick, well-weighted steering and a taut suspension make the CX-5 one of the few small SUVs that can tackle tight curves with poise. A good-sized cabin and versatile cargo space are further pluses.
The CX-5 is somewhat loud inside and the ride's persistent low-level jiggles could potentially turn some people off. And, although well shaped, the deeply contoured front seats aren't ideal for all physiques. The infotainment system might look simple at first glance, but using it isn't particularly intuitive, requiring multiple steps for simple functions.