With the second generation CX-5, Mazda retained most of the sporty handling that made the first-generation enjoyable, but this SUV is much more mature now with vastly improved ride comfort, noise isolation, and interior quality. It's one of the more desirable models in the compact SUV class. Unlike purely rational choices like the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester, there’s a bit of joie de vivre with the CX-5.
The standard powertrain is a 187-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. This makes for a docile, responsive, and easy-to-drive combination. Due to the added weight that achieved a quieter cabin, fuel economy is down by one to a still competitive 24 mpg overall. That's a tradeoff we embrace. A punchier turbo engine comes on top trims.
From the first few miles, it's abundantly clear that Mazda has worked wonders smoothing out the car's ride, to the point it’s now one of the most comfortable in its segment. It's supple and controlled, shrugging off bumps easily. And yet, point the CX-5 into a turn and it willingly follows the chosen path. Handling is athletic, with responsive steering and an eagerness to attack corners. The lower profile 19-inch tires degrade the ride only slightly.