Review: Mazda CX-5 (2012 – 2016)


Economical and efficient. Comfortable ride. Well equipped as standard. Practical and spacious yet compact.

2WD diesels on 17-inch wheels don't handle as well as the petrol model. Cabin is drab compared to the exterior

Mazda CX-5 (2012 – 2016): At A Glance

It seems that every car maker is cashing in on the success of crossover models, but Mazda’s effort, the CX-5, isn’t just an also-ran. It manages to deliver everything that’s good about owning a full-sized SUV but in a package that’s well-styled, comfortable, easy to live with and cheap to run. It’s reasonably priced, too and so makes a good buy for those who want a sensible all-rounder.

Part of the appeal of the CX-5 is its look. It’s tall, bulky and purposefully styled, with a cabin that gives the feel of a proper off-roader.

The driving position is excellent, offering long range comfort and a commanding view of the road. However, despite its SUV pretentions it’s not much bigger than an everyday family hatchback. It’s more practical, though – the high up cabin means getting in and out is effortless plus there’s space for five and a cavernous boot.

As is the norm for crossover vehicles, both two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive variants are offered and there’s a choice of 2.0-litre petrol or 2.2-litre diesel - the latter of which is available with two power outputs.

Chances are that most will go for the lower-powered 150PS diesel engine – official economy is 61.4mpg and emissions are 119g/km in two-wheel drive form, making it the cleanest engine in the range. It’s also smooth and it offers useful everyday performance.

Standard equipment is impressive. Even entry level models get cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth. Moving up to higher equipment grades gets you more luxuries, such as leather upholstery, built-in satellite navigation and xenon headlights. All models get active safety gear, including collision mitigating braking. 

Mazda CX-5 2012 range Road Test and Video

Mazda CX-5 2015 facelift 2.2 SE-L Nav auto Road Test

What does a Mazda CX-5 (2012 – 2016) cost?

List Price from £26,400
Buy new from £22,760
Contract hire from £241.20 per month

Mazda CX-5 (2012 – 2016): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4555 mm
Width 1840 mm
Height 1710 mm
Wheelbase 2700 mm

Full specifications

Thanks to its SUV styling the CX-5 has a high up driving position that provides a commanding view of the road ahead. The cabin is spacious with room for five.

Rear seat passengers get ample leg and headroom and the boot is big enough to swallow plenty of luggage or shopping. Its 503 litre capacity can be expanded 1620 litres by folding the rear seats – an easy task thanks to quick release levers in the boot.

The boot has a clever tonneau cover which pulls out and clips into the rear window frame. It means there’s no bulky parcel shelf to move in and out of the car when bulky items need carrying and because it clips into the tailgate it doesn’t need to be manually retracted every time it’s needed. It’s a nice touch that adds to the already impressive practicality.

While the cabin might be spacious and practical it’s also one of the few areas in which the CX-5 can be criticised – it’s well screwed together and feels durable, but it’s a little on the drab side and some of the interior plastics just don’t seem quite up to the standard of others. That said, for the most part it’s impressively finished.

Generally speaking it’s a refined cabin, too. There’s a subtle, unobtrusive but noticeable grumble from the engine, but aside from that it’s a serene place to be most of the time. Only at motorway speeds does wind and road noise become apparent and even then it’s hardly noticeable.

All models are well equipped as standard, with cruise control, Bluetooth, automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control and an infotainment screen. This is controlled by a dial mounted near the handbrake – those familiar with BMW’s iDrive system will recognise it, and it’s fairly easy to use when on the go.

Standard equipment:

SE-L models come with cruise control, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, push button start, front and rear electric windows, remote central locking, daytime running lights, dusk-sensing lights, front and rear parking sensors, front fog lights, halogen headlights, power folding, heated door mirrors with integrated indicator light, rain-sensing front wipers, 40:20:40 folding rear seats, Bluetooth, touch-screen infotainment, USB/Aux-in audio system, auto-dimming rear view mirror, steering wheel audio controls.

SE-L Lux adds Power sun roof, power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery.

Sport adds Keyless entry, bi-xenon headlights, reversing camera, BOSE audio system.

Child seats that fit a Mazda CX-5 (2012 – 2016)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Mazda CX-5 (2012 – 2016) like to drive?

While the CX-5 might look and feel huge it’s actually not much bigger than the average family hatchback, so it’s an easy car to live with day-to-day, even in town.

The driving position is excellent, with a commanding, elevated view of the road ahead and well-placed controls. It means driving the CX-5 is effortless, whether in town, in the countryside or on the motorway.

Despite being a tall, high-riding car the CX-5 is fairly flat and stable in corners, which is good news for those who live in rural areas and tend to negotiate twisting country lanes. The steering is nicely weighted and there’s plenty of grip, even in two-wheel drive cars. Fair enough, the CX-5 isn’t particularly exciting, but it’s relaxed, safe and comfortable.

Many crossover buyers will spend plenty of time in town and while the CX-5 is no Smart car it’s certainly at home in an urban environment – its suspension is pliant enough to absorb the worst potholes and speed bumps without upsetting the occupants. That said it can jiggle and wobble over very broken and rippled surfaces, but not so much as to cause a problem.

Mazda offers three engine options – the entry level engine is a 2.0-litre petrol with 165PS, plus there’s a 2.2-litre diesel available with either 150PS or 175PS. The 150PS diesel engine is the best of the bunch – it offers great performance but with emissions of 119g/km and fuel economy of 61.4mpg (136g/km and 54.3mpg for the all-wheel drive). 0-62mph takes 9.2 seconds and top speed is 126mph.

The higher powered diesel model is only offered in conjunction with all-wheel drive and officially it’s no thirstier, like for like, than the 150PS engine. Nonetheless it’s not really worth spending the extra cash on – performance isn’t much different, the top speed is the same 126mph and 0-62mph takes 8.8 seconds.

For most buyers there's no real need to plump up the extra money for all-wheel drive, especially those who live in towns or cities. However if you live in a rural area or an area susceptible to snow or ice the all-wheel drive option might be worth your while. Bear in mind that it's designed for traction in low grip conditions, rather than crossing deep ruts and climbing steep hills. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 47 mpg 9.0–9.2 s 139 g/km
2.0 165 47 mpg 9.0–9.2 s 139 g/km
2.2 D 150 54–61 mpg 9.2–9.4 s 119–136 g/km
2.2 D 150 4WD 54 mpg 8.8–9.4 s 136 g/km
2.2 D 150 Automatic 51–53 mpg 10.0–10.2 s 139–144 g/km
2.2 D 150 Automatic 4WD 51 mpg 9.4–10.2 s 144 g/km
2.2 D 150 Automatic AWD 51 mpg 10.2 s 144 g/km
2.2 D 150 AWD 54 mpg 9.4 s 136 g/km
2.2 D 175 4WD 54 mpg 8.8 s 136 g/km
2.2 D 175 Automatic 4WD 51 mpg 9.4 s 144 g/km

Real MPG average for a Mazda CX-5 (2012 – 2016)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

29–56 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Mazda CX-5 (2012 – 2016)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

My car needs £12k+ worth of repairs and I've only owned it for a few months - what should I do?

I have a 2014 Mazda CX-5, which I have owned for seven months. I purchased from a car trader. Last week, it failed very suddenly with loss of power and black smoke from the exhaust, there were no warning lights or other signs the car was not running as it should. I had to abandon it in the road and later it was recovered. My local garage believe it could be the turbo and potentially the DPF, repair would cost anything from £1700-£5000. I rang Mazda HQ and they advised to take to a Mazda dealer for diagnostics, so arranged recovery to local dealer. They have advised it will need a new turbo, engine and exhaust - costing £12,000 for parts alone. Obviously this outweighs the cars value. Any advice would be greatly received.
This reads like the car was faulty when you bought it from the trader. I would recommend contacting the trader and asking them to fix it. There is no liability with Mazda, because they didn't sell you the vehicle. But I would make a copy of the diagnostics report and present it to the trader to back-up your claim. Do not give them the original copies, as you will need these if you decide to make a legal case via the small claims court. For your consumer rights, see:
Answered by Dan Powell
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