Mazda CX-5 Review 2022

Mazda CX-5 At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
We're big fans of the Mazda CX-5. Its stylish looks continue to turn heads today, while its cabin is spacious and superbly finished. It's not a cheap option, but you do get a lot for your money. It's just a shame the engine line-up is mediocre at best.

+Classy and versatile interior. Generous equipment levels. Top-spec GT Sport feels particularly plush. Handling strikes a good balance between sportiness and comfort.

-Poor infotainment system on earlier models. Slow (and thirsty) petrol engine. No hybrids.

New prices start from £24,095, brokers can source from £26,801
Insurance Groups are between 15–21
On average it achieves 86% of the official MPG figure

The Mazda CX-5 proves that you don't have to compromise on style or driver appeal when buying an SUV. Not only does it look just as fresh today as when it first arrived in 2017, it remains one of the most enjoyable SUVs to drive. The interior, meanwhile, is exquisite – giving you little reason to buy a Volkswagen Tiguan or Ford Kuga over one of these.

There is, of course, a caveat. One of our biggest criticisms of the Mazda CX-5 is its engine line-up. The lack of a hybrid powertrain wasn't really a big deal five years ago but today, with competition from the lacks of the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, it seems more than just an oversight.

Instead, you get a choice of traditional petrol or diesel power. And we really mean traditional – the petrol engines aren't small capacity turbocharged units like you'll find in rivals; you can even buy the Mazda CX-5 with a thirsty (and not particularly powerful) 2.5-litre petrol engine.

It's unfashionable to say so, but we reckon the Mazda CX-5 is at its best with a diesel engine. You can buy a 2.2-litre turbodiesel with 150PS or 184PS – the lower powered unit is fine, unless you want four-wheel drive. That's only available on the higher powered model, while buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.

Engines aside, the Mazda CX-5 is a lovely SUV to drive. While it feels surprisingly agile, that doesn't come at the expense of ride comfort. Sure, models with the 19-inch alloy wheels will patter a little over potholes, but it's not offensively firm.

Inside, the Mazda CX-5 is spacious and does without gimmicks. You can decide if that's a good thing – there's no sliding rear bench, for example, nor a massive touchscreen display taking pride of place on the centre of the dash. It's extremely well finished, though, with premium materials that put a Ford Kuga's cabin to shame.

All models from 2021 onwards come with an impressive 10.25-inch navigation system, operated by a rotary controller down on the centre console. It's super easy to use, while its sharp graphics and fast responses add to the CX-5's premium ambience.

While it's tempting to go for the pricier Mazda CX-5 trim levels, there's not necessarily any need to. All CX-5 models are well equipped, with even the entry-level SE-L come with the aforementioned sat-nav, front/rear parking sensors and a long list of driver-assist technology (including radar cruise control and an emergency braking system).

The Mazda CX-5 continues to be a left-field choice, but we think it's a shame that few buyers give it more than a passing consideration. It looks great, feels great and is great to drive, with only a slightly lacklustre engine line-up letting it down.

Looking for a second opinion? Read heycar's Mazda CX-5 review.

Ask Honest John

Should I replace my Honda CR-V with a Mazda CX-5?
"I have a 13 plate Honda CR-V. It's top of the range. I think it has been an excellent car. It is getting a bit tired though. My friend has a Mazda CX-5, which is very attractive. Would the Mazda be a good choice?"
The Mazda CX-5 is a very good choice to replace your Honda. It has a high quality interior with easy to use tech, it's great to drive yet comfortable and it's pretty practical. Mazda doesn't have quite the same reliability reputation as Honda, but there are no major problems reported with the latest CX-5. It's worth trying before buying if you're looking for an automatic model, though, as it's not the most smooth gearbox out there.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
Can you recommend a small SUV for towing?
"I'm looking to purchase a small/mid-sized SUV for about £20,000. We only drive about 8,000 miles per year so I'm guessing petrol but we do tow a trailer tent quite often in the summer months so it must cope with that OK. I'm looking at the BMW X1 or X2 or maybe the Audi Q3. I have not discounted going bit bigger so the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 or Ford Kuga may be options."
The low-down grunt of a diesel engine will make light work of towing your trailer tent but it's not ideal for your otherwise low mileage. I'm guessing your trailer tent isn't particularly heavy, so a punchy turbocharged petrol should be able to tow it without too much effort. Depending on its weight, a BMW X1/X2 or Audi Q2 should be up to the job and they're excellent small SUVs. How about a Volkswagen Tiguan? It's not quite as premium as a BMW or Audi, but you get more physical car for your money. Take a look at the Skoda Karoq, too, if you're not fussed about the badge on the bonnet.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Should I trade-in my car while used prices are inflated?
"After putting my 2019 Mazda 6 Sport in for its latest service, the dealership indicated they were very keen to get it as a trade-in due to its condition and low mileage. So, the equity available is higher than normal, in part due to the current shortages. With that in mind, it seemed daft to go for another 6, and maybe I should look a little upmarket. However, I'm struggling to come up with a decent alternative! I've looked at the Octavia vRS, BMW 2 Series GC, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Mazda CX-5 Sport, the new Kia Sportage. Do you have any recommendations or general pointers? I'm on the lookout for a sporty looking family car that isn't going to break the bank, reasonably well specced that isn't costing an absolute fortune to get to the same equipment levels I'm spoiled with in the 6. Appreciate any thoughts or help you can give - I love my 6, she's an absolute joy to drive and truthfully I wouldn't even be looking if the trade in offers weren't so good!"
It's a dilemma many people are facing at the moment – a shortage of new cars means used prices are inflated so there's a temptation to cash in by selling your car. But that car will need replacing, though, and you might find it difficult to get a good deal on a new car. We'd recommend keeping your Mazda – you clearly like it and it's still a modern, reliable car with many years of life left in it. If you do wish to sell, a Mazda CX-5 could be a worthy replacement. It's just been updated and remains one of our favourite SUVs on the market. Alternatively, take a look at the new Hyundai Tucson or consider whether to make the switch to an electric vehicle with a Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend an SUV automatic?
"I had two diesel powered Mazda CX-5 automatics which were great but since switching to the petrol version I find it underpowered as it cannot maintain its speed on hills when loaded with luggage. Could you recommend a similar sized petrol automatic SUV with a bit more oomph?"
The Mazda CX-5 uses a large naturally-aspirated petrol engine rather than a small turbocharged unit like rivals. This is good for long-term reliability as well as real-world economy but it does need working hard. As an alternative, consider a Volkswagen Tiguan with the 1.5 TSI engine. Also look at hybrid alternatives like the new Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Mazda CX-5 cost?

Buy new from £26,801(list price from £29,200)