Mazda redesigned its CX-5 crossover SUV just last year. Notable improvements include a more comfortable ride quality, a nicer cabin, and new safety and technology features. Factoring in the CX-5's traditionally taut steering and suspension, we think the 2018 Mazda CX-5 is one of the best small SUVs available.
A quiet cabin and refined interior don't detract from the CX-5's reputation as a driver's vehicle either. About the only thing that diminishes the CX-5's appeal is a lack of an engine upgrade. Although performance is on par with the base engines on competing models, there's nothing more powerful available. Rivals such as the Chevrolet Equinox and Kia Sportage offer strong turbocharged engines if you're after something with more oomph.
But overall we like the 2018 Mazda CX-5 for its excellent balance of sportiness, comfort and practicality. The exterior design is sleek and modern, and while not overly generous inside, the CX-5 does offer a competitive amount of room for people and cargo. The upscale interior materials, along with a host of standard tech and convenience features, convey the sense of a vehicle that should cost quite a bit more than it does. It's a top pick for a small crossover in 2018.
The 2018 Mazda CX-5 crossover is offered in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. All models have front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive available as an option. The sole engine choice is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder (187 hp, 186 lb-ft of torque), which is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Standard equipment for every CX-5 includes 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, a 7-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, a 40/20/40-split rear seats (fold and recline), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a four-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, a four-speaker stereo and two USB ports. Low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert are also included.
The available Sport i-Activsense package adds such features as automatic high-beams, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, upgraded forward collision warning and mitigation, and automatic windshield wipers.
The Touring trim adds a healthy dose of comfort items that most buyers will find appealing, such as 19-inch wheels, keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats, simulated leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable driver seat, two additional speakers and two more USB ports. It also gets the i-Activsense suite of safety features as standard. The optional Touring Preferred package adds such items as navigation, an upgraded 10-speaker Bose sound system, a sunroof and a power liftgate.
Grand Touring gets you all of the above, along with leather upholstery, driver-seat memory settings, a power-adjustable passenger seat, satellite radio, and LED foglights and taillights. The available Grand Touring Premium package includes a head-up display with traffic sign recognition, a heated steering wheel, heated second-row outboard seats and windshield wiper de-icer.
Trim Tested Module
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring (2.5L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Mazda CX-5 has received some revisions. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's 2018 Mazda CX-5, however.