The 20115 CX-5 is more fun to drive than most small crossovers on the road today. With punchy acceleration, tight steering, and sporty handling, the Mazda CX-5 is also stylish and full-featured.

Quick Specs & Info

2015 Mazda CX-5 Class: Small crossover
Base Model As Tested: Grand Touring AWD
Powertrain 2.0L t4, 6spd man Powertrain 2.5L t4, 6spd auto
Base MSRP $21,795 MSRP as tested $34,140

Overview

2015 Mazda CX-5 - bluff 6 - AOA1200pxThe small crossover market is one of the fastest-growing and contentious segments in automotive. Like the equally competitive sedan market, small crossover offerings have to be the manufacturer’s best offering. Mazda doesn’t disappoint, with the 2015 CX-5 being an excellent vehicle on most every level.

The 2015 CX-5 has a fun drive dynamic, great family ergonomics, smart versatility, stylish looks, and top notch safety ratings. Fuel economy, value, and a smooth highway presence are further high points. Technology options and a few interior quality details are our only complaints with the CX-5.

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 is on our short list of favorite small crossovers, offering more bang for the buck than most.

Inside the 2015 CX-5

2015 Mazda CX-5 - interior 1 - AOA1200pxThe interior of the CX-5 is simple, but not spartan. Quality materials are found most everywhere, but nothing jumps out for the “wow.” A few brushed metal details are the only adornment in the Mazda CX-5’s interior, but comfort and ergonomics are excellent. Some may be put off by the lack of bling, but mature audiences will grow to appreciate it.

Seating is well made and comfortable on both short and long drives. The back seats are bigger than the 2015 CX-5’s size might suggest. Cargo room is great as well and the rear seats fold to to nearly double the room.

For the driver, the white on black gauges are very easy to read and driving ergonomics are excellent.

Where the 2015 Mazda CX-5 is below par is in its infotainment. The system is simple and accessible, but has low quality graphics and outdated options. The rearview camera, if equipped, and optional navigation are not nearly as usable as those of competitors.

Under the Hood of the Mazda CX-5

2015 Mazda CX-5 - interior 7 - AOA1200pxFor a brief period, the 2015 Mazda CX-5 has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that Mazda, thankfully, decided to augment with an optional better-performing 2.5-liter SKYACTIV four-cylinder. The former produces an apathetic 155 horsepower. The 2.5 outputs 184 horses and 185 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the larger engine running both front-wheel and all-wheel drive options.

Fuel economy is very good at 27 mpg combined for FWD and 26 mpg combined for AWD. The AWD as we drove it was EPA rated at 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Our highway-heavy driving mix returned nearly 28 mpg in our week with the CX-5.

For those who wish it, a properly equipped 2015 CX-5 with a 2.5L engine can tow up to 2,000 pounds.

Out On the Road in the 2015 CX-5

2015 Mazda CX-5 - bluff 13 - AOA1200pxThe Mazda CX-5 has a lot going for it as a daily driver and family hauler. The smart, but forgiving, suspension, tight steering, nimble handling, and great driver visibility all add up to a solid drive dynamic. Few in the segment can rival the CX-5 in this regard.

On the road around town, the 2015 Mazda CX-5 is athletic and responsive. Maneuverability is great, allowing for easy parking. Out on the highway, road noise is minimal and the CX-5 is well-mannered. The 2.5L powerplant is a great goer.

Competition

Key competitors in the small crossover market include the top-selling Honda CR-V, the well-made Nissan Rogue, the popular Toyota RAV4, and the excellent Subaru Forester. Of course, we cannot leave out the Ford Escape and the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Strong Points

  • Sporty, fun drive.
  • Great family ergonomics.

Weaknesses

  • Plain interior, though not cheap.
  • Clunky infotainment with few options.

Conclusions

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 is on our short list of top picks in the competitive small crossover segment. Those who don’t want to give up a fun drive to accommodate family needs and all-weather capability will enjoy the smart looks and nimble dynamics of the 2015 CX-5.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The CX-5 was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, we put about 94 miles on the vehicle in mostly highway and freeway driving with some around town and inclement weather conditions.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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