One-week vehicle loan was provided for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Fuel Efficiency: 26 city/33 hwy
|Best Suited For: Small families, active singles
Notable Features: Nicely finished seats, modern body style, auto rain-sensing wipers
Links: Official site
If you’re looking for a crossover vehicle that is neither too small or too big, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 might be a good contender. The CX-5 is stylish (nice contrasting interior colors) without being excessively trendy, it has good power without the gas guzzling, and has plenty of features without being overwhelming. I loved the paint color that seemed to change between black and blue depending on the lighting and angle.
2016 Mazda CX-5 Review — Performance & Features
Handling is smooth and the CX-5 is easy to drive. Gas mileage is pretty good at an average 29 mpg and plenty of power is available thanks to the 2.5L engine. Suspension is tighter than I’m used to and I found that the ride is pretty rough. I could feel every nook and cranny in the road and, when I spoke, my voice was vibrating and fluctuating all over the place. There was also a lot of road and wind noise. Conversation between front and back passengers was tough and music had to be turned way up on the sound system to even hear it at a decent volume. The Bose system was slightly wasted in this car due to this.
Radar cruise control (adjusts speed automatically when a car in front is going slower or faster in traffic) works well and the LED lights are fantastic for night driving. If you live in an area with a lot of rain, the rain-sensing windshield wipers will save you the sanity of changing the wiper speed all of the time. It was pretty nice to have the option of programing your driver seat settings, a feature many competitors in this class do not have.
I was quite surprised by the control dial in the middle area. It worked fine but, since some options were just easier to select on the touchscreen, I only used it sparingly. Speaking of the touchscreen, it’s kind of tiny and you often have to hide menu bars to see anything. Fortunately, there are two USB ports for hooking up your own media.
2016 Mazda CX-5 Review — Interior Space
There was plenty of room in the front seats but the back seats were a bit lacking in the leg room department. Since the middle console is set a bit further back, the person sitting in the middle has that much less space to rest their legs.
Frans also noticed that the placement of the rear sears so close to the wheels made it a bit cumbersome to get out. He just kept hitting his hip on that protruding bump!
I did, however, like the handles in the cargo area to easily drop the seats down without having to climb through or go through the back doors. There’s a ton of space back there and some will appreciate the option of dropping only the middle seat when transporting long, narrow items (i.e. skis, poles, lamps, etc.)! It seemed odd that the lift gate had to be manually opened and closed though.
My feelings on the 2016 Mazda CX-5 is a bit ambiguous. It’s a decent, well-rounded CUV that’s a great choice for small families. However, it doesn’t have any features that particularly stand out and doesn’t give you that “wow” or “zoom-zoom” feeling that other Mazda vehicles do. It performs nicely but is, well, kind of boring. With so many other quality CUVs in the market, it would be great if Mazda stepped up the CX-5 like it did the CX-3.