Wednesday, 06 December 2023

2023 Mazda CX-5 remains a powerhouse option among compact SUVs Featured

Posted On Saturday, 07 October 2023 21:17 Written by
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The 2023 Mazda CX-5 features one of the sharpest designs in its class, and a class-leading ride quality. The 2023 Mazda CX-5 features one of the sharpest designs in its class, and a class-leading ride quality. Photo courtesy of Mazda

As Mazda continues to redefine its SUV lineup with newer vehicles like the CX-30, CX-50 and CX-90, there is one holdover from its past SUV lineups that keeps going strong.

The CX-5, a compact SUV, remains the brand’s biggest seller, and for good reasons. Between the sporty drive quality, exquisite interior, strong tech and attractive exterior design, there’s a lot to like. 

I recently spent time beyond the wheel of a 2023 CX-5 Turbo Signature model — and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up in the current SUV landscape.


Despite the longevity of its current design, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 still features one of the most eye-catching looks among the current crop of compact SUVs. 

The hood features Mazda’s classic lip over the front grille, and my test vehicle featured a Rhodium White Metallic paint job, 19-inch bright alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED headlights, heated power mirrors with turn lamps, and a rear roof spoiler.

You can also opt for a power moonroof.

The CX-5’s design is slightly taller than the newer lineup of Mazda SUVs (including the CX-50), which allows drivers to have a better view of the road ahead. And it’s small enough to fit into tight city parking spaces.

Moving inside the CX-5, you’ll find that this is where it really stands out from the competition, with a level of quality unmatched by competitors. It’s such a high-end design that it’s more fitting to compare the interior to those of luxury SUVs.

There’s nothing in the vehicle that feels cheap, from its intricate Nappa leather seating to the wood trim, and there is plenty of room for all five passengers. Other amenities on the interior include heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, and leather steering wheel.

Cargo space is also respectable for the segment, at 30.8 cubic feet with rear seats up, and 59.3 cubic feet with the seats down.


The base engine on the 2023 CX-5 is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers a respectable 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. 

But I highly recommend moving up to the turbo engine offering that comes on the upper trim levels. This turbo option delivers up to 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet, and a major improvement in overall ride quality. This boosted engine lives up to the “Zoom Zoom” label so many associate with Mazda vehicles.

All CX-5 trims include a six-speed automatic transmission, plus standard all-wheel drive (something not all rivals can claim).

In my time behind the wheel of the CX-5 with the turbo, I enjoyed a tremendous drive experience that I would say is class-leading. Mazda cares about performance moreso than many rival SUV makers, and it shows.

People who love to drive will appreciate the CX-5 and its ability to be both smooth and powerful, depending on your needs. The 0-to-60 time is just over 6 seconds.

Handling is top-notch, and Sport mode can be enabled with the click of a button to boost your ride quality. The CX-5 features an independent front/rear suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars, electric power assisted steering, Dynamic Stability Control. Traction Control System, and Hill Launch Assist.

Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus system is also included, improving your driving experience in adverse weather and other difficult driving situations. Another bonus is the mostly quiet ride, as road noise rarely intrudes.


The infotainment setup on the 2023 Mazda CX-5 was user-friendly and one of the better options in the segment. Voice commands for music, phone and navigation were accurately heard by the system, and controlling the system via the center dial was easy to master. 

A bright and clear backup camera offers a couple views for parking situations: A straight-up rearview look, as well as a top/bird’s eye view of your surroundings, which is quite helpful.

The CX-5’s navigation system worked effectively, and a head-up display is offered that can project navigation instructions onto your windshield. And the vehicle features Bluetooth and is compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

Mazda Connected Services allow you to control aspects of the vehicle via a smartphone app.

In terms of safety, the CX-5 earns nearly perfect safety ratings, and boasts a bevy of strong safety systems.

These include:
— Forward collision mitigation (applies brakes in collision scenarios)
— Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert (watches blind spots, even when reversing, and warns of vehicles in your path)
— Lane departure mitigation (steers vehicle back into your proper lane)
— Adaptive cruise control (automatically adjusts distance between you and the vehicle ahead)

Occasionally, these systems can be a bit oversensitive, but most of the time they work as expected and can be very helpful to prevent any unwanted skirmishes on the roadways.

The CX-5 also features a full array of airbags, Driver Attention Alert, Traffic Sign Recognition, tire pressure monitoring and anti-lock brakes.


Fuel mileage on the 2023 Mazda CX-5 turbo comes in at 22 city/27 highway24 combined.  On the non-turbo engine, the official numbers are 24 city and 30 highway/26 combined.

I averaged as high as 23 mpg in the CX-5 turbo, closer to 21 when in Sport mode. This is less than you’ll get in some rival SUVs, but those vehicles don’t offer nearly as sporty a ride as you’ll get in the CX-5. It's a tradeoff I am willing to accept to achieve better performance. 


The 2023 CX-5 I tested was priced just over $41K, and the base price starts around $28K.

The price range is higher than some rival compact SUVs (especially with the turbo engine), but you’ll also get more from the vehicle than those competitors offer.

EIght trim levels are offered, including: the base S model, Select, Preferred, Carbon Edition, Premium, Premium Plus, Turbo and Turbo Signature.

The CX-5 comes with a 60 month/60K mile powertrain warranty, and a 36 month/36K mile bumper to bumper warranty. These are decent warranties, though some rivals offer more extensive coverage.


The 2023 Mazda CX-5 features a sharp design, high-end interior, strong tech and safety features, and most importantly a stout ride quality aimed at driving enthusiasts. It’s practical yet fun, a rare combination.

Buyers seeking a strong overall compact SUV but who always want to enjoy their time behind the wheel would be wise to give the CX-5 a test drive.

=== can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2023 Mazda CX-5
  • Price as tested: $41,520 (starts around $28K)  
  • Best feature: Powerful turbo engine, high-end interior    
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars    
  • Who will want this vehicle?: SUV buyers seeking a high-end, near-luxury vehicle that’s a blast to drive     
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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