The CX-5 is the successor to the Mazda Tribute, which was a joint venture between Ford and Mazda. The current evolution is an all Mazda design and we spent time with the freshly facelifted 2022 Mazda CX-5 Sport Design. Taking a look at Mazdas current lineup, almost half of the vehicles on offer are crossovers of some variety, which only makes sense as that’s what buyers want. Still, for a brand such as Mazda that usually makes buyers think “Zoom-Zoom”, does the CX-5 earn its place in the Mazda family?
As far as looks go, this is unmistakably Mazda, and that’s a good thing. For the facelift, we see a new set of bumpers and lights which add to the overall design nicely. This second generation KF CX-5 was released back in November 2016 for the 2017 model year, and even after the significant amount of time since its original introduction, it still looks sharp. The CX-5 does share a lot of similarities with the smaller CX-30 and larger CX-50 however there are still enough unique styling cues to differentiate the CX-5. Our Sport Design tester also gets treated to some trim specific treatments that give the CX-5 an upscale feel.
Moving inside, there a ton of small details that set the Sport Design CX-5 apart from the other models, such as red stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel and on the seats, which feel great and are easy to get in and out of. All the switchgear is nicely damped and has a good tactile feel, and we are happy to see physical buttons for key climate features as well as a home button. There are some awkward quirks such as the placement and size of the volume knob, however overall cabin ergonomics are done well.
Infotainment is displayed via a 10.25-inch display which is non-touch and that is standard across the model range. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which in our experience is a little frustrating at times to use with the rotary control knob and, the standard Mazda interface is one of the weakest in the market. Our tester also comes equipped with a 10-speaker Bose sound system, a nice touch for the segment.
The gauge cluster, like other Mazdas is a mix of analog and modern display technology; they are clear and will probably look great for years to come. Legroom and headroom are a benefit of choosing the larger CX-5 over the smaller CX-30, cargo room is also 875 liters versus the 572 of the CX-30. Those with families or pets will appreciate this.
So, what about the bits that make it go? The CX-5 comes standard with a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft. of torque. Those that want the true Mazda experience can opt for the same engine fitted with a turbocharger which up-rates the power to a robust 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft. of torque when filled with 87-octane, or an exceptional 256 horsepower and 320 lb-ft. when topped off with premium fuel. Power delivery is linear and torque comes on very early in the rev range; the only real gripe is the transmission.
Although we are happy to see a traditional automatic transmission here, we find that it’s a little dim-witted and six gears feel like too few. The drive mode selections do help, however there are limits to what it can do. The all-wheel-drive system is responsive and we feel that with a good set of winter tires, it should be plenty for Canadian winters as well, and it also adds to the CX-5’s great handling. We think that the chassis tuning does make it feel like a Mazda, and that other than the six-speed transmission driving the CX-5 feels great.
Fuel economy figures are 10.8L/100km city and 8.7L/100km on the highway. In our testing we were able to average 10.6L/100km combined. These figures are nothing to write home about, however considering the power output of the torquey turbocharged power plant and the fact that the transmission only has six gears, this is well within expectations.
The 2022 CX-5 GX starts at $30,500, and our Sport Design tester comes in at $43,100 with the turbocharged engine. There is one trim level that comes on top of the Sport Design and that is the Signature. Pricing is comparable to models such as the Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V in higher-trims. It’s noteworthy that as of now, there is no hybrid or electrified version of the CX-5 available, while the majority of competitors do offer this.
The CX-5 is a pleasure to drive, offers an upscale cabin and is now facelifted to look fresh for years to come. The 2022 Mazda CX-5 Sport Design backs up its sharp looks with sharp handling that will fulfill the needs of those that love driving but require the extra space for everything else that’s important in your life.