If you’re shopping for an SUV with limited resources, you may as well buy one that’s sporty and fun to drive. That’s where the 2018 Mazda CX-5 comes in. The CX-5 is Mazda’s top-selling vehicle in the United States, partly because most Mazda buyers are opting for SUVs and crossover vehicles instead of cars, such as the sporty Mazda 3 or Mazda6.
The CX-5 comes as the Sport, mid-range Touring and top-line Grand Touring with front- or all-wheel drive (AWD). List prices for the front-drive versions go from $24,150 to $29,645. All-wheel drive models start from $25,450 for a Sport to $30,495 for the Grand Touring model.
Comfort and Convenience
A little extra effort is needed to get into the CX-5’s somewhat high floor. But all door open wide for easy entry and exit and to facilitate installing rear child seats.
Visibility is good once inside the comfortable, supportive seats. The generally upscale interior features sharp instruments that are easy to read. The Touring has standard heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. However, you can also get optional heated front and rear seats. As part of the $1,395 Premium Package, you can also get a heated steering wheel and an Active Driving Display with traffic sign recognition. The 2018 Mazda CX-5 is billed as a five-passenger vehicle, but the stiff center of the backseat is best left to the large fold-down armrest with its twin cupholders. Also, a rear passenger with long legs will want more legroom behind a tall driver who shoves his seat all the way back.
The cargo area is large, with a low, wide opening, and rear seat backs flip forward and sit flat to enlarge the cargo area. A quick-acting power lift gate is standard for the Grand Touring.
Newly standard for 2018 are a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and a thick telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel. Radar cruise control with stop-go function and Smart Brake Support are for the Touring and Grand Touring trim levels, along with 19-inch alloy wheels for those two. There’s also a power glass sunroof for the Grand Touring and a Bose 10-speaker sound surround system with voice command and an infotainment system with a 7-inch full color touchscreen. However, there is no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay support at the moment. A six-way power front passenger seat is standard for the Grand Touring.
The 2018 Mazda CX-5 has precise, nicely weighted steering and sharp handling, helped by its all-independent suspension, G-Vectoring Control dynamic enhancement and stability control system. Braking is a reassuring experience, with good pedal control. The ride is absorbent, although although it is firm, so you can feel some of the larger bumps on the freeway.
Power comes from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. Coincidentally, Mazda has upped the torque figure by 1 lb-ft over the 2017 model (from 185). All models come mated to a responsive six-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration of my option-loaded Grand Touring CX-5 AWD model was lively in town. Freeway acceleration from 65-75 MPH was brisk, but slowed above 75. Sport mode, where the car holds gears higher into the rev range, is a bit too aggressive for comfortable driving in town.
The 3,693 pound 2018 Mazda CX-5 has new cylinder deactivation technology that can reduce fuel consumption by shutting down the two outside cylinders. This feature makes Mazda the only automaker to offer this technology on a four-cylinder-engine in North America. Every little bit helps if you fill up a lot. Estimated fuel economy is 25 city and 31 highway for the front-drive version. If you go for the all-wheel drive model, economy is nearly identical, at 24 City/30 Highway. Mazda recommends 87 octane gasoline.
How well does the 2018 Mazda CX-5 perform when you get it out of the urban environment? Watch the video below to see how it stacks up against the new Volkswagen Tiguan. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more news, views, and real-world crossover reviews!
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring
|Price as Tested:||$33,910 (incl. destination charges)|
|Engine:||2.5-liter, naturally-aspirated I-4|
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Front engine, all-wheel drive|
|Horsepower:||187 hp @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque:||186 lb-ft @ 6,400 RPM|
|Suspension:||Front: Independent, MacPherson strut w/ stabilizer bar
Rear: Independent, Multi-link w/ stabilizer bar
|Brakes:||Front: 11.7-inch ventilated front discs
Rear: 11.9-inch solid rear discs
|Tires:||Toyo A36 P225/55 R19 99V all-season|
|Fuel capacity:||15.3 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||24 City/30 Highway/26 Combined MPG|
|Cargo Volume:||Seats up: 30.9 cubic feet
Seats folded: 59.6 cubic feet
|Turning Circle:||36.0 feet|
|Curb Weight:||3,693 pounds|