First Impressions: 2015 Mazda CX-5

If you haven’t driven a Mazda in a while, the company is making it harder for you to find excuses not to try one out. The CX-5 is a compact crossover families will want to add to their test drive list.


The CX-5 is classified as a compact crossover, but we felt it drove more like a mid-size. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since a lot of compact crossovers feel like tall cars with sharp steering and tight handling. The CX-5 felt less car and more crossover. The ride was solid and not quite as sharp which communicated to us a level of sophistication and refinement.

The model we drove featured Mazda’s 184 horsepower SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which is the largest offered. The horsepower was adequate and we got around with no real issue. We just felt the vehicle could have used a little more juice. The engine never strained, but we got the feeling there wasn’t a lot left in reserve. Maybe this is why the brand’s marketing doesn’t include the Zoom-Zoom anymore.


The MAZDA CONNECT infotainment system is one of the easiest to use systems we have encountered. Large icons arc across the screen and are intuitive and easy to read. We were able to quickly access to all the infotainment options we needed in our short time exploring the system. We have since the short first drive of the CX-5 had the opportunity to drive a similarly equipped Mazda and spend more time with the system. Using it to truly customize your experience requires going a bit more in depth and it would serve new Mazda owners well to pay attention to the delivery person at their dealership and their tutorial.


All Mazda’s these days share the same KODO “Soul of Motion” design that we really like. A wedge-shaped front end gives way to curves and bulges that make the CX-5 look sporty and sophisticated at the same time. It says a lot that the aesthetic has been around a while, but still manages to look fresh and not dated. Another plus for us is the CX-5 doesn’t look like any of its competition or like anything else on the road that isn’t a Mazda.


The seats in the CX-5 were very chair-like. Our ideal vehicle seat balances comfort to keep us fresh over a long drive and supportive to keep us in place on the twists. The CX-5 managed to avoid both of those and make us feel like we sat on the seat, not in it.

Cupholders were available for all occupants, but there were no rear seat bottle holders. Most crossovers these days feature a bump out in each door’s map pocket with enough room for up to a liter bottle. We, no doubt like most consumers, have gotten used to these and expect them.

Center console storage in the front is adequate, but a rectangular slot in front of the armrest and behind the console mounted shifter got us excited. It is the perfect spot to stash a smartphone and not have to worry about it disappearing. Cargo storage was in keeping with expectations for the vehicle class. A 60/40 split rear seat folds flat to allow a much larger collection of stuff.

image courtesy of Mazda

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