5 min read
25 Sep

The 2023 Mazda CX-5: A Class-Leading Compact SUV Value

The Mazda CX-5 has long stood out in the world of small SUVs, thanks to its top-notch interior, agile handling, and affordability – a compelling blend that helped it secure the top spot in the small SUV segment this year. The American media and consumer advice company US News & World Report crowned it the prestigious title of “2023 Best Compact SUV for the Money.” 

While it may fall slightly short in areas like rear passenger space, cargo capacity, and fuel efficiency, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 embodies the Japanese marque’s commitment to delivering affordable vehicles with exciting performance and upscale interiors. 

Here, we investigate why consumer intelligence resources, including Consumer Reports, JD Power, and US News, chose the 2023 Mazda CX-5 as the top contender in the compact SUV segment. 

Related Reading: Leisure Redefined: The 10 Best Luxury SUVs On The Market You Can Buy In 2023 Without Breaking The Bank 

How Mazda CX-5 Got The Top Spot In The Compact SUVs Class For 2023

2023 Mazda CX-5 is the top small SUV for 2023.

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 is definitely making waves, earning the coveted title of 2023 Best Compact SUV for the Money and standing as a finalist for the 2023 Best Compact SUV for Families award. 

Currently boasting an impressive score of 8.7 out of 10, this US News & World Report ranking is the result of a comprehensive evaluation encompassing dozens of research and data pieces from diverse sources. 

The CX-5’s Engine And Performance

2023 Mazda CX-5 engine and performance  via John Kennedy Mazda.

The CX-5's standard four-cylinder engine, delivering 187 horsepower, exhibits excellent throttle response when accelerating from a standstill or navigating urban streets. The SUV reportedly delivers a sensation of swiftness that exceeds its actual power output. 

However, test drivers also reports that when faced with higher speeds, such as overtaking or merging onto highways, the SUV feels somewhat lacking in power. 

In contrast, the turbocharged 256-hp version evaluated by test drivers offered significantly quicker acceleration. Both engine options come coupled with a responsive six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. 

The CX-5’s Road Manners

2023 Mazda CX-5 handling.

What's remarkable about the CX-5 is that you don't have to push it to the limit to appreciate its qualities. It mirrors the ride quality of much more expensive crossovers, with precise steering and a composed handling. 

These qualities make the SUV ideal for leisurely Sunday drives, and just as ideal at absorbing rough road surfaces. It effectively isolates pavement imperfections, keeps road noise to a minimum, and strikes a balance between firmness and floatiness in its damping. 

Moreover, the CX-5 comes alive on winding roads, with electrically assisted steering delivering satisfying responses. In Car & Driver’s evaluation of the Signature model, they reported the brake pedal offered reassuring feedback, operating without delay and without being overly sensitive when applied. 

Cabin noise is mostly unobtrusive, becoming noticeable primarily at highway speeds, yet conversations with passengers remain easily audible without raising your voice. 

The 2023 CX-5’s Interior

2023 Mazda CX-5 interior.

The 2023 Mazda CX5’s front seats boast a well-designed shape and generally offer a comfortable seating experience. However, the sculpted outboard seats in the rear might leave rear passengers feeling somewhat cramped, making the middle seat less accommodating, especially during extended journeys. Rear legroom is a tad limited, too. 

Nevertheless, the rear seatback's reclining feature is a thoughtful addition to improve rear passenger comfort. The driver-oriented cabin layout positions all controls conveniently within reach. 

Front occupants enjoy ample space, including sufficient headroom for taller individuals. With an elevated driving position, tall windows, and narrow pillars, visibility in the CX-5 is excellent, except when checking over your shoulder. 

Although the rear windows are slightly smaller than those of competitors, they still provide a decent view to minimize blind spots. The backup camera's resolution is notably sharp for added convenience. 

The Tech Features

2023 Mazda CX-5 technology.

The 2023 CX-5 offers a satisfying array of standard cutting-edge technology features for both convenience and entertainment. These include LED headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a pushbutton start, and the convenience of an electric parking brake. 

It doesn't stop there, as even the base model comes equipped with a generous 10.3-inch infotainment display, a four-speaker audio system, and the coveted Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. That’s a well-rounded package, if you ask us. 

The CX-5 continues to impress with added tech and comfort features as you climb up the trim ladder. For example, higher trims offer powered and ventilated front seats promoting a comfortable ride in varying weather conditions. You'll also enjoy the luxury of a heated steering wheel and heated seats. 

A wireless phone charger adds to the convenience, along with automatic power-folding side mirrors and a power liftgate. Apparently, the CX-5 cares about simplifying your daily routines. There’s available infotainment upgrades for those who crave a more immersive tech experience, including a 7.0-inch gauge cluster screen and a head-up display. 

Audio enthusiasts will appreciate the options of premium speaker systems with six or ten speakers, ensuring premium sound quality throughout the cabin. 

The Safety Ratings

2023 Mazda CX-5 - safety ratings.

The CX-5 has built a commendable history of earning top marks in safety testing, and the 2023 CX-5 continues this tradition. It proudly holds the distinction of being an IIHS Top Safety Pick. 

However, due to stricter testing standards, it relinquished its Top Safety Pick+ status, which it had maintained from 2014 to 2022. Nevertheless, it continues to shine in safety, securing an NHTSA five-star overall safety rating over the past few years. 

Mazda equips the 2023 CX-5 with a comprehensive suite of standard active driver-assist features to bolster safety on the road. These include essential components like blind-spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring, automatic emergency braking, a lane-keeping system, and adaptive cruise control. 

The inclusion of adaptive high-beams as standard further enhances visibility during nighttime driving. Additionally, for those seeking even more advanced lighting technology, features like auto-leveling and curve-adapting headlights become available on higher trim levels. 

In the upper echelons of the CX-5 lineup, the top trim elevates safety with standard parking sensors and a 360-degree view camera system, delivering an all-encompassing safety package for discerning drivers. 

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 Trim Levels

2023 Mazda CX-5 trim levels.

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 offers an enticing array of trim levels to cater to various preferences and needs. This comes in the form of eight distinct trims to choose from. 

These options include the 2.5 S, 2.5 S Select, 2.5 S Preferred, 2.5 S Carbon Edition, 2.5 S Premium, 2.5 S Premium Plus, 2.5 Turbo, and 2.5 Turbo Signature. Naturally, the "2.5" nomenclature is a nod to the engine size. 

For most of the lineup, you'll find a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine generating a decent 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. However, the 2.5 Turbo and 2.5 Turbo Signature trims take performance up a notch, boasting 227 hp and 310 lb-ft on regular octane fuel, and an even more impressive 256 hp and 320 lb-ft with 93 octane fuel. 

Regardless of the trim you choose, every Mazda CX-5 comes equipped with a responsive six-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. 

Admittedly, the turbocharged engine adds an extra punch to the CX-5's performance, but its limited availability and relatively higher starting price make the 2.5 S Select trim a rather strong value proposition. The latter offers a well-rounded package with essential features for a small SUV, plus desirable extras like heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and keyless entry

The 2023 CX-5’s Efficiency

MAZDA-CX-5 fuel economy - via Mazda Philippines.

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 demonstrates versatility when it comes to fuel efficiency, thanks to its two engine choices. The base 2.5-liter engine delivers respectable ratings of 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, while the turbocharged engine makes nice with EPA ratings of 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. 

Car & Driver took the SUV through a 75-mph highway route to assess the real-world fuel efficiency. Impressively, the standard engine returned an impressive 32 mpg in contrast to the turbocharged four's still commendable 30 mpg result. These options lets you choose the balance of power and fuel economy that best suits your driving preferences. 

Our Verdict On The 2023 Mazda CX-5

2023 Mazda CX-5 rear - via The Drive.

The CX-5 sets a high standard for interior quality, leaving no room for cheap-feeling trim pieces. Every detail, whether it's the premium leather upholstery or the tactile buttons and controls, exudes a sense of luxury and expense. 

While there's much to admire, the only minor drawback comes from the malleable side bolsters, which may rub against the center console during turns. However, this slight issue doesn't diminish the overall exceptional interior. 

Even when fully loaded with options, the CX-5 maintains a competitive edge by being more budget-friendly than its top-trim competitors. 

Moreover, the warranty coverage is on par with the average for its class, and it's worth noting that, like many in the compact SUV segment, the warranty package doesn’t come with free maintenance. Nevertheless, the CX-5's outstanding interior quality and affordability make it a standout choice in its segment.

* The email will not be published on the website.