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2020 Mazda CX-5 Review

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 earns a spot near the top of our compact SUV rankings. It's agile and fuel-efficient, with one of the nicest interiors in the class. Simply put, it should be a top choice if you're looking for a small crossover SUV.

Pros & Cons

  • Terrific handling
  • Good gas mileage
  • Upscale, comfortable interior
  • User-friendly tech features
  • Above-average price for the class
  • Aging infotainment system

New for 2020

  • Newly standard driver assistance features
  • Some feature shuffling between trims

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Mazda CX-5's #2 ranking is based on its score within the Compact SUVs category. Currently the Mazda CX-5 has a score of 8.6 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 33 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.8
Performance: 8.6
Interior: 8.0
Safety: 9.9
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Mazda CX-5 a Good SUV?

Yes, the Mazda CX-5 is a good SUV. It shines when it comes to performance, with outstanding handling and a composed ride. The CX-5's base engine helps it deliver great fuel economy and decent acceleration, but for more power you can opt for a potent turbocharged four-cylinder engine. There's even a turbodiesel option, something almost no class rival offers.

Inside, this Mazda provides one of the best interiors in the segment. It looks great, with comfortable seats and a long list of standard features that includes plenty of driver assistance technology. The infotainment system could use an update to make it more modern, however, and many rivals have slightly more cargo space. That said, those are the only real knocks against the CX-5.

Should I Buy the Mazda CX-5?

The CX-5 costs a bit more than many other compact SUVs, but its overall quality means this Mazda provides more bang for your buck than its less expensive brethren. It's always wise to comparison shop, so you may want to see how the CX-5 stacks up against alternatives such as the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester.

Compare the CX-5, CR-V, and Forester »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mazda CX-5?

The Mazda CX-5 doesn't get a major overhaul for 2020, so you may want to consider a used model, which will likely cost less than a new one.

For 2020, the only big update is the addition of several new standard driver assistance features, including forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. These features were optional in older CX-5s.

There were some major changes for 2019, however. The 2019 CX-5 was the first to offer Mazda’s 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates up to 250 horsepower, depending on the type of fuel you use. Mazda also added a new turbodiesel engine to the lineup, and the options list grew to include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a surround-view parking camera system, and ventilated front seats. Mazda also introduced the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims for 2019.

The CX-5 saw only minor changes for 2018, which makes sense since the CX-5 was completely redesigned for 2017. The 2018 CX-5 gained standard blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 CX-5, 2018 CX-5, and 2019 CX-5 reviews to help inform your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 CX-5 »

We Did the Research for You: 33 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This 2020 CX-5 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2017.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Mazda CX-5 Cost?

The Mazda CX-5 sports a starting price of $25,090. That's above average for the class, though not by all that much, as the base prices of many compact SUVs sit in the $23,000 to $25,000 range. At the top of the CX-5's lineup you'll find the Signature trim, which starts at $37,055. That's one of the highest top-trim prices in the class.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mazda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mazda deals page.

Mazda CX-5 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V?

The Honda CR-V joins the CX-5 near the top of our compact SUV rankings, and it's tough to say that one crossover is better than the other. The CX-5 is unquestionably more athletic than the CR-V, with zestier engines and better handling. It also has a more upscale interior. On the other hand, the Honda has a slightly roomier cabin than the Mazda and a higher maximum cargo capacity by more than 16 cubic feet.

Which Is Better: Mazda CX-5 or Subaru Forester?

The Subaru Forester sits close to the CX-5 in our rankings, but these SUVs appeal to different buyers. While the Mazda prides itself on its engaging performance and premium interior, the Subaru focuses on comfort. The Forester delivers a smooth ride and has plenty of room for passengers, and it has much more cargo space than the CX-5. The Subaru also comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is a rarity for the compact SUV class. All-wheel drive is an optional feature in the Mazda.

Compare the CX-5, CR-V, and Forester »

CX-5 Interior

How Many People Does the CX-5 Seat?

This Mazda crossover seats five people. The front seats are comfortable and spacious, and there's good outward visibility in all directions. The rear seats offer less space than you get in some rivals, but they have enough headroom for taller passengers.

CX-5 and Child Car Seats

The CX-5 features complete sets of LATCH child seat connectors for each of the rear outboard seats. There’s also a single tether anchor for the rear middle seat, which has the ability to borrow lower anchors from both sides when they are not being used. The lower anchors are set a bit deep in the seat, but otherwise there are no problems. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the CX-5's LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

CX-5 Interior Quality

The CX-5 is a strong contender for having the nicest interior in the compact SUV class. The premium materials wouldn't appear out of place in a much more expensive vehicle, and the modern styling gives this crossover an appealing look.

CX-5 Cargo Space

The CX-5 gives you 30.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, which is enough room for the family's vacation luggage. Fold down the rear seats, and you get 59.6 cubic feet. Several class rivals provide more cargo space.

CX-5 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include push-button start and the Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, four speakers, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and two USB ports.

Available features include a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, a six-speaker audio system, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, and two additional USB ports.

The infotainment system is fairly user-friendly, though the volume knob is awkwardly placed. The bigger issue, however, is that Mazda's interface feels outdated compared to some rivals' systems.

Read more about interior »

CX-5 Performance

CX-5 Engine: No Bad Options

The CX-5 comes with one of three engines: a four-cylinder with 187 horsepower, a turbocharged four-cylinder with 227 horsepower (250 if you use premium gasoline), and a turbocharged diesel with 168 horsepower.

The base engine should suit most drivers. It never feels underpowered, though some folks may want more zip at highway speeds. Feistier drivers will undoubtedly want to spring for the turbo-four, which delivers better acceleration and is much more potent overall.

CX-5 Gas Mileage: Raising the Bar

Few compact SUVs are better on gas than the CX-5, which gets 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway when equipped with its base engine and front-wheel drive.

With the turbocharged engine, which is only available in all-wheel-drive models, the CX-5 gets 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. At the time of writing, fuel economy ratings are not available for CX-5 models with the turbodiesel.

CX-5 Ride and Handling: An All-Around Winner

Few class rivals can match the CX-5 when it comes to driving enjoyment. This Mazda is nimble and light-footed, letting you go for the gusto on winding roads or helping you feel confident on crowded streets. The ride quality is excellent as well, and you won't be jostled around when you go over bumps in the road.

Read more about performance »

CX-5 Reliability

Is the Mazda CX-5 Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Mazda CX-5 a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Mazda CX-5 Warranty

The CX-5 comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Mazda CX-5?

The cost of insuring a Mazda CX-5 will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

CX-5 Safety

CX-5 Crash Test Results

The 2020 CX-5 earned an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The CX-5 received five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

In testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, this Mazda earned a rating of Good in all six tests and was named a Top Safety Pick+, the organization’s highest honor. Depending on how it's equipped, the CX-5 earned the top rating of Good or the second-highest rating of Acceptable for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead.

The IIHS has a different scale for grading active safety features. The CX-5 received Superior and Advanced ratings (the best and second-best scores) for front crash prevention features, again depending on how the vehicle is equipped.

CX-5 Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and low-speed automatic emergency braking.

Available active safety features include a head-up display, traffic sign recognition, a surround-view parking camera system, and front and rear parking sensors.

Read more about safety »

CX-5 Dimensions and Weight

The CX-5 is 14.9 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,541 to 3,825 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Mazda CX-5 Built?

Mazda builds the 2020 CX-5 in Japan.

Which Mazda CX-5 Model Is Right for Me?

The CX-5 comes in five trims: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature.

With a user-friendly infotainment system and a robust suite of active safety features, the base Sport trim makes a fine choice. However, the Touring offers the most bang for your buck. It only costs about $1,600 more than the Sport trim, and it comes with several additional comfort and infotainment upgrades.

The Signature trim was also available with a turbodiesel engine for 2019, and the diesel will be available once again for 2020. At the time of writing, Mazda has not released any information about that powertrain, so it's unclear how much it will cost or if it will be available in any trim besides the Signature.

Mazda CX-5 Sport

The Sport trim carries a base price of $25,090. It comes with a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive.

Standard features include push-button start and the Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, four speakers, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and two USB ports.

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and low-speed automatic emergency braking.

You can add all-wheel drive for $1,400. Other options include rear parking sensors ($475) and navigation ($400).

Mazda CX-5 Touring

The CX-5 Touring starts at $26,730. In addition to the base trim's features, the Touring comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, six speakers, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, additional USB ports, a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, and synthetic leather upholstery with suede inserts.

For an additional $1,400, you can equip the CX-5 with all-wheel drive. The Touring Preferred Equipment package ($1,375) adds a 10-speaker Bose premium audio system, a moonroof, and a power liftgate. Navigation and rear parking sensors are available as individual options.

Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring

The CX-5 Grand Touring costs $30,210. In addition to the lower trims' features, the Grand Touring comes with a power liftgate, a moonroof, leather-trimmed seats, a power-adjustable passenger seat, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, and satellite radio.

As with the lower trims, the all-wheel-drive upgrade costs $1,400. The GT Premium package ($1,625) adds traffic sign recognition, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats. You can add rear parking sensors for $475.

Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring Reserve

The Grand Touring Reserve starts at $35,035 and comes with all-wheel drive and a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 227 or 250 horsepower, depending on whether you fill it with regular or premium gasoline.

Standard features include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, traffic sign recognition, and an 8-inch touch screen. You can add rear parking sensors for $475.

Mazda CX-5 Signature

The range-topping CX-5 Signature costs $37,055. The Signature comes with Nappa leather upholstery, navigation, a surround-view parking camera system, and front and rear parking sensors. There are no notable options for this trim.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mazda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mazda deals page.

See 2020 Mazda CX-5 specs and trims »

The Final Call

If you're searching for a small crossover that has it all, check out the 2020 Mazda CX-5. It's easy to see why it claims one of the top spots in our compact SUV rankings. This SUV gets good gas mileage, and it's more fun to drive than almost every competitor. The CX-5 provides a level of interior quality that wouldn't look out of place in a luxury SUV.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "When it comes to fun-to-drive compact crossovers, it's hard to beat what the 2020 Mazda CX-5 has to offer. While some small SUVs tout good fuel economy or a versatile interior, the CX-5 lays claim to these attributes while serving up a healthy dose of performance, styling and interior luxury." -- Autotrader
  • "When an SUV looks this good and drives this good, you know it's a winner, and that's what the 2020 Mazda CX-5 is: A winner. The Mazda's class-above cabin could easily be confused for an Audi Q5's and its trio of four-cylinder engines means there's an option for every buyer. A quick test drive will undoubtedly have you singing the CX-5's praises as loudly as we have over the years. Its crisp steering, eager driving dynamics, and confidence-inspiring controls are dreamy and best when matched with the gutsy turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models." -- Car and Driver
  • "The 2020 Mazda CX-5 proves that not all compact-crossover SUVs are created equal. Priced like its mainstream competition, but designed, executed and equipped like an entry-luxury model, the 2020 CX-5 is that rare bargain even at sticker price." -- Kelley Blue Book

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: February 12, 2020

Steady Demand: Sales of the Mazda CX-5 ranked mid-pack among compact SUVs last year; Mazda dealerships moved about the same number of CX-5 models in 2019 compared to 2018. Top sellers in the segment, such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, both outsold it more than 2 to 1. While it’s not the best seller in its class, the CX-5 is far and away the most popular vehicle in Mazda showrooms. Its sales have accounted for more than half of all Mazda sales so far this year.

Research more buying advice »
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