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2016 Mazda CX-5 Review

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 is one of the highest-ranked and most fun-to-drive compact crossovers in its class. Precise steering and agile handling make up for the CX-5’s modest engine power, while the interior offers good passenger space and solid quality.

Pros & Cons

  • Fun to drive
  • Good gas mileage
  • Easy-to-use cabin technology
  • Rivals have more potent engines

New for 2016

  • Exterior and interior styling updates
  • Updated infotainment system
  • Bluetooth phone and audio now standard
  • Adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning available
  • Rearview camera comes standard with 2016.5 models

Rankings & Awards

The 2016 Mazda CX-5's #2 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Affordable Compact SUVs category. It was a finalist for our 2016 Best Compact SUV for the Money award. Currently the Mazda CX-5 has a score of 8.3 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 44 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.3
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 6.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Mazda CX-5 Overview

Is the 2016 Mazda CX-5 a Good Used SUV?

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 places a premium on performance, while retaining the practicality of an SUV. Its upscale cabin seats five (four adults comfortably), and its well-tuned suspension provides an enjoyable driving experience.

Why You Can Trust Us

To help you decide if the Mazda CX-5 is the right SUV for you, we've gathered and analyzed 44 professional reviews. We've also included fuel economy estimates, safety scores, reliability ratings, and much more to give you an idea of the CX-5's strengths and weaknesses.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking the best vehicles since 2007, and our editorial staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. To keep our reviews impartial, we don't accept expensive trips or gifts from car companies, and an external partner places and sells the ads on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Mazda CX-5?

In the nearly 2,000 listings for used 2016 Mazda CX-5 models on our site, prices range from about $17,000 to around $27,000. The average list price for a 2016 CX-5 on our site is around $22,300. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Mazda CX-5 Cost to Own?

Many factors – like gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance – affect how much it costs to own and operate a vehicle. You should expect to pay about $21,000 in ownership costs over five years with a 2016 CX-5. That's on par with this SUV's closest rivals. The 2016 Ford Escape and 2016 Honda CR-V would each cost you around $21,000 over five years, while the 2016 Subaru Forester's ownership costs come out closer to $22,500.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New CX-5?

The base price for a new 2018 CX-5 is around $24,000 – about $1,800 more than the average price of a used 2016 model. A used CX-5 will be less expensive, but purchasing a new one may be a better value. The new model has different interior and exterior styling, as well as a more powerful engine and significantly more standard features. You can find an infotainment system and advanced safety features like blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a rearview camera in some late-release 2016 models, but those features come standard in every 2018 model. A new CX-5 also has a longer bumper-to-bumper warranty to cover most issues that may come up. You can likely get a lower interest rate on a new CX-5 compared to a 2016 model, and Mazda may offer other incentives on the new model. Check out our Mazda deals page for the latest CX-5 discounts.

Read about the new Mazda CX-5 »

If the 2018 CX-5 is too pricey for you, but you'd prefer a new SUV to a used one, consider the 2018 Hyundai Tucson. The Tucson is our 2018 Best Compact SUV for the Money, and it starts at $22,500, which is about the same price as the average used 2016 CX-5. While the Tucson isn't as fun to drive as the CX-5, and it's fitted with some cheap cabin materials, its excellent safety scores, long warranty, and comfortable, quiet interior make it a great buy.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Mazda CX-5?

The 2016 CX-5 has a slightly above-average reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

 Read more about CX-5 reliability »

2016 Mazda CX-5 Recalls

At the time of this writing, there were four recalls on the 2016 CX-5. The recalls include an issue that can cause the rear liftgate to fall or a laser sensor for the automatic emergency braking system to become detached. There's also an issue that can make you lose steering control. Finally, it is possible the fuel filler pipe can be damaged in an accident and increase the risk of a fire. Make sure these recall issues have been addressed before buying a used CX-5.

See more information on Mazda CX-5 safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Mazda CX-5 Is Best?

2016 was the final year of the Mazda CX-5’s first generation, which launched for the 2013 model year. Mazda steadily added features throughout this generation, sometimes in the form of midyear model updates (i.e., the addition of a standard rearview camera with the 2016.5 CX-5). All models dating back to the 2013 model year earn overall scores of 8.1 or higher, and they rank near the top of their respective classes. Depending on your desire for certain features, you may want to consider shopping for an older CX-5 to save money while still getting a quality vehicle.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 CX-5 »

Which Used Mazda CX-5 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 is available in three trims: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. Most buyers will want one of the higher trims, as they add numerous features like a touch-screen infotainment system, HD Radio, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The base Sport model is sparsely equipped, providing only Bluetooth and a USB port.

See 2016 Mazda CX-5 trims and specs »

What Does Mazda's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Mazda offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For each certified pre-owned vehicle, Mazda extends the original limited powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles and provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty after the expiration of the original three-year/36,000-mile warranty. Every CPO Mazda must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits may include towing, a 90-day complimentary SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, extended coverage, and roadside assistance, so read the Mazda warranty page carefully.

Mazda’s CPO program is about average for an affordable auto manufacturer, according to our research. Chevy, Hyundai, and Kia all have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the CX-5?

Overall, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 earns very good safety scores. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a 2016 Top Safety Pick+, its highest designation. The SUV earned top marks in all individual IIHS tests. It received an overall rating of four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Mazda often releases half-year models that deliver slight upgrades from the original models. The 2016 CX-5 doesn’t come standard with any advanced safety features, but the 2016.5 CX-5 comes standard with a rearview camera. Sellers may not differentiate between these models, so be aware that there are some 2016 CX-5s without a rearview camera.

Available advanced safety features in the 2016 CX-5 include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and forward collision warning.

See CX-5 safety scores »

2016 Mazda CX-5 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Mazda CX-5 or 2016 Subaru Forester?

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 is a better SUV overall than the 2016 Subaru Forester, but the Forester is more practical and utilitarian. The Subaru comes with standard all-wheel drive, a comfortable but spartan cabin, and more cargo room than most vehicles in the class. All 2016 Foresters include a touch-screen infotainment system, whereas you might have to shop around to find one in the 2016 CX-5. The Forester has a lower reliability rating than the CX-5, and it gets worse fuel economy estimates, so your total cost of ownership may be higher with the Subaru.

Which Is Better: 2016 Mazda CX-5 or 2016 Honda CR-V?

The 2016 Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are closely matched. The Honda offers more cargo room than the Mazda, along with ample passenger space. It also has higher safety scores. Like the CX-5, the CR-V gets excellent fuel economy estimates. Though it can’t match the Mazda’s athleticism, the Honda is more than capable as a daily driver. Between these two, choose the one that best matches your priorities.

Which Is Better: 2016 Mazda CX-5 or 2016 Ford Escape?

The 2016 Ford Escape is one of the few SUVs in the class that can run with the CX-5 in terms of performance. Its base engine is more powerful than the CX-5’s, and it offers two available turbocharged engines that deliver good fuel economy and have more muscle than the Mazda. Passenger and cargo space are about the same between the two models, and the Escape also offers an upscale cabin. The CX-5 has better safety scores than the Escape, which may make it more attractive to families.

Compare the CX-5, Forester, and Escape »

2016 CX-5 Performance

How Does the 2016 Mazda CX-5 Drive?

Like most Mazda vehicles, the CX-5 has great performance. It handles corners with confidence and can swoop through winding roads with the athleticism of a smaller car. The standard 2016 CX-5 has a manual transmission and a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter engine, which is slightly lethargic compared to the available 184-horsepower 2.5-liter engine. This engine is only available with an automatic transmission, but it provides much better acceleration and power in nearly all driving situations.

Does the 2016 Mazda CX-5 Get Good Gas Mileage?

The CX-5's gas mileage is excellent for the class, earning estimates of 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway when equipped with the base engine, manual transmission, and front-wheel drive. Models with the larger engine, automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive lose 1 mpg in highway driving. Opting for all-wheel drive drops fuel economy to 24/29 mpg city/highway.

2016 Mazda CX-5 Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the CX-5 can tow up to 2,000 pounds.

Read more about CX-5 performance »

2016 CX-5 Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 CX-5 Seat?

The CX-5 technically seats five, but like many small crossovers, everyone will be more comfortable with only four occupants. Up front, there are comfortable seats and plenty of room, while two adults will fit easily in the second row.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Mazda CX-5?

There are full sets of LATCH child-seat connectors on the CX-5's outboard second-row seats. The middle seat has a top tether anchor and the ability to borrow lower anchors from either side. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the CX-5's LATCH system a Marginal rating – the second-lowest score – for ease of use.

2016 Mazda CX-5 Features

The 2016 CX-5 doesn't come standard with an infotainment system or other cool tech features – though some features are available. It has a 7-inch display that is easily controlled by a central knob on the console. Models without the infotainment system have traditional knobs and buttons for functions like audio and climate. They are clearly labeled and easy to reach.

See 2016 Mazda CX-5 specs »

Read more about CX-5 interior »

2016 Mazda CX-5 Dimensions

Mazda CX-5 Cargo Space

There's 34.1 cubic feet of cargo room behind the CX-5's rear seats and a maximum of 64.8 cubic feet with the seats folded.

2016 CX-5 Length and Weight

The CX-5 is nearly 15 feet long. It has a curb weight of 3,212 pounds with front-wheel drive and the manual transmission and 3,589 pounds with all-wheel drive and the automatic transmission.

Where Was the 2016 Mazda CX-5 Built?

Mazda assembled the 2016 CX-5 at the Hiroshima Plant in Aki, Hiroshima, Japan.

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