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Mazda CX-5: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide

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The Mazda CX-5 is the most exciting car in the world’s least exciting automotive segment. What do you need to know before you buy a Mazda CX-5? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.


Mazda is having a product renaissance right now, with nearly every product in their portfolio situated as, or among, the best in their segment. That distinction carries over to the CX-5 crossover, which is the best handing and most fun to drive vehicle you can buy in this size in this price range. It helps that the CX-5 is also built on the same platform as the equally good Mazda6 and Mazda3.

Did we mention you can get it with a stick? You can get it with a stick.

Granted, not everyone cares about performance in this space, which is why the CX-5 isn’t always the most popular choice. There are bigger crossovers for people who want extra space and there are better AWD systems. What the Mazda bring to the table is a 2.0-liter Skyactiv engine that brings 35 MPG on the highway when paired with the six-speed, which is the best for any crossover in this class.

What’s New About The 2016 Mazda CX-5:

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The current generation Mazda CX-5 has been out since the 2013 model year and has received some major updates since its launch including a new powertrain. For 2016, the CX-5 gets a new center console, a new electronic park brake, standard Bluetooth capability, and an available new 7-inch display. Also new for 2016, the 2.0-liter model is no longer available with an automatic transmission.

Powertrain Breakdown

Mazda offers two engines on their CX-5s. The engine that the CX-5 launched with in 2013, the 2.0-liter, is a bit down on power, only pumping out 155 horses. But the 2.5-liter engine that launched in 2014 makes quite a bit more power and torque, at 184 HP and 185 lb-ft, respectively.


All 2.5-liter CX-5s are backed by 6-speed automatic transmissions, while all 2.0-liter models come with the 6-speed manual. That’s right, folks, if you want to row your own, you’ll have to make do with the smaller motor.

2016 Mazda CX-5 Engine Options

EngineMax Horsepower (hp)Max Torque (lb-ft)
2.0L I4155 @ 6000 rpm150 @ 4000 rpm
2.5L I4184 @ 5700 rpm185 @ 3250 rpm

Fuel Economy Breakdown

But it’s not all bad for us manual-loving enthusiasts. Even though we’ll have to make do with a meager 155 horsepower, we’ll enjoy a whopping 35 mpg on the highway. That’s better fuel economy than many compact sedans.


The more powerful 2.5-liter mill does pretty well in 2-wheel drive form, pumping out 33 mpg on the highway. Unsurprisingly, the 4WD CX-5 with the larger engine manages the lowest fuel economy numbers, but at 30 mpg highway, does quite well.

2016 Mazda CX-5 Fuel Economy Ratings (City/Highway/Combined)

2.0L I4
2.5L I4
Fuel Economy - Manual
26/35/29 [2wd]
Fuel Economy - Auto
NA26/33/29 [2wd]
24/30/26 [4wd]

Trim Level Breakdown

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All CX-5s come with a multilink rear suspension, McPherson Strut front suspension, and electric power steering. Front disks are ventilated 11.7 inch units, and the rears are solid 11.9 inch rotors.

CX-5s come in three trims: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring.

  • Sport: Base model. Starts at $21,795. Notable standard features: 6-speed manual transmission, 2.0-liter I4 engine, cloth seats, 17 inch aluminum wheels, 225/65/R17 all-season tires, air conditioning, power windows and locks, cruise control, Bluetooth capability, tilt/telescoping steering column, 60/40 folding bench, 4-speaker audio system, front and side airbags. Notable options: Rear Camera Package: backup camera, 7 inch touchscreen display for infotainment system ($400); Automatic transmission with 2.5-liter engine ($1,400); All-wheel drive+2.5-liter engine+automatic ($2,650).
  • Touring: Starts at $25,215. Notable standard features over sport: 2.5-liter I4 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, 7 inch infotainment touchscreen display, 6-speaker audio system, power driver’s seat with manual lumbar support, 40/20/40 folding bench, premium cloth seats. Notable options: All-wheel drive ($1,250); Bose/Moonroof Package: Nine-speaker sound system plus moonroof ($1,130); Technology Package: navigation, LED headlights and foglights, adaptive headlights, rain-sensing wipers, collision warning ($1,625+Bose/Moonroof Package).
  • Grand Touring: Starts at $28,220. Notable standard features over Touring: leather power heated seats with power lumbar support, rain sensing wipers, power moonroof, heated mirrors, 19 inch wheels, dual zone climate control, nicer door trim, Bose 9-speaker audio system, satellite radio. Notable options: i-ACTIVESENSE package: Radar cruise control with proximity warning, lane departure warning, and high beam control ($1,500); Grand Touring Technology package: navigation, LED headlights and foglights, adaptive headlights, collision warning ($1,505); All-wheel drive ($1,250).

Which One We’d Buy

The sweet spot for us is still the Sport version with the smaller Skyactiv engine and the six-speed manual. You’re getting diesel/hybrid-like mileage, you get to use your left foot, and it comes with a nice enough interior. The Mazda CX-5 is a lot of car and if you’re only spending $22,000 for it you’re going to have something you can feel comfortable abusing. [Build Your Own]


Important Facts At A Glance:

MSRP: $21,795 - $28,220 Max Advertised Towing Capability: 2,000 pounds

MPG: 26 city/ 35 hwy / 29 combined [2wd 2.0L] Engines: 2.0-liter I4, 2.5-liter I4


Curb Weight: ~3,210-3,590 pounds IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick +

Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed Automatic

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, FWD/AWD

Photo credit: Mazda




I’ve had my 2013 CX5 Sport 6spd manual for 3 yrs and 60,000 miles. Ask me anything fellow Jalops!
PS: My “real-world” fuel economy is 29.8mpg averaged over said 60,000 miles according to the onboard trip meter. I live in FL, so no elevation changes, and I do 70% of my 50 mile per day commute on the highway (topping out at 80mph if there is no traffic).
PPS: The manual is geared low enough to chirp tires getting on 1st and shifting to 2nd at redline, even with the smaller engine. Just don’t expect to win any drag races mmmkay?