2022 Mazda CX 5, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
2022 Mazda CX 5 Turbo First Test: Not Trying to Be Everything to Everybody
With only one larger flaw, you’d never guess this superb SUV is six years old.
mazda cx-5 Full Overview
- Classic good looks
- Excellent safety ratings
- Fantastic to drive
- Poor efficiency,
- Short driving range
- Heavy steering
Don’t overlook the 2022 Mazda CX 5 simply because the design is six years old. The truth? Age hasn’t affected the CX-5 the way it does most cars on five- or six-year redesign cycles. It takes just one spirited drive to be reminded of how timeless good performance can be. And with the attractive CX-5, a backward glance in a parking lot has the same effect.
As Mazda continues to iterate on a successful formula, we tested a turbocharged 2022 CX-5 Signature with a $40,595 price tag to see how the completely loaded compact SUV measures up, and what holds it back.
Wait, didn’t we do this just last year? Well, yes and no. The 2021 CX-5 introduced a new 10.3-inch screen that sits proudly at the top of the dash on every trim. For 2022, more changes are in store, but this time they’re more felt than seen. Sure, there are a handful of subtle exterior tweaks, but the more significant changes start with every CX-5 now coming with standard AWD. Mazda has also retuned—but not replaced—its six-speed automatic transmission and updated the suspension to make the ride more comfortable.
What didn’t change are the two engine options. Most 2022 CX-5s will be powered by a 187-hp 2.5-liter naturally aspirated I-4. But not the CX-5 Turbo Signature. At the top of the range, that flagship model is one of two trims with a turbocharged version of the same engine, good for 227 hp and 310 lb-ft if you stick with 87-octane fuel or 256 hp and 320 lb-ft on 93-octane fuel.
At The Track: Good, Not Great
Offering a non-hybrid engine upgrade puts the 2022 CX-5 against the trend in compact SUVs. We’ve seen competitors drop their non-hybrid go-faster engine options, but it’s no surprise to see Mazda still playing in this space. Accelerating to 60 mph took 6.8 seconds in our testing, which is good or meh depending on your chosen competitive set.
At just over 40 grand, the 2022 CX-5 Turbo Signature nearly costs as much as a Genesis GV70 2.5T or Acura RDX, and both of those luxury SUVs outrun the Mazda (6.0 and 6.4 seconds, respectively). Against a Ford Escape 2.0T, however, the CX-5 regains a bit of its luster. The Ford reaches 60 in 6.9 seconds while the Toyota RAV4 XSE, a sporty 219-hp hybrid trim of that best-selling SUV, hits the same benchmark speed in 7.1 seconds.
Then there’s the CX-5 itself for comparison. A non-turbo CX-5 needs 8.3 seconds for the same sprint to 60, a 1.5-second difference that could help justify the thousands of dollars you’ll need jumping from 2.5 S Premium Plus to the 2.5 Turbo or 2.5 Turbo Signature trims.
Remarkably, the 2022 CX-5 Turbo Signature completes the MotorTrend figure-eight course in the exact same 27.7 seconds at an average of 0.61 g. The figure-eight test is the relatively compact way we evaluate acceleration, handling, and braking, as well as the transitions in between. In this case, the two turbocharged CX-5s are limited by a stability control system that’s proactive at the limit.
Even so, the CX-5’s figure-eight performance is about even with the RAV4 XSE hybrid (27.6 seconds at 0.63 g average), Escape 2.0T (27.7 seconds at 0.64 g average), and the non-turbo CX-5 (27.8 seconds at 0.59 g average).
On the track, road test editor Chris Walton commented on the CX-5’s “good, not great” power and said there wasn’t a ton of grip from the tires under braking. Drive a little slower and the Mazda delivers more fun per mile than you might think possible on a sensible SUV. We appreciate the burbling engine sound, and the updated suspension feels like a real improvement.
Also, the steering feel gives confidence in every drive; the overall package is good enough that it’ll remind you what it felt like to go out for a drive just because. On the other hand, we wish the SUV was more refined at idle, there’s occasionally a bit of torque steer, and we wouldn’t mind lighter-weight steering. The heavy steering sets the Mazda apart, but the automaker could still be the go-to brand for fun-to-drive cars without steering that can be tiring.
$40K For A Mazda? How Fancy Are These Pants?
The Mazda CX-5’s design has aged well. Its curves are vaguely premium, a description you could easily apply to the dash. A wide swath of leather-like material just above and below the central air vents frees the upper dashboard from clutter and reminds us of high-end clothing stores with more free space than actual clothes for sale.
The design detail is honestly more impressive than the subtle genuine wood trim, which is unique to the Signature trim. Seat comfort was addressed for 2022 and we had no complaints, not something we could say about the 2021 model. The Caturra Brown Nappa leather is also Signature-exclusive, but the brown is so dark that you may not realize it isn’t black unless seen in the right light.
The CX-5 continues a Mazda tradition of excellent knee pads. We’re not kidding—whether you seek out every curved two-lane road or live your life one traffic-choked commute at a time, a soft knee pad on the Carbon Edition and higher trims is a premium feature many luxury cars don’t get right. Not everything is class-above inside. Not having a panoramic moonroof is one area (hello, CX-50!) and the instrument cluster’s central 7.0-inch display is the other.
At $40,595, we’d like more functionality from that screen or a larger display, something we’re starting to see on some of the CX-5’s competitors. A 360-degree camera system with a front corner view is a good feature to have at this price point, as are heated and ventilated front seats—although we wish the ventilation was quieter and the low-positioned controls for heating/ventilation were easier to use.
A 10.3-inch screen is standard on every CX-5—and that’s great not just for its size but also its position at the top of the dash. Not everyone will like that it’s not a touchscreen while in motion, but with practice, the rotary dial works fine.
What Money Can’t Buy
Perhaps the most delightful surprise from this six-year-old vehicle are the superb safety ratings. With a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars) and a 2022 Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Practicality is also mostly a CX-5 win. The rear doors open wide, a convenience you’ll appreciate over time if you regularly fill that space with a child seat, stuff, or friends. Putting the rear-seat USBs in the center console with room for a phone is a genius move that makes a ton of sense as long as you have only two passengers back there.
Also, folding down the rear seats is no problem thanks to controls in the cargo area. As we’ve noted for years, however, the CX-5 isn’t as spacious in its rear seat or cargo area as the roomiest in the segment.
CX-5 2.5 S Vs. 2.5 Turbo
So the CX-5 is attractive, practical, and vaguely premium. More so than with its dated instrument cluster screen, though, the CX-5 Turbo misses the mark in terms of efficiency and the effect it has on driving range. With EPA ratings at 22/27 mpg city/highway, that’s lower than the Escape 2.0T (22/31 mpg), RAV4 Hybrid (41/38 mpg), and even the new CX-50 with the same engine (23/29 mpg).
With a combined city/highway driving range of 367 miles, the CX-5 Turbo will require a fill up more often than any of those SUVs. In case you’re wondering, the non-turbo CX-5 kicks in another 28 miles of range before needing more gas. If the ultimate luxury is time, we hope a future CX-5 will provide a larger gas tank, greater efficiency, or both to increase the time between visits to the gas station.
The CX-5 Turbo Signature is a tempting package. Somehow, Mazda has made an older entry feel fresh. Where the SUV stumbles is mpg, range, and a couple minor tech issues. We could get over the last disadvantage, but the first two give us pause. If that sounds like you, too, we strongly recommend saving nearly five grand and getting the most loaded non-turbo trim you can find. Even without a turbo, the Mazda CX-5’s magic is clearly evident—even after all these years.
2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo AWD Signature Specifications
|PRICE AS TESTED||$40,595|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||2.5L Turbo direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|POWER (SAE NET)||227 hp @ 5,000 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,803 lb (59/41%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||180.1 x 72.6 x 65.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.8 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.3 sec @ 90.2 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||132 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.77 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||27.7 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||22/27/24 mpg|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||367 miles|
Zach Gale – Writer
William Walker – Photographer
- HIGHS: Beautifully sculpted bodywork, delightfully athletic and equally refined, decidedly more premium than competitors.
- LOWS: Non-turbo engine needs more oomph, can only tow up to 2000 pounds, unremarkable cargo capacity.
- VERDICTThe CX-5 is a masterclass in making a mainstream SUV feel like it belongs in high society.
More than any other mainstream compact crossover, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 makes its driver feel special. With a price tag that’s much closer to a Honda CR-V’s than a Porsche Macan’s, the Mazda is accessible to the same demographic group as the former, but it’s also able to the impress those who fall into the latter’s tax bracket. The CX-5’s base four-cylinder engine doesn’t highlight its dynamic driving personality as well as the optional turbocharged four, but all models have a ride-and-handling balance that’s unrivaled in this segment.
There are more practical alternatives, especially when it concerns cargo space, but no competitors can match the Mazda’s elegantly styled and richly appointed interior. The 2022 CX-5’s transcendent traits simply outpace all of its classmates, so we put it on our 2022 Editors’ Choice list.
What’s New for 2022?
For 2022, Mazda massages the CX-5’s already attractive bodywork with smoother surfaces on the front and rear. Its grille also becomes more distinctive with a new three-dimensional mesh texture and wings that extend outwards toward the reshaped LED headlights. Inside, the seats have been updated to be more supportive. Mazda says it also retuned the transmission to be smoother and more responsive. Likewise, suspension improvements are said to make the CX-5 handle and ride even better than before.
All models now come standard with all-wheel drive, and the SUV’s driving behavior is more adjustable thanks to new drive-mode settings. The Grand Touring Reserve trim is now called Turbo, and the top-tier Signature trim has body-color cladding instead of the previous dark color. The turbo four’s engine horsepower increases by 6 to 256 horses when using premium fuel.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We think the new Turbo trim best exemplifies the CX-5. With the upgraded 256-hp turbocharged engine, its quickness better corresponds with its athletic handling. Its exterior is elegantly sporty with trim-specific gloss-black accents. Its interior mirrors that sportiness with red accents and stitching.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The CX-5’s standard 187-hp four-cylinder engine has great throttle response when pulling away from stoplights or hustling around town, so it feels quicker than it actually is. It’s at higher speeds, such as when trying to pass or merge onto the freeway, that it feels underpowered. The 250-hp turbocharged version we tested provided much quicker acceleration. Both engines pair with a snappy six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. You don’t need to drive the CX-5 hard to enjoy it or to appreciate its excellence.
Sure, its precise steering and composed cornering make for one helluva Sunday cruise. But it also soaks up rough roads without commotion and has the ride quality of crossovers that cost twice as much. This harmonious interplay of dynamics is unrivaled by its competitors. Pavement imperfections are isolated, road noise is minimal, and the damping is neither stiff nor floaty. At the same time, the Mazda comes alive on curvy roads. The electrically assisted steering provides satisfying responses.
The Signature model we tested had a reassuring brake-pedal feel that operated without delay and without being too touchy when you apply the brakes.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
With two engine options, the CX-5 has two fuel-economy ratings. The base 2.5-liter engine is rated at 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The more powerful turbocharged engine is rated at 22 mpg city and 27 highway. We’ve tested both on our 75-mph highway route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, and the standard engine returned 32 mpg compared with the turbo four’s 30 mpg result. For more information about the CX-5’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Wake up inside the top-tier CX-5 models and you might think you’ve been abducted by kidnappers driving an Audi or a Mercedes. First-rate materials and a fabulous layout make it feel especially upscale. The floor-hinged accelerator pedal feels better than the more common version that is suspended above the floor, the well-crafted steering wheel is directly in front of the driver and not offset at a slight angle, and all of the front-seat armrests are at the same height for optimal comfort.
Sacrifices come in small packages: in this case, the CX-5 held just nine carry-on suitcases behind its rear seats in our testing. The storage bay does benefit from a completely flat load floor. There are also several nooks and crannies in the cabin to store smartphones and other small items. For instance, the center console has a deep tray at the front and a useful bin with a removable shelf.
Every model boasts a 10.3-inch infotainment display that’s primarily manipulated through a rotary controller and volume knob on the center console. The interface also operates through voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the board. The CX-5 comes with Mazda Connected Services that includes access to remote vehicle functions via a smartphone app and a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
View Crash Test Results
The CX-5 comes standard with a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance technology and some other optional assists. For more information about the CX-5’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Standard adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Kia and Hyundai both offer better warranty coverage than Mazda, and some other automakers that play in this segment offer complimentary maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2021 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED
$39,400 (base price: $38,680)
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
152 in3, 2488 cm3
250 @ 5000 rpm
320 @ 2500 rpm
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 12.6-in vented disc/11.9-in disc
Tires: Toyo A36, P225/55R-19 99V M+S
Wheelbase: 106.2 in
Length: 179.1 in
Width: 72.5 in
Height: 65.3 in
Passenger volume: 102 ft3
Cargo volume: 31 ft3
Curb weight: 3809 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 6.1 sec
100 mph: 16.9 sec
110 mph: 22.3 sec
1/4 mile: 14.7 sec @ 94 mph
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.2 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.6 sec
Top speed (governor limited): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 ft
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 21 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 24/22/27 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
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