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2022 Mazda CX-5

The well-equipped Mazda CX-5 compact crossover, with standard all-wheel drive, offers style and spirit in its curvy lines and good handling, as well as superb safety.

The CX-5 was last redesigned five years ago, and for 2022 it gets a lot of changes, starting with a fresh face with new LED headlights, new alloy wheels, and a new tail. The chassis has been made stiffer, as has the suspension (struts in front and multi-link rear) with firmer dampers. The 6-speed automatic is more responsive.

There are two engines, a 2.5-liter inline-4 making 187 horsepower, and a turbo-4 that makes 227 horsepower. The base CX-5 AWD comes in at a solid 24 mpg city, 30 highway, 26 combined as tested by the EPA. The turbo-4 version gets 22/27/24 mpg.

The safety scores are even better, with five overall stars from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors.

Model Lineup

Made in Japan, the CX-5 comes as a Sport, S Select, S Preferred, Turbo or Turbo Signature for 2022.

The Sport for $27,125 comes with cloth seats having power adjustment for the driver, and a 10.3-inch screen that’s not a touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. The infotainment function is at the console with a dial and switches.

The S Preferred for $30,385 adds leather, power front seats, sunroof, and a power liftgate.

The Turbo for $37,625 brings the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, a head-up display, and 19-inch alloy wheels.

The Turbo Signature for $39,875 adds nappa leather, wood and chrome trim, ambient lighting, navigation, parking sensors, and a surround-view camera system.

The standard warranty is 3 years or 36,000 miles.

Exterior

The exterior design is confident, and doesn’t presume that viewers need to be grabbed by the lapels. A long hood and short deck are separated by sweet curves that are nicely rounded and arched over the wheels. The slim LED headlights grow wings when they’re lit, and appear to fly over the recessed grille.

Interior

The interior shows that same kind of confidence. The low dash affords an easy view of the road, over the sloping hood. The clean instrument panel presents no distraction. Most CX-5s come in black-on-black, and somehow, instead of coming across as dark, it imparts class like a tuxedo. The wood trim and available nappa leather add warmth.

The front seats are plush and well bolstered, good for either long freeway trips or sporty jaunts. The base Sport has cloth seats with manual adjustment; you have to move up in trim packages to get heating and power.

The rear seat isn’t wide enough for three passengers to be comfortable, not even with a huge 40 inches of leg room, but two fit easily on its back bench—which when folded nearly doubles the cargo space from 31 cubic feet to 60 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

In base spec, the CX-5 has moderate acceleration. It takes nearly nine seconds for the base 2.5-liter engine to reach 60 mph, and its 6-speed automatic feels like it could use two or three more gears.

The Turbo brings 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet, along with some lag, and the same transmission. It can hit 60 mph in about 7.5 seconds, which will be quick enough for most buyers. A Sport mode allows the engine to rev more before upshifting, and brings better throttle response.

Precise steering is the CX-5’s dynamic forte. There’s solid feedback at the hefty steering wheel, making a driver forget they’re behind the wheel of an SUV, on winding roads. It leans a bit in turns as any SUV will, but not as much. The firm suspension inspires confidence, and allows the driver to push things in corners; yet over bumps it isn’t one bit harsh. The standard 17-inch wheels ride better than the bigger 19s.

The all-wheel-drive system can send half the power to the rear wheels when traction is needed back there. It’s designed for secure handling in slippery conditions like rain, snow and ice, not off-road. There’s only 7.5 inches of ground clearance anyhow, which is an inch or more less than rivals that focus more on off-road capability.

Final Word

The 2022 Mazda CX-5 looks handsome, and its ride, handling, and turbo powertrain live up to that high standard. With standard all-wheel drive and excellent safety, it’s a great small-crossover choice, particularly in turbocharged form.

 

—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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