Launched in 2012 for the 2013 model year, the Mazda CX-5 is one of the newest crossovers on the market. Sharing its platform with the smaller Mazda3 and Mazda6 sedans, the CX-5 was Mazda’s first vehicle featuring the new KODO design language and the company’s SkyActiv technology. Available in North America since 2013, the U.S.-spec CX-5 is offered with two engines. Coming into 2016, the Mazda CX-5 is set to receive its first mid-cycle facelift.

In 2014, the CX-5 lagged behind its main rivals in terms of sales, as it only managed to deliver 99,122 units. While selling nearly 100,000 units is never a bad thing, the CX-5 plays in a popular segment where the class leader, the Honda CR-V, saw 355,019 units roll off of dealer lots and to new homes.

Will the CX-5’s refresh be enough to put a dent in the CR-V’s sales numbers in 2015?

Click past the jump to read our full review and find out.

Updated 02/11/2015: Mazda announced prices for the 2016 CX-5, which will be put on sale later in the spring.

  • 2016 Mazda CX-5
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    155 @ 6000
  • MPG(Cty):
    26
  • MPG(Hwy):
    35
  • Torque @ RPM:
    150 @ 4000
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    21795 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Spy Shots

August 13, 2014 - First testing session

2016 Mazda CX-5 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Mazda CX-5 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Mazda CX-5 Exterior Spyshots
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The first thing that catches the eye on the test vehicle is the new front grille. Although it sports a similar shape, the piece ditched its honeycomb pattern for four horizontal slats and a revised Mazda emblem. The headlamps have also been redesigned to integrate daytime running lights. As a result, the DRL units previously seen in the lower apron have disappeared. The rest of the front fascia carries over unchanged, while the side mirrors come with integrated indicator lights. Around back, everything remains untouched save for the taillights, which now feature new graphics.

We expect the interior to remain unchanged as well, but we figure Mazda will introduce new color and trim options. Both the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter SkyActiv engines will return with the same output figures for 2015. The former will deliver 155 ponies and 150 pound-feet, while the latter will send 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of twist to the wheels.

Exterior

2016 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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Though it’s not mentioned in the press release, it also appears as if the fog light surround has been reworked to better match the new grille.

For the 2016 model year, the changes to the CX-5 are very subtle, but they certainly are noticeable. In the comparison images (below) you can see that the new grille has horizontal bars with metallic grey fins in place of the mesh from the 2015 model. The headlights are also very slightly revised, as Mazda revamped the guts and added a new LED signature. Though it’s not mentioned in the press release, it also appears as if the fog light surround has been reworked to better match the new grille.

The Profile of the 2016 CX-5 remains unchanged, but you may notice that the optional 19-inch wheels feature a new design, as revamped machining gives them more of a 3D look.

On the rear, the changes are nearly unnoticeable, as all Mazda did was add a new LED signature to the taillights. What’s more, this signature is an option, so only certain CX-5s will look different from the rear.

The final change for the 2015 model year is the addition of two new colors: Sonic Silver Metallic and Titanium Flash Mica (my personal favorite).

Otherwise than these minor changes, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 remains the same great-looking crossover that I spent time driving back in 2014. In my opinion, I think it is one of the best-looking crossovers available.

2015 CX-5 Vs. 2016 CX-5

2016 Mazda CX-5
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2016 Mazda CX-5
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Exterior Dimensions

Length 178.7 Inches
Width 72.4 Inches
Height 65.7 Inches
Wheelbase 106.3 Inches

Interior

2016 Mazda CX-5 Interior
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2016 Mazda CX-5 Interior
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2016 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Interior
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Storing your cell phone and other random items is now easier thanks to increased capacity in the storage cubbies throughout the SUV.

Inside the CX-5, Mazda went to work by first enhancing the fit and finish of everything you may see or touch. This includes using more upscale materials and making sure all of the panels fit together cleanly. One huge improvement I can see right of the bat is the leather surrounding the touchscreen. My hand touched that panel numerous times on any given trip, and to have it now coated in soft leather is a nice touch. Mazda also reworked the seats for added comfort and upped the sound deadening to reduce road noise.

The biggest visual change to the cabin takes place between the front seats, as the center console and center stack were heavily revised. The audio system now has no buttons surrounding it, the HVAC controls have been reduced from three knobs to just two, and there is now a knob on the center console that controls the new Mazda Connect car connectivity system.

Storing your cell phone and other random items is now easier thanks to increased capacity in the storage cubbies throughout the SUV. These cubbies include the open area in front of the shifter, the cup holders, the console box, and the front door pockets.

With these changes, the Mazda CX-5 becomes an even better SUV to some spend time in. When I had my tester in 2014, I took a trip from Tampa to Jacksonville and back with three passengers, and there was not a single complaint. The ride was smooth, comfortable, and quiet enough.

2015 Mazda CX-5 Vs. 2016 CX-5

2016 Mazda CX-5
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Drivetrain

2016 Mazda CX-5 Drivetrain
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One of the CX-5’s biggest selling points is its fuel economy, which starts at 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined with the 2.0-liter engine.

Mazda has struck gold with its Skyactiv technology, particularly in its powerplants, as they deliver ample power and great fuel economy. So it’s no surprise that the 2016 CX-5 continues on with the same two engines as the 2015 model.

The base engine is a 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder that produces 155 horses at 6,000 rpm and 150 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The optional 2.5-liter engine – also a Skyactiv-G – delivers 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 184 pound-feet of torque at 3,250 revs. The base transmission is the six-speed Skyactiv-MT manual, which is only available with the 2.0-liter, and the optional gear swapper is the Skyactiv-Drive six-speed auto that comes exclusively with the 2.5-liter.

In its base setup, the CX-5 delivers its power only to the front wheels, but Mazda’s next-generation all-wheel drive is available as an option with the 2.5-liter engine.

One of the CX-5’s biggest selling points is its fuel economy, which starts at 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined with the 2.0-liter engine. Moving into the 2.5-liter with front-wheel drive drops those numbers to 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined, while adding all-wheel drive lowers the numbers to 24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine SKYACTIV-G 2.0 SKYACTIV-G 2.5
Output 155 HP @ 6,000 RPM 184 HP @ 5,700 RPM
Torque 150 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM 185 LB-FT @ 3,250 RPM
Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined) 26 / 35 / 29 26 / 33 / 29 (FWD) ; 24 / 30 / 26 (AWD

Prices

2016 Mazda CX-5 Exterior
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Model Price
FWD
Mazda CX-5 Sport MT $21,795
Mazda CX-5 Sport AT $23,195
Mazda CX-5 Touring AT $25,215
Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AT $28,220
AWD
Mazda CX-5 AWD Sport AT $24,445
Mazda CX-5 AWD Touring AT $26,465
Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AT $29,470

Competitors

Honda CR-V

2015 - 2016 Honda CR-V High Resolution Exterior
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For 2015, the Honda CR-V received a pretty significant update, including a fully redesigned front fascia and an updated rear end. Under its hood, however, things remain the same with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that develops 185 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 181 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 revs. As for fuel economy, the 2015 CR-V gets 27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined with front-wheel drive. Moving into all-wheel drive pushes those numbers down to 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined.

In terms of pricing, the CR-V starts out at $23,445 for the base LX and ranges all the way up to $31,645 for the range-topping Touring trim level. Unlike the CX-5, the CR-V is available with all-wheel drive across its entire lineup, but it increases the price range to $24,695 for the LX to $32,895 for the Touring.

Ford Escape

2014 Ford Escape High Resolution Exterior
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Completely redesigned for the 2013 model year, the Ford Escaped is more aerodynamic than its predecessor and makes use of the company’s active grille shutter system. A popular choice among U.S. customers and a strong competitor for both the CR-V and the CX-5, the Escape offers up to 68.1 cubic feet of space with the second row seats folded and comes with Active Park Assist, sensor-based Blind Spot Information, and Torque Vectoring Control.

The current lineup includes three engines. The entry-level model is powered by a 2.5-liter Duratec with 168 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque on tap, while the mid-range Escape is powered by a 1.6-liter EcoBoost that generates 178 ponies and 184 pound-feet. Lastly, the range-topping crossover benefits from the 240 horses and 270 pound-feet of twist provided by Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. The 2015 Ford Escape retails from $22,960 and tops out at $29,245.

Conclusion

2016 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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When I had my weeklong test of the 2015 CX-5, I found it a joy to drive around town and more than capable of handling long-distance journeys. I do wish the refresh was a little more significant for the 2016 model year, but the CX-5 already looked great in my opinion, so I can understand Mazda not wanting to do too much. Unfortunately, not everyone loved the CX-5 as much as I did in 2014, as it ended up in the middle of the pack in sales. Maybe this more mature look will help give it a boost.

  • Leave it
    • * Not much has changed on the outside other than the front end
    • * I would love to see a more powerful engine

Press Release

Standing at the vanguard of Mazda’s new-generation product lineup, CX-5 was the first model to fully adopt SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and the KODO—Soul of Motion design language. The model offered much more than the basic values of utility and practicality that customers expect from an SUV; KODO design imparted a powerful sense of vitality, and SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY delivered high levels of both driving pleasure and environmental and safety performance. Not surprisingly, the model was exceptionally well received by customers around the world, and has grown to become one of the company’s core products alongside Mazda3. Since the launch of the original model, Mazda has made steady refinements to the CX-5 each year, aiming to deliver customers even greater value and sophistication. For this round’s update, the company aimed to bring new levels of depth and maturity to a variety of areas, including design, the quality and functionality of the interior, ride comfort and quietness, as well as safety performance.

2016 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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The 2016 Mazda CX-5 features the following enhancements. While the exterior retains its distinctive SUV looks, the updates to the front grille and other design features refresh the model with the latest design expression of the Mazda brand. For the interior, particular effort went into improving the quality feel of the ornamentation and materials used, and also to improving the functionality and usability of the cockpit zone, based on Mazda’s unique Human-Machine Interface (HMI). Enhancements to dynamic performance include updates to the front and rear seats and suspension system, as well as to sound insulation performance throughout the body. The result is greater ride comfort and cabin quietness that makes time spent in the vehicle more pleasant. Mazda’s renowned AWD system is also updated and real-world fuel economy improved. The 2.5L FWD engine has seen an improvement in its fuel economy as well.

Exterior Design
A sophisticated exterior design that speaks of power and boldness
Launched in 2012, CX-5 was the first production model to adopt Mazda’s KODO design language. Features unique to KODO design, including a front nose with presence, a forward-leaning stance, as well as the rearward placement of the A-pillars and compact cabin, realized an exterior design with a sharper sense of vitality and dynamism. SUV styling completely different from anything that came before has earned the CX-5 high acclaim.

2016 Mazda CX-5 Exterior
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For this round’s update, Mazda added further polish to these unique characteristics in the pursuit of higher quality. The front grille was evolved to create a design that is bolder and tauter, while the eye-like design of the headlamps further heighten the car’s look of vitality. The refreshed CX-5 also adopts a new 19-inch aluminum wheel design and newly developed body colors. Taking to new heights its presence and powerful looks as a crossover SUV, as well as its level of quality, the refreshed CX-5 realizes a sophisticated exterior design that conveys the evolution of the brand.

The front grille was evolved to create a design that is bolder and tauter with horizontal fins painted metallic gray.
The headlamps create an enhanced sense of vitality by adopting a redesigned interior layout and new LED lighting signature (optional with Technology Package).
The rear combination lamps feature an LED lighting signature (optional with Technology Package).
The 19-inch aluminum wheels adopt a new design with machining that highlights a look of three-dimensionality.
The lineup of nine colors includes the newly developed Sonic Silver Metallic and Titanium Flash Mica, which was first applied to Mazda3.

Interior Design & Functions
A higher quality interior that speaks of SUV functionality and power
The interior design for the CX-5 features an expression of SUV power and a driver-oriented space that heightens anticipation of the drive to come.

While retaining a design that supports confident operation by positioning each function where the driver can recognize it at a glance, particular effort for this round’s update went into enhancing the quality of every related detail. The design of the center stack and floor console were greatly evolved, while the coordination of the ornamentation and mating of parts aim to achieve a unified look. In addition to SUV functionality and a look of power, the new interior design conveys a sense of taste and high quality. The refreshed CX-5 adopts a variety of advanced functions, including Mazda Connect*, Mazda’s next-generation car connectivity system, and an Electrical Parking Brake (EPB), while greatly evolving the convenience and ease of use of storage space by increasing the capacity of the door pockets and floor console box.

2016 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The interior fuses a driver-oriented cockpit design based on the Heads-up Cockpit, Mazda’s new Human-Machine Interface (HMI) concept, and SUV functionality and a look of power, as well as a sense of taste and high quality.
Adopting an Electrical Parking Brake (EPB) gives the floor console a clean and uncluttered look of higher quality.
The design features metallic-finish trim that produces solid-looking forms and a sense of power extending out to the sides on a horizontal plane.
Three types of decorative panels are available for the instrument panel: an aluminum-look panel featuring a vertical hairline finish and a thin satin chrome strip, a metallic-finish panel, and a piano black panel.
The refreshed CX-5 continues to offer a black leather interior, as well as black or sand fabric interiors. Leather interior choices include a new Parchment leather offering. For the fabric interiors, the center of the seats adopts newly developed materials.
The Mazda Connect car connectivity system paired with a smartphone makes it easier to take advantage of functions including internet connectivity and access to social networking services.
Storage space with increased capacity includes an open space in front of the shift knob, floor console cup holders and storage for small items, a console box, and front door pockets.

Driving Dynamics
Dynamic performance evolved to deliver greater driving quality and pleasure
CX-5 was the first in the Mazda product lineup to adopt SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY for its engine, transmission, body and chassis. It added further polish to all the basic performance attributes of driving, turning and stopping to realize dynamic performance that delivered driving pleasure with a tangible sense of oneness between the car and driver. The results of this round’s update include the suspension system, NVH performance and seat performance achieving a more sophisticated and higher quality driving experience. The SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission newly adopts Drive Selection, which brings greater pleasure to driving.

The powertrain lineup for the refreshed CX-5 includes the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G direct-injection gasoline engines, and the six-speed automatic SKYACTIV-DRIVE and six-speed manual SKYACTIV-MT transmissions. It also continues to offer Mazda’s new-generation AWD system. All variations deliver the right balance of linear, powerful acceleration, as well as excellent fuel economy and environmental performance.

A smooth, flat ride realized by adopting a new structure for the front and rear dampers and optimizing the bushing shapes for the front lower arms.
Further evolved NVH performance realizes a cabin environment in which occupants can better enjoy conversation while driving. Cabin noise when driving at highway speeds is reduced by approximately 10 percent over the previous model.
The evolved front and rear seat structure provides a feeling of comfortable snugness and a good fit, excellent holding characteristics, as well as ride comfort. The length of the rear seat cushions was also extended, enabling the occupant to relax and sit naturally.
CX-5, powered by a gasoline engine and paired with SKYACTIV-DRIVE, adopts Drive Selection, which allows drivers to switch drive modes for a more responsive driving experience.

2016 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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Safety
i-ACTIVSENSE offers even more support for driver awareness
Mazda pursues safety performance based on its Mazda Proactive Safety*1 philosophy. The fundamental performance of the Mazda CX-5, based on SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, has been further polished. This combines with Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE*2 advanced safety technologies to achieve world-class safety performance, allowing customers to enjoy the drive with peace of mind, whatever the driving scene.

In constant pursuit of providing higher levels of safety, Mazda made a concerted effort with this round’s update to keep the driver more aware of conditions so they can enjoy driving at night or at highway speeds with greater reassurance. The CX-5 also newly adopts features such as Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) and Smart Brake Support (SBS). Supporting the driver with this variety of technologies reduces risks and provides the right condition for driving with reassurance, which results in a reassuring driving experience for all cabin occupants. With this in mind, the updates implemented this round employ a wide range of advanced safety technologies.

*1 Mazda Proactive Safety is Mazda’s safety philosophy that aims to minimize the risks that can lead to an accident and maximize the range of conditions in which the driver can safely operate the vehicle. The various technologies it provides enable the driver to act appropriately through all driving processes, including cognition, judgment, and operation. It thereby helps prevent or minimize damage in the event an accident cannot be avoided. Mazda Proactive Safety will continue to evolve in the future.

*2 i-ACTIVSENSE is an umbrella term covering a series of advanced safety technologies that employ detection devices such as milliwave radar units and cameras to support the driver in recognizing hazards, avoiding collisions, and minimizing damage in the event an accident does occur.

2016 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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Among the variety of i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety technologies, Mazda made a particular effort to keep the driver more aware of conditions so they can enjoy driving at night or at highway speeds with greater reassurance.
Mazda’s Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) detects vehicles approaching from the blind spot areas at the sides and rear. BSM also incorporates Mazda’s Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) function, which alerts the driver when it detects vehicles approaching from either side as the driver backs up.
Available as an additional feature, Smart Brake Support (SBS) helps avoid frontal collisions or minimize damage when travelling mid- to high-speed.
Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) is another additional feature that automatically controls the vehicle speed to maintain the safe following distance in accordance with the target speed set by the driver.

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