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A black 2024 Mazda CX-5 for sale is shown parked on a road,

Mazda CX-5: Compact Excellence

The Mazda CX-5 has been winning the hearts of auto reviewers from Day One. As Car and Driver says, “It’s got as many Car and Driver Ten Best Awards as it does tires.” [a link] And it remains a critical favorite, with U.S. News and World Report asking if it’s still good and then answering their own question with “Yes, the 2024 CX-5 is an excellent compact SUV.“ [b link] There’s good reason for all that CX-5 love; it’s a terrific driver’s car, defying the SUV stereotype of being top-heavy and lacking handling. So, if you’re considering looking for a new Mazda CX-5 for sale, there’s a long list of reasons why you’re on the right track.

The Mazda CX-5 serves as sort of a centerpiece in Mazda’s SUV lineup, bridging the gap between the smaller CX-30 and the larger CX-9. It’s also slightly smaller and less expensive than its newer stablemate, the CX-50. The CX-5, as always, showcases Mazda’s commitment to blending driving enjoyment with everyday practicality, a philosophy deeply rooted in the brand’s design principles, emphasizing a harmonious connection between car and driver.

With its sleek “Kodo” design language and an interior that’s a notch above others in its class, the CX-5 competes in a crowded segment. It squares off against the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, both segment staples known for their reliability and resale value. However, Mazda differentiates itself with a focus on a sportier driving experience and a more premium feel. Its feature set includes advanced safety and technology offerings, which keep it competitive and attractive to consumers who seek a more engaging driving experience without compromising the utility and affordability of a compact SUV.

A white 2024 Mazda CX-5 is shown driving on a city street.


The Mazda CX-5 offers two engines within its lineup. The primary option found in most trim levels is the Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter, four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine equipped with cylinder deactivation for enhanced efficiency. The 2024 model sees the addition of i-Stop technology, which contributes to an improved EPA-estimated fuel economy of 26 MPG city, 31 MPG highway, and 28 MPG combined. This powertrain delivers 187 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque on any fuel blend.

For those seeking more vigor, Mazda provides the Skyactiv-G 2.5 Turbo engine. This is the standard motor in the CX-5’s three Turbo editions. On premium 93 octane fuel, this engine pumps out 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. When using regular 87 octane, it still offers a substantial 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Both engines—the normally aspirated one and the turbo—are paired with a responsive six-speed automatic transmission that includes manual and sport modes.

The driving experience benefits from G-Vectoring Control Plus for enhanced power distribution and handling. Also boosting handling and traction on all driving surfaces is Mazda’s i-Activ AWD (all-wheel drive) system, which is standard on all CX-5 trims. Mazda offers an optional system called Intelligent Drive Select Technology, or Mi-Drive, which lets you further select the perfect driving mode for all conditions. Selections include Normal, Off-Road, and Sport.

What does it add up to, as perceived from the driver’s seat? Car and Driver refers to its “great throttle response” and “precise steering and composed cornering.” Motor Trend describes it as having “agile handling and responsive steering” and notes, “…the CX-5 is geared more toward sporty driving dynamics but remains practical thanks to its relatively spacious interior.”


Mazda refers to its suite of safety features as i-Activsense. It’s designed to avoid accidents altogether and, if the worst happens, to mitigate a crash. The CX-5 takes safety to a level above much of its competition in this segment, with features you won’t find elsewhere, like Advanced Smart City Brake Support (SCBS).

Advanced SCBS is an exceptionally sophisticated collision avoidance technology that goes beyond the usual warning of a pedestrian or vehicle ahead. If it detects a pedestrian, it warns you at a greater distance to ensure you’re aware of the person. If it senses an impending collision, it activates its advanced brake control system. Furthermore, this system includes Day and Night-time Pedestrian Detection for safety at all hours.

An aid to commuters is Mazda’s Traffic Jam Assist, which helps to alleviate driver strain in congested traffic conditions on expressways and highways. It keeps a constant distance from the vehicle ahead of you without using the gas or brake pedals. It also steers your car within the lane. It’s not hands-free driving, but it’s heaven-sent during rush hour.

Another noteworthy safety feature is the 360 View Monitor, which lets you view your surroundings from the front, rear, side, and overhead. It includes guidelines and warnings for easier parking. Smart City Brake Support Reverse will apply the brakes if it senses an approaching vehicle while you’re backing out of a parking space. The Driver Attention Alert feature monitors information from the vehicle’s sensors at highway speed to sense whether the driver may be fatigued and prompt the driver to pull off the highway and rest. Now, that’s smart safety technology!

And it pays off, too. The CX-5, like every tested Mazda vehicle, won the 2023 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award. It also achieved a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the US government’s auto safety rating agency.

The black interior and dash of a 2024 Mazda CX-5 is shown.

Interior Amenities

Reviewers rate the CX-5’s interior as being a class above its competition. Even the base trim, the CX-5 2.5 S Select, gets black leatherette upholstery and three-level heated front seats. The driver’s front seat is power-adjustable. Other premium touches include dual-zone climate control, rear privacy glass, and Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry. The shifter knob is wrapped in leather.

Technology in this entry-level trim includes a 10.25-inch color display with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are all standard, as is a six-speaker stereo system. A Wi-Fi hotspot and four USB ports are also standard. So, as you can see, even the “base” trim of the CX-5 would be considered the premium level of many other compact vehicles.

From there, it only gets better. The Preferred trim level adds a power moonroof and power tailgate. The Carbon Edition, in addition to a distinctive exterior trim package, also adds a black or red leather interior and a 10-speaker Bose sound system. The Premium package adds Mi-Drive, paddle shifters, and contrasting color stitching. The Premium Plus edition adds the heads-up Active Driving Display, optional Traffic Sign Recognition for the navigation system, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and much more.

At the top of the pile, we step up to the three Turbo editions. In the Carbon Turbo edition, in addition to the upgraded engine, you’ll find luxurious Terracotta leather-trimmed seats with black suede inserts and contrasting stitching, a theme that continues throughout the cabin. The Turbo Premium Edition includes pretty much every amenity and safety technology. And finally, there’s the Turbo Signature edition with Caturra Brown Nappa leather and LED interior lighting.

Prices for 2024 start at $29,300 for the base 2.5 S Select trim, a very reasonable price for the upscale features and interior that come with this trim. From there, prices rise to $40,600 for the 2.5 Turbo Signature edition.

So, while the CX-5 has been around for a while, it has only gotten better with age. It has continued to maintain its position as both a driver-oriented SUV and a value proposition, considering its premium nature. Compact SUV buyers should definitely still put the CX-5 at the top of their list.