Sitting in the middle of the Mazda crossover SUV lineup, the 2018 Mazda CX-5 has attractive styling and a great value. As a compact crossover, the CX-5 is easy to maneuver around town or on the highway. Yet it delivers the cargo and seating versatility that most drivers want from this body style. With three trim levels to choose from, you can easily find a model to fit your budget and needs.
Under the Hood
Every single 2018 CX-5 uses the same 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, a SKYACTIV-G powertrain that delivers 187 horsepower plus 185 pound-feet of torque. Starting this year, this engine can run on just half the cylinders in specific light-load situations to further enhance fuel economy. Amazingly enough, it is impossible to tell when the Mazda takes advantage of this cylinder deactivation unless you know exactly what to look for. All models get a 6-speed automatic transmission. Although front-wheel drive comes standard with the CX-5, you can upgrade to all-wheel drive for enhanced traction and balance.
The Mazda CX-5 is an incredibly stylish vehicle, particularly compared to other crossovers in its price point. There is plenty of detail, including a shield-shaped grille with a delicate ring of plastic in chrome. The rear features smaller taillights than you will find on most other crossovers, plus a simple rear bumper. For those who want to stand out even more, there are three higher-cost paint colors that are worth the upgrade, particularly in red.
The interior of the 2018 Mazda CX-5 delivers a high-end feel, particularly if you go with a higher trim level. The cockpit is driver-centric with thin roof pillars to further enhance the already good visibility. The only downside is that the center console is relatively high, reducing small item storage somewhat. That said, even if you stick to the standard cloth upholstery, you will appreciate the quality. You also can get synthetic leather or soft real leather. The driver can also enjoy power adjustment.
The interior is also supplemented by a long list of standard and available features. All models have a 7-inch touchscreen, power accessories, leather on the gear knob and steering wheel, and LED headlights. You can enjoy heated front seats, rear seat vents, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power moonroof, navigation, Bose audio, and even heated rear seats.
Interior and Cargo Space
The CX-5 has about as much interior space as you would expect from a compact crossover. While you can fit three passengers in the rear seat, this is not recommended for longer drives. The cargo area is reasonable thanks to the crossover body style, giving you 31 cubic feet with all seats upright or just under 60 cubes with the rear seats folded flat.
Incredible Safety Features
One area that the Mazda CX-5 stands out in is the long list of safety features. The base trim has low-speed automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, and blind-spot monitors. You can opt for the i-ActiveSense package on the base trim or upgrade to a higher trim that already includes advanced safety technologies. Doing so will add active lane control, full-speed automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and automatic high-beam headlights. The CX-5 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick.