By Peter Perrotta
The two-row, five seat compact crossover/SUV segment is a very crowded and competitive field these days. Just look around you next time you are in traffic and you’ll see what I mean.
VW has the Tiguan, Kia the Sportage, Hyundai has the Tuscon and Honda has the popular CR-V just to name a few of the top contenders in this category.
But lurking under the radar is the Mazda CX-5; like Mazda often does, it usually takes home the best car a lot of people don’t know about.
As a Japanese importer, Mazda is quite often overlooked as it lurks in the shadows of the Big Three Japanese importers: Toyota, Honda and Nissan.
But while Mazda might not sell the high volume of cars in the U.S. that the Big Three do, it certainly takes a back seat to no one when it comes to building a quality, well-built vehicle that performs well.
I recently jumped behind the wheel of the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature model for one week to test one of the top-rated crossovers in this segment.
In fact, in a recent road test review by Car and Driver, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 was rated as a 10 out of a possible 10, the highest mark it could get.
“Beautifully sculpted bodywork, delightfully athletic and equally refined, decidedly more premium than its competitors,” wrote the editors at Car and Driver.
“The CX-5 is a masterclass in making a mainstream SUV feel like it belongs in high society,” they added.
I’d have to agree wholeheartedly. If you compare the CX-5 to the leading competitors in its class – Tiguan, Sportage, Tucson and CR-V – it stands head and shoulders above.
For 2022, the changes to the CX-5 are subtle. It has smoother surfaces on the front and rear. The front grille is a bit more distinctive with a three-dimensional mesh texture.
The LED headlamps have been reshaped as well.
In the interior, the seats have been reshaped and are more supportive.
Other improvements include a smoother shifting transmission and improved suspension and all models now come with all-wheel drive.
The CX-5 is available in eight different trim levels, starting with the base model CX-5 2.5 S (base price $25,900) and going all the way up to the top-of-the-line CX-5 2.5 Turbo Signature ($38,650).
The model I test drove for one week was the top-of-the-line CX-5 2.5 Turbo Signature.
While my tester had a base price of $38,650, additional options included $395 for Snowflake White with Pearl paint, $125 for a rear bumper guard and $1,225 for destination and delivery.
So, the bottom-line sticker price on my tester came in at $40,395.
The Turbo Signature model was powered by a 2.5 liter, four cylinder turbo charged engine that puts out 227 horsepower at 310 pound feet of torque.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel consumption ratings for the CX-5 I drove are 24 miles per gallon (mpg) overall – 22 mpg in city driving and 27 out on the highway.
The EPA estimates that the average owner of a CX-5 will spend about $1,450 a year in fuel as it uses an average of 4.2 gallons of gas per every 100 miles driven.
Moreover, in the U.S. government’s crash test rating, the CX-5 earned top grades scoring a 5 out of 5 on the overall vehicle score.
It got a 5 on the frontal crash test, 5 on the side crash test and 4 on the rollover test.
Personally, after driving the CX-5 for a week, I must say I was quite impressed. It checks all the right boxes with high marks.
I found this crossover to be comfortable enough to hold my 6-foot frame. The sight lines you have while driving are unobstructed and clear.
The ride is smooth and solid, but not floaty and the CX-5 has some athletic capabilities through the tough turns as well.
In the power department, it isn’t overwhelming by any means, but it’s peppy enough to have fun with and has the ability to get you in and out of any tough spots in traffic in a hurry.
Being it is the top-of-the-line trim line, the Turbo Signature OMC model comes with a lot of standard equipment so there is no need to spend any extra on any fancy options.
The 19-inch bright alloy wheels are standard as are 10.25 inch color dashboard display for the navigation and other vehicle controls.
If you are considering leasing or purchasing a compact crossover/SUV you would be remiss to at least not consider that CX-5.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears every other week. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions of comments.
This On The Road column is sponsored by Capital Motor Cars in Springfield, N.J.