The Mazda CX-5 has been among one of my favorite compact SUVs since this current generation’s introduction in 2017. It is a spacious, premium feeling, and fun to drive crossover. 2022 sees a small mid-cycle update for the CX-5 with new styling and a new drive mode.
Engine – The 2022 Mazda CX-5 is available with two engine options. Well, technically it’s the same engine but with or without a turbocharger; and of course a few other changes to accommodate the turbo. This top spec Signature CX-5 has the turbocharger. It is a 2.5L 4-cylinder and it can produce 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque (167 kW & 420 Nm) when it is running on regular octane fuel. If you use premium fuel, this engine produces 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque (191 kW & 434 Nm). For the 2022 model year, it gets those extra 6 hp. Interestingly, if you use regular fuel, the engine’s peak torque figure is reached at 500 rpms lower than if you were to use premium fuel. This makes it feel a bit more peppy when setting off from a stop even though the SUV weighs in at 1,748 kg (3,853 lbs). With this turbo engine, the Mazda CX-5 is a fast crossover SUV. It could give more premium and luxury SUVs a run for their money.
Fuel Economy – For an engine with this much power, you’d think that fuel economy would be dreadful. Not so. With the 2.5L Turbo engine, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 AWD is rated for 10.8 L/100km (21.8 MPG) in a city and 8.7 L/100km (27 MPG) on a highway. I averaged 10.3 L/100km (22.8 MPG) during my time with the CX-5.
Transmission – The Mazda CX-5, and all other Mazda vehicles in fact, still utilize a 6-speed automatic transmission. While other manufacturers have added more and more gears, Mazda chose to refine their 6-speed automatic. This is by far the best 6-speed auto on the market. Actually, it’s the last of a very, very, very few 6-speeds left. The shifts between gears are not only smooth but quick as well. As well, using the paddle shifters is not an exercise in patience as they are quick to respond to the driver’s inputs.
Braking – Stopping the Mazda CX-5 are just regular brakes that you’d find on all other SUVs. However, Mazda has managed to make the brake pedal feel like what you’d find in a sports sedan. It doesn’t take much effort to bring the CX-5 to a stop in everyday traffic and it feels firm under harder braking applications.
Handling – The way that the Mazda CX-5 goes around corners is what gives it its sporty credentials. Sharp and communicative steering provides feedback that you’d find on a sports car let alone a midsize SUV. Because of this, the CX5 gives you the confidence to drive it around corners at higher speeds than other SUVs. As well, in slippery situations – say, snow – the AWD will send more power to the rear wheels and let the back end slide a bit to better rotate the body. If you behave like a hoonigan, this is actually a lot of fun.
New for 2022 is the addition of Mi-Drive. This is a new switch next to the gear selector that allows the driver to switch between Normal, Sport and Off-Road drive modes. These modes change various parameters such as transmission shift points, throttle response and even engine idle among others.
Ride Comfort – The CX-5 being a more sporty SUV, the suspension is a bit on the firmer side than its competitors. It’s not so firm that it shakes our teeth but if you value ride comfort above anything else, its competitors such as the Nissan Rogue or Honda CR-V provide more of it.
Interior Space – When it comes to passenger space, the Mazda CX5 provides an ample amount. Front legroom is almost on par with the Toyota Rav4 but the CX5 offers quite a bit more headroom even with the sunroof. In the back, the Mazda doesn’t have as much legroom as the Honda CRV but it still has enough for taller adults like myself at 6’4”. Although my knees touch the back of the front seat behind my driving position, there’s an indent in the back of the seat so I don’t feel squished. As well, headroom is very good in the back.
Where the Mazda CX-5 lags behind its competitors is cargo volume. With the rear seats up, it can only accommodate 871 L (30.7 cu-ft) of cargo whereas its competitors offer over 1,000 L (35.3 cu-ft) of space. It’s the same story when folding the back seats. The CX5 only has enough room for 1,680 L (59.3 cu-ft) of cargo whereas the CR-V, Rogue, & Rav4 offer around 2,000 L (70.6 cu-ft) of cargo space.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Engine noise is prevalent in the cabin of the Mazda CX-5 but I’m actually Ok with that. The reason is because Mazda engines don’t sound the same as other 4-cylinder engines. They sound as though they actually have power & muscle. The engine noise is not deafening – even when accelerating hard – but it’s always there. On highways, road and wind noise is well subdued.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The starting price of the 2022 Mazda CX-5 GX is $30,500 CAD ($26,250 USD, S trim). This fully loaded Signature trim costs $43,650 CAD ($39,000 USD) excluding paint and accessory options.
Gadgets – Just like many other top spec crossover SUVs, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Signature is loaded with features. It has satellite navigation (though someone removed the SD card out of this particular demo vehicle), there’s soft Nappa leather upholstery, heated & ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, surround view cameras, parking sensors, power liftgate, a head-up display (that also shows blind spot information there), Apple CarPlay & Android Auto integration (though not wireless), and so on.
The infotainment system is controlled exclusively by the rotary knob on the center console. It works well because it was designed to work with it. However, if you use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay often, using the rotary knob to control those apps is like trying to play a first person shooter game with a laptop touchpad. It’s beyond frustrating and the 10.25” infotainment screen is not a touchscreen.
Interior Design – Although the Mazda CX-5 has been around in this form since 2017, it still feels like a more premium vehicle. From the soft leather to the wood and aluminum trim, the interior feels like as though it belongs on a more expensive car.
Exterior Design – As part of the 2022 mid-cycle update, the Mazda CX-5 receives a slightly different front bumper design, new grille design, and new headlight and taillight designs. These changes don’t drastically change the look of the CX-5 but you can immediately tell the 2022 and newer models form the older models because of those headlights and taillights.
Safety – For 2022, the Mazda CX-5 is equipped with almost all driver and safety aids as standard. Automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keep, blind spot sensors, and so on. All of it is standard across all trim levels. The only additions are rear automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights, traffic sign recognition, and driver attention alert.
The IIHS gave the 2022 Mazda CX-5 a Top Safety Pick+ with good scores for crash tests and driver aids. However it received a marginal score for seat belt reminders.
Warranty – Mazda offers a very unique industry warranty. The Mazda CX-5 is covered by a 3 year / unlimited km basic warranty and a 5 year / unlimited powertrain warranty. Unfortunately this unlimited km warranty is not available in the United States. In the U.S.A, the warranty is more “normal” at 3 year / 36,000 mile basic & 5 year / 60,000 mile powertrain warranties. For more info on Canadian warranty, click here. For more info on U.S.A. warranty, click here.
Conclusion – So while the Mazda CX-5 is now one of the older compact crossover SUVs on the market, it can still hold its own against the younger competition. It is still by far the best to drive in this price bracket and it still feels like a car that should cost more than it actually does. It may not be the most practical or the most economical but its unique driving characteristics make it a stand out in the most competitive segment of the auto industry.
Thank you to Mazda Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Mazda.ca