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2018 Mazda CX-5 Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2018 Mazda CX-5 Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Sport vs Touring & Grand Touring
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What 2018 Mazda CX-5 Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between the Trims?

Mazda’s vehicles have always been oriented towards performance and focused on providing a good driving experience, and that is true even of the manufacturer’s compact crossover SUV - the CX-5.

Initially released in 2013 to replace Mazda’s high-performance CX-7 crossover, the CX-5 offers a good balance between a good driving feel, efficient mileage, and an affordable price. This has rocketed it near the top of many reviewers’ rankings for compact crossovers, though the car is still not as popular with drivers as some of its more famous long-running competitors. It has received a full redesign last year, with a new body style and some mechanical and technological improvements, while this year’s model increases the availability of some of the most popular equipment options.

In a refreshing change from some of the other compact crossovers popular today, the 2018 Mazda CX-5 comes with a relatively simple and easy-to-understand selection of trim levels and options. There are only three main trim lines: the Sport, the Touring, and the Grand Touring.

Each one is mostly self-contained in terms of features, though there is an optional package for each one that introduces some of the features from the next trim level up. This package design provides a degree of flexibility that the simple three-trim design might have otherwise lacked, and makes for an easier shopping experience for buyers.

In this guide, we will check out each of the different trim levels of the 2018 CX-5, summarize the differences between them, and provide some thoughts as to the kind of drivers that are likely to get the most out of choosing each package.

Compare the 2018 CX-5 Sport vs Touring Trims. What is the difference?

Mazda has always positioned itself as being slightly upmarket from other Japanese automakers, and in that vein the 2018 CX-5 starts at a slightly higher price than most rivals. However, it also starts with a better selection of standard equipment than most other entry-level vehicles. The base Mazda CX-5 Sport includes alloy wheels, leather steering wheel and gear shifter covers, and LED headlights in addition to the standard basics like power doors and windows, cruise control and keyless entry.

There is also a good standard set of both safety and infotainment features. The 7-inch touchcreen serves as a display for the standard rearview camera, as well as integrating Bluetooth connectivity. You can also control the infotainment system through the standard steering wheel controls or a BMW-like control dial in the center console. In addition to the rearview camera, the Sport comes standard with blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and and low-speed automatic emergency braking.

The optional package for the Sport model is the i-ActiveSense safety package. It includes a lane departure warning with lane keep assist, radar cruise control, automatic headlights and high beams, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The Sport, like all the other CX-5 models, comes with an automatic transmission and is available with either all-wheel or front-wheel drive.

While the Sport offers plenty of functionality, the Touring focuses on improving the comfort for the driver and the passengers of the CX-5. It includes all of the Sport features and the i-ActiveSense package, and adds several others of its own. The cloth upholstery is replaced by leatherette with suede inserts, the driver’s seat is power-adjustable and both of the front seats are heated in this model. There are also two more speakers, bringing the total to six, and two more USB ports, bringing the total to four with two for each row. The Touring also has a smart key with push-button start.

The optional package available for the Touring model is called the Preferred Equipment Package. Like the rest of the Touring loadout, it is also focused on adding convenience and comfort for the car’s occupants. The former is represented by a built-in navigation system and a powered liftgate, while the latter is achieved thanks to the 10-speaker Bose audio and a tilt-and-slide moonroof.

As the base model, the Sport certainly packs a punch, and can be an easy choice to make over the Touring if you are not big on additional comfort and convenience that it brings. The leatherette interior does make the interior both more comfortable and more durable, however, and the heated seats can be a must-have for drivers in the snow belt.

At roughly $1,500 over the Sport, these additions can definitely be worth it if you are likely to need them. On the other hand, if you opt for the Sport, the i-ActiveSense package is practically a must-have. It adds the full range of safety features available on the CX-5 for just a $625 bump in list price, easily paying back its value in peace of mind within your first year of driving.

At $1,200, the Preferred Equipment Package for the Touring is more of a nice-to-have, but is still quite a good deal if you would like to have any of the features that it brings.

Compare the 2018 Mazda CX-5 Touring vs Grand Touring Trims. What is the difference?

Perched at the top of the model range, the Grand Touring is aimed at the top-end buyers. With the exception of its full leather upholstery, it is identical to the Touring with the Preferred Equipment Package, including all of its convenience features, while being about $2,000 costlier.

It also comes with a satellite radio receiver pre-installed, as well as a four-month trial of SiriusXM. The optional Premium Package for the model adds an active driving display above the dashboard that displays the car’s speed, navigation directions, and can read upcoming road signs. It also includes heater rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and a windshield de-icer.

Unless genuine leather is a must-have, then the Grand Touring has almost no attractions over the Touring, as all of its features are present on that model as well. The Premium Package, while nice to have, not only requires you to upgrade to the Grand Touring in the first place, but also comes at a rather hefty premium over the standard Grand Touring model.

That said, a fully-equipped CX-5 still stops short of the price point of the high-end models of most of its rivals, so if you are cross-shopping with those and your budget allows it, the Grand Touring can be a good value for the money. But within the CX-5 family, it trails behind the Sport and the Touring in what you get in return for your investment.

Final Thoughts

The strongest trims in the Mazda CX-5 are the entry-level and the mid-range entries. Even the most basic CX-5 offers a very strong equipment set that, when combined with the optional active safety package, can outshine the middle-of-the-road models from many of its competitors.

Similarly, the Touring packs quite a bit of equipment into its price tag, and is an equally solid choice if you like the features that it has on offer. Only the Grand Touring feels somewhat underwhelming when comparing the price tag with what it offers, but that is solely by comparison to the other two trim levels. The price increase over the similarly-equipped Touring is relatively standard for the the jump to leather-equipped models. 

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