Upscale on the inside and equally stylish on the outside, the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is a compact crossover that ranks high in its segment. While you should not expect to see too many changes for the model year, this is not a bad thing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - and there is definitely nothing broken about the CX-5. Quiet at highway speeds and controlled with its handling and steering, the CX-5 is remarkably fun to drive. On the downside, you will have to upgrade from the base engine to avoid its bland acceleration. Ready to see if the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is the right compact crossover SUV for you? Read on to find out more.
What's New For 2021?
Only a few changes have been made to the 2021 Mazda CX-5. A bigger screen accompanies the new infotainment system, and there is a new smartphone app that allows you to remotely control and monitor the vehicle. The line-topping Signature trim level also now comes with a handful of new safety features and driver aids.
The 2021 Mazda CX-5 is strictly available as a compact crossover SUV.
There are multiple trim levels available on the 2021 Mazda CX-5's line-up: the base Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims. The first three trims are powered by a standard 2.5-L 4-cylinder engine that generates a power output of 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard. The Grand Touring Reserve and Signature have a turbo version of that engine which generates 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque (or, with premium fuel, 250 hp and 320 lb-ft). All-wheel drive is standard, as is the 6-speed.
Features on the Sport include a push start ignition, LED headlights, a 4-speaker sound system, and a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat. A bundle of advanced driver aids called i-Activsense is also standard.
The Touring includes simulated leather upholstery, a 6-speaker sound system, and keyless entry. There is an option for the Touring Preferred package, which gives the vehicle a 10-speaker Bose premium sound system and a power liftgate, for starters.
Next, on the Grand Touring, you get upgraded to full leather upholstery. You also get a power-adjustable front passenger seat, memory settings on the driver seat, and an upgraded driver information display. Upgrading to the GT Premium package equips more features, such as ventilated front seats, a head-up display, and a heated steering wheel.
On the Grand Touring Reserve, there are extras that include a larger infotainment screen. But going up to the Signature will get you more luxurious items, including premium leather upholstery, parking sensors for the front and rear, and a 360-degree surround-view camera system.
Skip the base engine if you can; its acceleration feels really bland and takes away from the rest of the CX-5's excellent capabilities. This powertrain needs about 8.7 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph, but the turbo version only takes about 6.6 seconds. This is much more inline with what you should expect from a vehicle in this segment.
What the CX-5 does exceptionally well is handling and steering. Controlled? Yes. Responsive? Absolutely. Cornering can be done at any speed without body roll, and going from left to right won't faze this vehicle. As far as crossovers go, this one has the best handling.
Comfort is hit and miss here. The front seats feel nice, and the rears recline, but they are also a bit too flat for the liking. The ride quality does come off as being on the firmer side of things, but it is not excessively so. Bumps and road imperfections are dispatched immediately. The only noise that seeps in comes at highway speeds and is still somewhat tolerable.
Fuel economy is respectable enough, with the AWD variant coming in at an EPA estimated 26 mpg combined. Real-world tests show that this number is actually surpassed by a few mpg, so expect to at least hit this estimate. Only a few of the CX-5's top rivals manage to best its estimates by a few mpg.
Practical, fun to drive, and ultimately athletic in its design, the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is a top performer for the model year. There are a few drawbacks (such as the stiff rear seats and boring base engine), but they can pretty much be negated. The CX-5 is enthralling for a compact crossover and still puts forth a good fuel economy on the turbo engine.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here.)
Note: All Mazda CX-5 MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.