2015 Mazda CX-5 One Impressive Cute Ute

When I reviewed the Mazda CX-5 crossover utility vehicle two years ago I gave it high praises for replacing two outgoing CUVs in the Mazda lineup while giving consumers what I felt was one of the best new cute utes on the market. I had one wish for the model, feeling it a bit underpowered. Ask and ye shall receive.

2015 Mazda CX-5/Images courtesy Mazda

2015 Mazda CX-5/Images courtesy Mazda

Mazda has updated the powertrain in the CX-5 by bringing the larger 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder engine into the mix and this extra power is precisely what the doctor ordered. Packing some 184hp and 185 lb. ft. of torque, the new CX-5 is still no autocross champ but overall may just be the best little crossover on the market today. For the truly frugal the automaker does still offer the base 155hp 2.0-liter inline four but my feeling is most consumer will opt for the 2.5L.

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The 2015 Mazda CX-5 is offered in front- and all-wheel drive with either engine and arrives in three trim levels of Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. Fuel economy from the 2.0L engine is 26/35/29 (city/highway/combined) in FWD with a manual six-speed gearbox. Vehicles with the 2.5L in FWD with six-speed automatic transmission will see 25/32/27. AWD models lose 1-2 mpg in each segment. Mazda claims “class-leading” fuel economy with these figures against the likes of Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V.

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Mazda recently sent us a 2015 CX-5 in Grand Touring FWD fashion with an added technology package consisting of navigation, auto-leveling HID headlamps, adaptive front lighting and new Smart City Brake Support which, under adverse conditions, will slam on the brakes of the vehicle, a fact I can attest to when approaching the exit gate at work too fast and the arm bar not raising quickly enough for the SCBS sensors. (This quickly became a little game I played each day leaving work to see how close I could get to the bar before the brakes were firmly applied and then just as rapidly released when the bar raised.)

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Grand Touring brings all the bells and whistles on Mazda models including leather interiors, Bose premium audio systems, push button start, heated and powered front sport seats, power moonroof, rear roof spoiler, fog lamps and more but all models receive the full complement of safety features including tire pressure monitoring, dynamic stability control, traction control system and side impact and side curtain airbags with rollover protection.

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 offers attractive KODO “Soul of Motion” styling and brings one of the smoothest and quietest driving experiences in this segment while offering excellent handling to boot. Front and rear headroom as well as interior volume equals or leads the competition. Each CX-5 seats up to five and offers some 65 cubic feet of cargo storage space with the second row folded.

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Pricing for the 2015 Mazda CX-5 starts at $21,545 base MSRP with our loaded Grand Touring tester coming in at just a tick over 30 grand.

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I continue to be impressed with just how well the new CX-5 rides and drives and would even go so far to say it rivals premium and luxury compact crossover utility vehicles costing $10k more.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.