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2018 Mazda CX-5

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Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

Select a Trim
Select a Trim
2018 Sport 4dr Front-Wheel Drive Sport Utility
most popular
Price:   -  From $24,150
2018 Sport 4dr All-Wheel Drive Sport Utility Price:   -  From $25,450
2018 Touring 4dr Front-Wheel Drive Sport Utility Price:   -  From $26,215
2018 Touring 4dr All-Wheel Drive Sport Utility Price:   -  From $27,515
2018 Grand Touring 4dr Front-Wheel Drive Sport Utility Price:   -  From $29,645
2018 Grand Touring 4dr All-Wheel Drive Sport Utility Price:   -  From $30,945


The compact crossover segment is hotter than a summer bonfire, and all automakers are trying to cash in on the resulting sales bonanza. Mazda is no different, and their contender in the fray is the CX-5, a sharp-looking 'ute with a design notably more sophisticated than it's wallet-friendly price tag suggests. For 2018, the CX-5 is taught a few more tricks in the interest of keeping competitors at bay and consumers in the showroom.

What's New for 2018

Belying the traditionally glacial movement of automotive manufacturers, Mazda is already updating their still-green CX-5, introduced just this past spring.The 2018 CX-5 will now include as standard a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, as well as a blind-spot monitoring system that offers rear-cross traffic alert. Mazda also tweaked the 2.5-liter engine, adding cylinder deactivation.

Mazda CX-5

Choosing Your Mazda CX-5

There isn't too much to get tripped over when choosing a 2018 CX-5.

Under the hood, all models use a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder – part of Mazda's familiar Skyactiv engine family – gains cylinder deactivation, a first for a four-cylinder in the North American market. With this technology, the engine can run on just two cylinders, allowing for better fuel economy while cruising. The EPA rates the front-drive CX-5 as being good for 25 miles per gallon city, 31 highway and 28 combined. All-wheel drive is a $1,300 option across the board and drops those numbers to 24/30/26.

Simply pick a trim level – Sport, Touring, or Grand Touring – and decide whether or not the available AWD is worth the additional dollars. As you'll see, every CX-5 comes well equipped, even the base trim. The options list, meanwhile, is pleasantly short.

Each trim is available with a single options package, and aside from the standard no-charge color palette, there are three premium hues available: Snowflake White Pearl Mica ($200), Machine Gray Metallic ($300), and Mazda's go-to choice for concepts and show cars, the salacious Soul Red ($595).

Mazda CX-5


As the entry-level model, the $25,125 Sport comes standard with cloth seats, LED headlights, a seven-inch touchscreen and infotainment unit, Bluetooth capability and 17-inch wheels. That's not a bad collection of stuff for a base model.

Buyers can get a heightened sense of security with the available $625 Sport i-Activsense Package, which equips the CX-5 with a suite of safety features that include lane departure warning, high beam control, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. These items are standard on the rest of the CX-5 range.

Mazda CX-5


A step up from the Sport is the Touring, at $27,190.

The Touring comes with all of the Sport's standard features, as well as the i-Activsense Package. It also includes 19-inch wheels, leatherette seats, six-way power drivers seat, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and two rear USB ports.

The Touring Preferred Package runs for $1,200 and adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bose 10-speaker sound system, power liftgate, power glass moonroof, and a navigation system.

Mazda CX-5

Grand Touring

At $30,620 the Grand Touring is the CX-5 dressed to the nines. On top of what comes with the Touring and Touring Preferred Package, it also offers as standard a two-position memory driver's seat, six-way power passenger seat, leather seats, LED fog lights and taillights, and SiriusXM radio.

The Grand Touring also includes active front lighting, a feature which uses steering inputs and vehicle speed to orient the headlights towards where the driver intends to travel.

The optional $1,395 Grand Touring Premium Package comes with a head-up display, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and windshield-wiper de-icer.

CarsDirect Tip

If the entry-level Sport tickles your fancy, splurge on the Sport i-Activsense Package. The ridiculous name will be forgotten long before the included electronic safety nannies become obsolete, and they could prove invaluable in a potentially hairy situation. And at just $625, these features don't get much more affordable.

Get your price on a Mazda CX-5 »

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Automotive Editor
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Expert Review

Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

author image
Contributing Writer

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 checks nearly all the right boxes – stunning exterior, excellent handling, and, for 2018, the first US application of cylinder deactivation in a four-cylinder engine for improved fuel efficiency. But that engine falls short on refinement, cargo volume is barely mid-pack, and the slick-looking infotainment system can be frustratingly difficult to master.

Best Value

Prices for the 2018 CX-5 start at $24,150 for a front-wheel-drive Sport and run up to $33,910 for the all-wheel-drive Grand Touring trim equipped with the Premium Package and finished in stunning Soul Red. Aside from the typical power features, all CX-5s come with alloy wheels, LED headlights, keyless entry with push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a seven-inch touchscreen, and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.

All trim levels come with a rear view camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and low-speed automatic emergency braking. A $625 option on the Sport trim adds automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and all-speed automatic emergency braking – feature that are standard on Touring and Grand Touring models. Still, that's a very good price for that much equipment.

With a single engine and transmission, it comes down to feature set and drivetrain. We'd skip the base Sport with its cloth seats as well as the leatherette-trimmed Touring model and spring for the Grand Touring. Auto-leveling headlights with automatic high beams, heated front seats, and automatic climate control carry over from the Touring trim. Grand Touring models pad that with adaptive front lighting, LED front fog and taillights, heated outside mirrors, a power tailgate, moonroof, leather seats, Bose speakers, navigation, satellite radio, a power passenger seat, and driver seat memory.

Since the AWD system improves winter and overall handling, here's how we'd build it:

  • Model: 2018 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD
  • Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Output: 187 horsepower / 186 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel-drive
  • MPG: 24 City / 30 Hwy
  • Options:All-wheel drive ($1,300)
  • Base Price:$30,620 (including $975 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$31,920


Mazda CX-5

Compact crossovers don't get any more entertaining than the CX-5. Its polished ride, communicative steering, and slick chassis tuning are among the best in the class. The 2.5-liter engine offers brisk off-the-line acceleration, linear throttle response, and - new this year - cylinder deactivation technology that under certain low-speed cruising conditions shuts down two of its four cylinders for improved fuel economy. We spent 150 miles behind the wheel and struggled to notice the system working while returning 27 miles per gallon in mixed driving.

Likewise, the nicely weighted electric steering comes with an engine torque vectoring system that not only reduces the number of corrections drivers have to make entering and exiting corners, but also helps the CX-5's straight-line tracking at highway speeds. G-Vectoring Control, as Mazda calls it, makes freeway driving less taxing.

Drawbacks? The engine sounds buzzy when you put your foot into it, and it's hard to ignore the more powerful, turbocharged competitors. The larger 19-inch wheels offer a stiff ride – although the flip side is that the CX-5 is fun to drive thanks in part to that stiff ride. The standard six-speed automatic feels antiquated too. It's just fine, working well in the background, but it's hard to understand Mazda's decision to add fuel-saving technology to the engine while using a transmission with just six gears.


Visually stunning from practically any angle, the CX-5 sends every other crossover in its class – and even a few above it – to the design woodshed. Mazda refers to its Kodo design language as "breathing life into the car." To us, it's a restrained elegance that begins up front with the brand's signature shield-shape grille – the lower portion of which is outlined by a thin chrome ring that traces its way under the narrow headlights.

The look along its flanks is much simpler, with aggressive wheel arches, a deep character line just above the rocker, and a narrow chrome strip that follows the beltline, kicking up behind the back window. A simple-looking rear fascia features a body-colored upper spoiler and a pair of narrow, horizontal tail lights.

All of that goodness is wrapped around an interior awash in rich-looking soft touch materials that – especially in Grand Touring trim – approach premium levels of luxury for thousands less. The cockpit – driver-centric like all Mazdas – offers supportive front seats and courtesy of thin A-pillars, good outward visibility. For the most part, the controls are intuitive, well organized, and within easy reach of the driver.

But there are shortcomings. Although the seats are comfortable, three adults will find accommodations tight in back, while the cargo area behind the second row, at 31 cubic feet, is on the small side for the class.

Our biggest issue, however, concerns the CX-5's infotainment system. For one, the control center's placement on the center console is too close to the arm rest - requiring an awkward bend of your hand to operate. Secondly, the infotainment system – with its menus and sub-menus - is often too challenging to use while driving. Most importantly, there is no other choice - Android Auto and Apple CarPlay aren't offered.

The Best and Worst Things

The CX-5's balanced chassis and communicative steering make it a joy to hustle around back roads. We only wish the infotainment system was more user-friendly and cargo room was more abundant.

Right For? Wrong For?

Mazda CX-5

The CX-5's composed chassis and communicative steering should attract driving enthusiasts who either want or need a compact crossover, even if the straight-line performance can't stand up to some turbocharged rivals.

Mediocre cargo space and a smallish rear seat could be turn-offs for families.

The Bottom Line

Despite a frustrating infotainment system and mediocre cargo space; a striking design, an entertaining chassis, and a wide range of standard and available advanced safety features make the 2018 CX-5 a top pick in the compact crossover class.

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Specs & Features

Overall Crash Safety Rating
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
2.5L I-4 / 187 HP / 186 ft.lbs.
6-spd sequential shift control auto w/OD
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
25 / 31 / 28 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
2.5L I-4 / 187 HP / 186 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
25 / 31 / 28 Mpg
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Rear Suspension
Independent Multi-link
Spare Tire And Wheel
Compact Steel
Fuel Tank
14.8 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Regular Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
59.6 Cu.ft.
Passenger Volume
104 Cu.ft.
Exterior Length
179.1 "
Exterior Width
72.5 "
Exterior Height
65.3 "
Front Headroom
39.7 "
Rear Headroom
39.0 "
Front Legroom
41.0 "
Rear Legroom
39.6 "
Front Shoulder Room
57.1 "
Rear Shoulder Room
54.8 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
3,527 Lbs.
Wheel Base
106 "
Turning Radius
18.0 '
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
17.0 " Silver Aluminum
Clearcoat Monotone / Pearlcoat Monotone / Metallic Monotone
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Power Remote
Grille Moldings
Black W/chrome Accents
Rear Spoiler
Stainless Steel With Chrome Tailpipe Finish
Interior Features
Passenger Capacity
Seat Trim
Front Seat Type
Heated Front Seats
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
Front Armrests
Rear Armrests
Rear Seats
40-20-40 Bench
Radio & Infotainment
Am/fm/hd, Clock, Seek-scan / Am/fm/hd, Seek-scan
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Telescopic Tilt
Climate Control
Cruise Control
With Steering Wheel Controls
Sun Roof
Rearview Mirror
Day-night / Auto-dimming Day-night
One Touch Open Window
Front And Rear
Tinted Windows
Vanity Mirrors
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (all Doors)
Power Outlets
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Smart City Brake Support Forward Collision Mitigation / Forward Collision Warning / Smart Brake Support Forward Collision Mitigation
Blind Spot Sensor
Blind Spot Monitoring Blind Spot
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Keep Assist System Lane Departure
Autonomous Cruise Control
Pedestrian Detection
Driver Attention Alert
Driver Attention
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
High Beam Control Auto High-beam
Adaptive Headlights
Parking Sensors
Security Systems
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Major Components Months
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
Roadside Assistance Months
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Corrosion Perforation
60 Months / Unlimited Miles
Accessories Months
36 Months / 36,000 Miles

Used 2018 Mazda CX-5 for Sale

7 vehicles found within 50 miles of your area
Color: Gray

83,074 mi

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Bunnin Chevrolet of Fillmore (44 mi)

Phone: (805) 524-0333
Color: Soul Red Crystal Metallic



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Car Pros KIA - Huntington Beach (29 mi)

Phone: (714) 274-6180
Grand Touring
Color: Snowflake White Pearl Mica



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Harbor Chevrolet (14 mi)

Phone: (562) 326-5588
Grand Touring
Color: Gray



41,687 mi

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Tustin Toyota (38 mi)

Phone: (888) 333-7178
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