2023 Mazda CX-5 Review: Unmatched Value and Refinement

2023 Mazda CX-5 Review: 

  • 2023 Mazda CX-5 – $26,700 – $39,650 
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick+
  • Pros: Tons of standard features, engaging ride, high-quality interior 
  • Cons: No touchscreen, underpowered base engine, tight backseat 
2023 Mazda CX-5 review
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 delivers on the brand’s reputation for providing upscale vehicles with luxury amenities at an affordable price. Driving the CX-5 is an engaging, athletic, and comfortable experience. 

While the base engine may feel a bit lackluster, at least each model has standard all-wheel drive. Also, upgrading to the turbocharged engine delivers plenty of power. The CX-5 is intelligent and practical but could use extra cargo space. 

Overall, this sporty SUV is convenient with near-luxury refinement for lively daily commutes and road trips. The 2023 CX-5 can even handle inclement weather situations like a pro, along with light off-roading tasks. 

What’s new for the 2023 CX-5? 

Most things have stayed the same for the 2023 Mazda CX-5. It was last redesigned in 2017, but it still has an attractive design with modern touches. You may expect critics to start complaining about its age, but the CX-5 still ranks as one of the best options to buy. 

While the CX-5 gained a new shade of Rhodium White paint, the CX-5 remains untouched. Because it’s seven years old, some critics wonder if attention will shift to the new 2023 Mazda CX-50. However, the CX-5 has plenty of benefits to consider over its off-roading-oriented brother. 

Which 2023 CX-5 trim is best? 

  • 2023 Mazda CX-5 2.5 S – $26,700
  • CX-5 2.5 S Select Package – $28,500 
  • CX-5 S Carbon Edition – $31,110 
  • CX-5 S Preferred Package – $31,190 
  • CX-5 S Premium Package – $33,000
  • CX-5 S Premium Plus Package – $35,300
  • CX-5 2.5 Turbo – $36,850 
  • CX-5 2.5 Turbo Signature – $39,650 
2023 Mazda CX-5 side profile
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

While the turbo trim is pretty irresistible due to the upgraded engine, it’s priced a bit high. For those looking for a bargain, the 2.5 S Select has plenty of comfort and convenience features without breaking the bank. 

The 2.5 S Select adds plush simulated leather upholstery, tinted windows, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, heated front seats, rear air conditioning vents, rear USB ports, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and dark-tinted rear window privacy glass. 

Moving up in trim levels provides access to paddle shifters, a sunroof, adaptive headlights, a larger driver information display, ventilated seats, a power liftgate, parking sensors, a head-up display, a 360-degree surround view camera, and a wireless phone charging pad. 

How does the 2023 Mazda CX-5 drive? 

Front angle view of white 2023 Mazda CX-5 crossover SUV
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. Edmunds shares that it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 8.7 seconds. This is average for the class and provides ample power for passing others and merging into traffic. 

But upgrading to the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine gives you 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque with regular gas. Use 93 octane fuel to boost those figures to 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, the CX-5 can reach 60 mph in roughly 6.6 seconds. 

It has an instant acceleration with precise control thanks to the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. However, the 2023 CX-5 can be slow to downshift at times. Aside from that, it has confident and predictable brakes, direct steering, and responsive handling. 

The CX-5 feels confident and connected to the road, with plenty of grip for cornering and having some fun around tight bends. There are customizable Mi-Drive modes for Sport, Normal, Eco, and Off-Road. 

Use the Sport Mode to tighten the throttle response and acceleration times. The Normal Mode is calmer for a relaxed and casual ride. Also, the Eco Mode can seem a little slow but may help save fuel. 

Can the Mazda CX-5 go off-roading? 

2023 Mazda CX-5 off-roading
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

Yes, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 can go off-roading, but we wouldn’t push it beyond entry-level trails or challenges. It only features 7.6 inches of ground clearance, which isn’t the best for clearing obstacles. 

It’s a bit interesting for the CX-5 to have an Off-Road mode but not a dedicated Snow or Slippery mode. However, it’s still excellent in the snow. The i-Activ AWD system accurately measures the amount of torque that needs to be sent to each wheel to prevent slipping and sliding. 

The CX-5 felt confident and in control on dirt and gravel roads with sections of deep, moist mud. Steeper inclines caused the engine to wheeze a bit, and we would avoid deeper mud and ruts. However, the 2023 CX-5 should help you get to your campsite just fine. 

How comfortable is the 2023 Mazda CX-5? 

2023 Mazda CX-5 interior comfort
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 provides a comfortable, smooth ride over most surfaces. The suspension is a little firm, which is great for making it feel more athletic but results in feeling more bumps. 

Rough patches and larger impacts are easily absorbed and don’t cause the interior to rattle or become unsettled. Plus, the interior can be peacefully quiet at lower speeds. You will notice a little wind noise on the highway, but it’s not disruptive.  

The front seats are large and well-padded for hours of comfort. The backseat has a relaxing backrest angle and plenty of lumbar support. But the bottom cushions are a bit flat, and the legroom is a little tight for taller passengers. 

Also, the 2023 CX-5 is unmatched regarding its heated steering wheel, heated seats, and ventilated seats. You can quickly warm up or cool off as needed. The climate control system is powerful and rarely needs to be adjusted. 

Does the 2023 CX-5 have a nice interior? 

Yes, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 has an excellent interior with high-quality materials such as wood grain trim and premium leather upholstery. It provides a sense of luxury refinement without the luxury price tag. 

The steering wheel, armrests, dash, headliner, carpet, and more feel well-crafted and plush.

Large sections of soft-touch covered surfaces are accented with pops of chrome for a simple yet attractive layout. 

Plus, the front seats are large and easy to access. Everything you need is conveniently placed within reach. The windshield is large with tons of visibility, but the rear window is narrow. Large side mirrors and active safety systems make up for the difference. 

How is the Mazda CX-5’s tech? 

2023 Mazda CX-5 tech
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

For the most part, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 features intuitive tech that’s easy to use. The 10.25-inch infotainment display isn’t a touchscreen, though. It’s controlled by a rotary dial on the center console. 

It seems to add a few extra steps at times and can be distracting. We recommend getting to know it before driving. But the graphics are crisp, and the software works quickly. The voice recognition system is responsive, and the built-in navigation is intelligent. 

The head-up display is easy to customize, and the digital gauge cluster provides crucial driver information despite looking a little basic. Also, the premium 10-speaker Bose audio system sounds great. 

We appreciate the wireless phone charging pad and its convenient location. However, we wish that wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto were available. While the advanced safety systems provide peace of mind, the notifications can be a little intrusive. 

You can only view a severe weather warning while the vehicle isn’t moving, and we were often hit with drowsy driver alerts in 40-minute intervals. 

How much cargo space does the 2023 Mazda CX-5 have?  

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 provides 29.1 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear with up to 59.3 cubes overall. While this amount of room trails rivals, it’s still pretty abundant and practical. The seats are easy to fold to create a flat loading floor. 

Plus, the CX-5 has a wide rear hatch opening with a low liftover height. You can probably load more items than you think. If you need extra space, the CX-5 can tow up to 2,000 lbs. Rivals can tow up to 3,500 lbs. 

Small-item storage is abundant in the CX-5 thanks to various trays and cubbies. The center console is a little tight. But on a positive note, child seats are easy to install. 

Is the 2023 Mazda CX-5 safe? 

Yes, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 is incredibly safe. It’s an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+. It received a ‘Good’ rating in almost every single one of its simulated crash tests, which is the highest score possible. 

The CX-5 earned a ‘Superior’ score for its ability to avoid collins at speeds of 12 and 25 mph. It has standard Smart Brake Support with Collision Warning and Smart City Brake Support with Pedestrian Detection.

We’re impressed by the adaptive LED headlights. They provide tons of visibility and are quick to adjust for oncoming traffic. The child seat anchors only received an Acceptable score because they are considered to be too deep in the seat.  

Standard safety features include: 

  • Forward collision mitigation 
  • Blind spot warning 
  • Rear cross-traffic alert 
  • Lane departure mitigation 
  • Adaptive cruise control 

How reliable is the Mazda CX-5? 

2023 Mazda CX-5 Turbo
2023 Mazda CX-5 Turbo | Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has an above-average reliability ranking. It earned an 82 out of 100 from J.D.Power. Scores between 91 and 100 are best, while ratings between 81 and 91 are great. The 70 to 80 range is average. 

You can expect your CX-5 model to make it over 200,000 miles before requiring an expensive repair. Some models have made it past 270,000 miles without any significant issues for about 12 or more years of service on the road. 

But the key to longevity is regular care and proper maintenance. It costs about $447 to maintain the CX-5 yearly. This is great compared to the average annual cost of $652 for other vehicles. 

MotorBiscuit awards the 2023 Mazda CX-5 with an official rating of 8.7 out of 10 

The MotorBiscuit editors have provided the 2023 Mazda CX-5 with a score of 8.7 out of 10. The 2023 CX-5 is a luxurious bargain to consider, with unmatched comfort and luxury for its price. Plus, it has a long list of standard features, including AWD. 

You can tailor the CX-5 settings to craft the optimal driving experience based on your mood. Use the Sport Mode and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters to up the fun, or relax with Normal or Eco Mode. Don’t forget about the Off-Road mode! 

The CX-5 is confident and comfortable while making daily commutes more enjoyable. But it could use a few tech upgrades to feel more modern, and some rivals offer more cargo space with a higher towing capacity. 

While the turbocharged engine is limited to more expensive trims, the extra power is worth it. Also, the 2023 CX-5 is safe and reliable. We can’t wait to see if it gains a mid-cycle refresh soon.