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The CX-5 is still one of the best compact SUVs. Its well-appointed interior gives consumers a luxury experience without the hefty price. Mazda’s best-selling crossover offers numerous trims, providing various customization options. However, it can be difficult to choose one. Here’s an overview of the 2023 Mazda CX-5 trim levels, including the one most consumers choose and the one experts recommend.

Overview of the 2023 Mazda CX-5 trims

2023 Mazda CX-5 compact SUV driving on a city street
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 is available in eight trims, each offering unique features and varying levels of luxury and technology. Here’s a brief overview of the trims and their starting prices:

  • S: Starting at $26,700, the 2.5 S base model has remote keyless entry with push-button start, a leather-wrapped tilt-telescoping steering wheel with radio, Bluetooth, cruise control, and reclining 40/20/40 back seats.
  • Select: Priced from $28,500, the 2.5 S Select has a six-way power driver’s seat with manual lumbar support, dual-zone automatic temperature control, heated front seats, leatherette vinyl upholstery with Lux Suede inserts, and six-speaker sound system.
  • Preferred: Starting at $30,190, the S Preferred includes a power moonroof, leather interior, rearview auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink, and eight-way power driver’s seat with a two-position memory option.
  • Carbon Edition: Priced from $31,100, the S Carbon Edition includes 19-inch black metallic alloy wheels, black mirror caps, black emblems, Polymetal Gray paint, a black instrument panel and door trim, and red stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear selector.
  • Premium: Starting at $33,000, the S Premium features Mazda Intelligent Driving Direct, which has several driving modes, including Normal, Sport, and Off-Road.
  • Premium Plus: Starting at $35,500, the S Premium Plus adds to the Premium trim by including power-folding side mirrors, windshield wiper de-icers, ventilated front seats, a head-up display, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and a 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint 2 audio system.
  • Turbo: Starting at $36,850, the Turbo gets a significant power boost with a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine harnessing 227 hp on 87-octane gasoline or 256 hp using 93-octane.
  • Turbo Signature: Starting at $39,650, the range-topping Turbo Signature adds ambient interior lighting, a black headliner, Caturra Brown Nappa leather-trimmed seats, genuine wood trim, a frameless rearview mirror, and LED interior illumination.

Edmunds shows that the most popular trim among consumers is the Preferred. Although the data doesn’t indicate why most shoppers choose this trim, we can make a few educated guesses.

The popularity of the CX-5’s Preferred trim can be attributed to several factors. First, the inclusion of leather upholstery and a moonroof adds a greater sense of luxury. Additionally, advanced safety features, such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, lane-keeping assist, and lane-departure warning, are major pluses for safety-conscious consumers.

All of that at a budget-friendly price likely contribute to the Preferred trim’s popularity.

What trim do critics recommend?

Although most consumers choose the Preferred, experts recommend other 2023 Mazda CX-5 trims.

For instance, MotorTrend reviewers prefer the Premium Plus because it combines the best high-end features of the lineup with the naturally aspirated powertrain’s superior efficiency. They highlight features such as a 10-speaker premium audio system, heated steering wheel and seating, ventilated front seats, power auto-folding side mirrors, leather interior, and curve-adaptive headlights.

And although Edmunds’ experts prefer the turbocharged engine, its higher starting price leads them to recommend the Select. “It comes with just about everything you’ll need from a small SUV plus desirable extras such as heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and keyless entry.”

The CX-5 has a premium feel and excellent driving dynamics for a compact SUV in this price range. Consumers agree the CX-5 is a fine choice because it’s the best-selling Mazda SUV.