The Mazda CX-5 could be the perfect SUV for your daily driving needs, but there are a few things you should consider first. While the 2023 Mazda CX-5 lives up to its luxurious reputation, there are a few areas where improvements could be made.
2023 Mazda CX-5: What’s new?
Not much has changed for the 2023 Mazda CX-5 this model year, but it did gain a new shade of Rhodium White paint. Most of the attention has shifted away from the CX-5 to the burlier Mazda CX-50 model. But the CX-5 boasts more on-road comfort with athletic handling.
We reviewed all the bells and whistles with the top-spec Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature trim. It’s loaded with ventilated seats, a wireless phone charging pad, upgraded leather upholstery, genuine wood trim, a black headliner, and built-in navigation.
You also get a bright silver wheel finish, a 360-degree surround view camera, parking sensors, rear automatic brakes, a power liftgate, and a head-up display.
While the 2023 CX-5 starts at $26,700, the Turbo Signature model increases the price to $39,650. But even the base model is loaded with value and includes standard all-wheel drive.
1. Go for the engine upgrade
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, the CX-5 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, which is typical for the class. It’s perfectly fine for passing others on the highway and merging into traffic.
But you can upgrade to the 2.5-liter Turbo engine for up to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, the CX-5 can reach 60 mph in about 6.6 seconds.
While it can be slow to downshift, the peppy acceleration and paddle shifters provide an engaging experience with confidence and control. It hugs corners well with responsive handling and predictable brakes.
2. The luxury quality may not be related to the ride quality
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has a stiff suspension which is great for an athletic performance. It may not be as smooth as you expect. But the tires provide an excellent grip that’s connected to the surface to provide more feedback.
While the interior is mostly peaceful, wind and road noise are noticeable at highway speeds. But you don’t need to raise your voice to carry a conversation. The premium Bose audio system covers the noise well.
However, the interior climate controls provide an excellent amount of comfort. The heated seats and steering wheel are perfect during cold mornings, and the ventilated seats provide relief during hot afternoons.
3. The CX-5 has an Off-Road mode
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has an Off-Road driving mode that stiffens the suspension for more control in slippery conditions. It feels confident on slippery gravel roads with thick sections of mud.
It didn’t slip or slide in the muck. It even can come to a controlled stop at higher speeds. We’re confident that the CX-5 is perfect for the snow, even if it doesn’t have a dedicated snow mode.
The i-Activ AWD system actively measures the amount of torque to send to each wheel to prevent losing power or sliding on slick surfaces to provide the optimal amount of control in real-time.
But the CX-5 could use a little more torque for ruts and climbing over obstacles. Plus, it only has a 7.5-inch ground clearance. It can get you to your campsite but isn’t suited for moderate off-roading trails.
4. The CX-5 is limited on space
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 feels a little tight. Taller drivers may want more headspace in the front. Also, the rear seat is tight. (I’m 5’1” and wanted more knee space). Two average adults can sit in the back, but they may feel cramped.
There isn’t much room for personal items. The glove box and center console are narrow. The only storage tray in the front is taken up b the wireless phone charging pad.
You can access up to 29.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the backseat with up to 53.9 cubes total. Honestly, it has more cargo space than expected, and the rear seats fold flat to create a level load floor.
5. The drive modes don’t impact the fuel economy
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 is set up with the Mi-Drive system. The driving modes include Sport, Normal, and Off-Road. Rivals tend to have a fuel-saving Eco Mode or a relaxing Comfort Mode.
While the Sport Mode has noticeably faster response times for a faster acceleration and a stiffer suspension, it doesn’t impact the braking feel. The Normal Mode is a bit more relaxed for low-effort and convenient drives.
But we spent hours in both driving modes to get about 24.7 mpg. We expected the Normal mode to do a little better and the Off-Road mode to use more gas.
6. The infotainment system could have a learning curve
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has an attractive 10.3-inch infotainment system with fast response times. But it’s not a touchscreen. It’s controlled by a rotary dial that takes a bit of getting used to.
However, we aren’t strangers to Mazda SUVs and can twist the dial and use it to like different menus in seconds. Plus, the voice controls are very efficient. The biggest issue we had was using the climate control dial to adjust the volume by mistake.
It’s located by the infotainment screen, while the volume dial is located by the center console b the rotary dial. You have to look down to see it, which could be distracting. But overall, the system is easy-to-use with simple steps involved.
7. The interior is downright luxurious
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 provides near-luxury amenities without the high cost of a luxury vehicle. You’ll find the massive leather seats with two-tone upholstery colors to be inviting and supportive.
There are plenty of leather-covered surfaces with a high-quality premium feel. The steering wheel and gear selector are durable and soft. The wood trim has a sense of classic sophistication, and the black headliner is plush.
The black carpet is comfortable and easy the clean, and the chrome accents help the interior pop. It’s simple without being cluttered by too many buttons and options. Every time someone looks at a Mazda interior during our tests, they’re impressed.
Stay tuned for our upcoming full-length 2023 Mazda CX-5 review to see all of the specs, pros, and cons.