Driven: The 2023 Mazda CX-5 Ages Like Fine Wine

We’re spending a week with the elegant Mazda CX-5, and it doesn’t have any significant changes for the model year. But that’s fine. It doesn’t exactly need any updates. If you’re worried about the 2023 Mazda CX-5 feeling old, don’t waste your breath. It’s still sleek, modern, and luxurious. 

Is the 2023 Mazda CX-5 worth buying? 

2023 Mazda CX-5 review
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

Yes, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 is an excellent SUV to consider. It’s still one of the highest-ranking options in its class, while its main rival is the slightly larger Mazda CX-50. But instead of being built for off-roading, it’s designed for an elegant yet athletic performance on the pavement. 

While the standard 2.5-liter inline-four engine with 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque provides an adequate performance, we recommend upgrading to the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine for up to 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque with 93 octane fuel. 

According to Edmunds, the CX-5 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.6 seconds, while the standard engine reaches 60 mph in about 8.7 seconds. 

Plus, the optional steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters make driving the CX-5 even more engaging. The downshifts and upshifts provide instant precision accuracy to enhance control during long commutes or mundane errands. 

The Mazda CX-5 has smooth transmission shifts and a peppy acceleration, but it can stumble at times in Sport Mode. 

It has a sense of connection to the road, with a confident grip and responsive handling. There is a smidge of body roll around sharp bends, but the 2023 CX-5 is well-planted. 

We’re impressed by the CX=5’s 18-foot turning radius. It’s effortless to park and navigate through tight areas. The optional parking sensors and 360-degree surround view camera only sweeten the deal. 

Is the 2023 CX-5 interior still modern? 

Yes, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 interior is comprised of high-quality, attractive materials that don’t show its age. The CX-5 was last redesigned in 2017 but got a few styling tweaks for 2022. It provides tons of comfort and value for its price. 

Overall, the interior has a simple yet refined layout that’s attractive. It’s not cluttered with buttons and too many options or complicated tech. It allows you to focus on driving. 

The front seats are well-padded, but the bottom cushion is a bit flat. There are plenty of adjustment controls, and you can even adjust the lumbar support. Plus, the seats are heated and ventilated. Mazda’s ventilated seats are often the strongest and most effective. 

The steering wheel, gear shifter, and door panels are wrapped in premium leather upholstery with an upscale feeling. Plus, the Turbo Signature model adds genuine wood trim, a black headliner, and ambient lighting. 

While the 10.3-inch infotianment looks a little small, it has vibrant graphics and is easy to use. We would still like a touchscreen instead of the rotary dial setup, though. It can be distracting to scroll through menus. 

What could the 2023 CX-5 do better?

2023 Mazda CX-5 interior
2023 Mazda CX-5 interior | Mazda
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How Are the Mazda CX-50 and Mazda CX-5 Different?

While the 2023 Mazda CX-5 is comfortable and engaging, a few things seem to be missing. For example, the digital gauge cluster of the driver information display is a little bare-bones. It doesn’t offer as much as its rivals do. 

The infotainment software could be updated to include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We’re testing the 2.5 Turbo Signature trim, and we’re enjoying the wireless phone charging pad and 10-speaker Bose audio system. But the cords hold us back! 

The seats could provide a little more side bolstering to hold passengers in place. Also, the suspension is a bit firm, which is excellent for athletic driving. But rivals offer a Comfort mode for a more relaxing experience. 

Just because the CX-5 isn’t as new as the Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson doesn’t mean it’s outdated. It still outranks the competition regarding comfort, value, and driving dynamics. It even has standard AWD. Say tuned for our full review.