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We all love a little extra passing power, and a little extra oomph when we need it. Mazda has made extra juice available on its best-selling and highly-rated crossover with the addition of a turbocharger. It boosts the power of the five-seater from 187 horsepower by a not-inconsiderable 69 horsepower. However, is the CX-5 turbo worth $10,000 more?

The CX-5 comes with all-wheel drive standard

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

The base version of the Mazda CX-5 comes well equipped with all-wheel drive, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and several of the creature comforts we all expect in a $26,700 SUV. But for those of us that want the extra power, there’s the 2.5 Turbo version. It comes similarly equipped, with the addition of a wireless charger standard. But it does have the SKYACTIV-G 2.5 Dynamic Pressure Turbo engine that puts out 256 horsepower.

The big difference is that the Turbo starts at $36,850, or $10,150 more than a comparable non-turbo version. The CX-50 is related, but it’s a taller off-road-focused version of the CX-5.

The CX-5 in either trim offers a healthy 59 cubic feet of storage when you fold the seats, and an impressive 29 cubic feet when they are not folded. It is one of the roomiest five-seat SUVs on the market. It nearly matches the Ford Escape but doesn’t quite equal a Toyota RAV4 for space.

Is the Turbo more fun than the non-turbo?

At J.D. Power, which rates driving experience as reported by owners, both the turbo and non-turbo versions of the Mazda CX-5 rate an 82, which is a “great” score. Every other objective score for the two is the same. But, considering you’re saving about $10,000 by not buying the turbo, you could have some more fun with the money you’re not spending for the turbo.

Sure, 69 more horsepower is nice in any car. But according to Car and Driver the chassis of the CX-5 offers a driving experience that’s unparalleled in its class no matter what engine. The difference in quickness, however is pronounced. Most testers report about an 8.5-second blast to 60 mph in the non-turbo version, while the turbo drops about 1.5 seconds off that time. It’s a significant difference, and the turbo certainly helps take advantage of the CX-5’s sporting characteristics.

When you get the turbo, you also get improved brakes, larger wheels, different gearing in the transmission, and paddle shifters.  

Is the Mazda CX-5 a reliable SUV?

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

The Mazda CX-5 ranks first out of 26 midsize SUVs for reliability at RepairPal. It’s 4.5 rating for reliability handily beats the average for the segment. When it does need repairs, they are generally lower, as well. The CX-5’s average repair cost is $447, which is $126 lower than the average. RepairPal does not differentiate between turbo or non-turbo CX-5s, however.

At J.D. Power, the quality and reliability scores between the turbo and non-turbo versions are the same. Both earn an 82, which puts them in the “great” category, for Quality and Reliability.  

Is Mazda’s safety suite different on the Turbo?

A red 2022 Mazda CX-5 small SUV is driving on the road.
The 2022 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

Most versions of the CX-5 have the same safety features. The Turbo Signature version of the CX-5 gets a significantly different suite of safety mods that the base car doesn’t get. Of course, the Turbo Signature costs nearly $40,00 and has a Lexus-like cabin covered in leather and piano black. But it also has a 360-degree camera, front and rear parking sensors, and automatic reverse braking.  

The CX-5 is Mazda’s best-selling SUV in the U.S. and that’s because it’s larger and has better driving dynamics than most other SUVs in its class. The turbocharged engine adds some punch to this SUV, but whether it’s worth another $10,000 for that engine (and wireless charging) is a tough decision to make.


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