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If you’re interested in buying a new compact SUV, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 is probably on the list of options. However, there are a few different trim levels to choose from. Finding the best option can be challenging. It’s a bit easier when you know the most popular trim because when everyone is buying it, there must be something good about it. What is the most popular 2022 Mazda CX-5 trim, and why is it the most popular?

2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo in red.
2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo in red. | Mazda

According to KBB, the most popular 2022 Mazda CX-5 trim is the 2.5 S Preferred. There are seven different trim levels and one special edition across the range of compact SUVs. Prices go from $27,000 to over $40,000. However, the favorite model of most buyers costs $31,175. KBB suggests that this version is the most popular because “it’s fun to drive at neighborhood speeds and provides near-luxury features at a reasonable price.”

Fortunately, even experts like Edmunds suggest buying the Preferred trim. For a few different reasons, the value-packed model is better than those more expensive than it and the more affordable options. Moreover, the standard CX-5 engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 187 horsepower. The upgrade to a turbocharged version is even better and ups the power to 227 horsepower. Unfortunately, the turbocharged engine is only available for the top two trims, Turbo and Turbo Signature.

A front corner view of the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature on an open road.
A front corner view of the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature on an open road. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Even with the cheapest version of the 2022 Mazda CX-5, there is a good amount of value. For an affordable price, base models come with all-wheel drive, push-button start, a 10.25-inch display, a four-speaker audio system, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. In addition, all trim levels have a comprehensive set of driving aids. Items like forward collision mitigation, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control make this compact SUV safer.

However, the Preferred model gains these features, everything from the Select trim, plus more. All CX-5 Selects get heated seats, six speakers, keyless entry, and more. By choosing the Preferred trim, owners get access to those features, plus some. For example, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, sunroof, power liftgate, driver’s seat memory settings, a power-adjustable passenger’s seat, and leather upholstery.

In short, the CX-5 Preferred gains a few convenience features most can’t live without. Furthermore, leather and a power liftgate are big selling points. Since the Preferred model is barely more expensive than the Select, it seems like a no-brainer to buy the upgrade. Passed this point, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 trims become less valuable for the money.

Higher trims don’t provide as much value


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While the CX-5 Preferred is the most popular trim, a few offer more features but cost more money. However, many of the more expensive models don’t provide enough bang for your buck. For example, the Carbon Edition only adds cosmetic upgrades like exclusive exterior paint, gloss black side mirrors, and black or red leather upholstery. We don’t think that’s worth paying a few thousand more over the Preferred and Select trims.

In addition, the Premium Plus model gains excellent features like heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and ventilated front seats. However, one step above it is another underwhelming trim, the CX-5 Turbo. Although it is the cheapest way to get the Turbo engine, we think the lack of other features makes it a worse option. We’d recommend going for the $35,525 Premium Plus or the range-topping Turbo Signature for $40,225, not the Turbo.

In conclusion, the most popular Mazda compact SUV trim is also the best. Although there are trims with more features and a better engine, it packs the most value into its price. In addition, it barely exceeds $30,000 with destination fees, so it’s affordable. As the price climbs closer to $40,000, some of the simple upgrades lose their value. The standard features and price are the main reason the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Preferred is the most popular trim.