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Some SUVs age better than others. The Mazda CX-5 hasn’t had a redesign in years but still outranks plenty of rivals like the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Crosstrek. Driving the 2024 Mazda CX-5 proves that it’s more than able to keep up with recently designed competitors. 

What is the 2024 Mazda CX-5’s secret to success? 

The 2024 Mazda CX-5 is part of the second generation that launched in 2017. The Toyota RAV4 was redesigned in 2019, the Honda CR-V was resigned for 2023, and the 2024 Nissan Rogue sports a mid-cycle refresh. 

While the CX-5 has received revised headlights and tech upgrades like the addition of Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto it has primarily been a carryover model for years and that doesn’t matter. It still ranks in the top three on most of the best SUV lists for 2024. 

The formula of combining simple elegance, sophistication, intuitive technology, and an engaging performance continues to be the recipe for success. 

While the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque may seem lackluster, it’s solid for running errands and daily commutes.

However, the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine provides up to 256 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.6 seconds, making it faster than the RAV4, CR-V, and Rogue. 

The 2024 Mazda CX-5 parked in grass
2024 Mazda CX-5 | Allison Barfield, Mazda

It provides most smooth transmission shifts but can be a little hesitant to downshift in Sport mode. Paddle shifters provide more precise and body motion is well-controlled for an athletic experience. I agree with Edmunds, it has the best handling in the class. 

The CX-5 can feel a bit stiffer but quickly dampens impacts for a smooth ride. Cabin noise is kept at bay for a relaxing ride and the seats are well-padded and supportive for hours of comfort. 

Plus, the interior has no signs of aging while the 2024 Hyundai Palisade could use an update. The leather-wrapped surfaces provide an upscale feeling with attractive pops of chrome and wood appliques. 

The layout is simple, well-planned, and elegant. It’s attractive and eye-catching with subtle accent stitching as rivals border on being too busy. Also, what rival can pull off wooden accents aside from a luxury option?

Some drivers may be upset over the lack of a touchscreen, but the system is easily controlled with a rotary dial. It takes no time to master and seems less distracting than touchscreen interfaces. There are physical dials and buttons that are clearly labeled as well. 

The CX-5 has an extremely advanced head-up display that has road sign recognition, navigation directions, blind spot warnings, and speed. The wireless phone charger is in a great location and works quickly too. The CX-5 is rare with its weather alerts along your routes too. 

Also, the safety features are modern and advanced with drowsing driving detection, one of the best adaptive cruise control systems available, lane-centering assist, lane departure warning, responsive automatic headlights, parking sensors, a 360-degree display, and rear automatic braking. 

For the most part, the tech is easy to use with excellent speed, good voice recognition, and modern graphics. The safety systems aren’t overly sensitive with shrill beeping. 

But here are a few areas that could be updated: 

  • The sunroof is a bit small, rivals offer larger panoramic sunroofs. 
  • While the six-speed automatic transmission is dialed in, rivals offer eight and 10-speed options. 
  • The ambient interior lighting is limited to the Turbo Signature trim.
  • The driving gauges are analog, which some people may prefer. But rivals have custom digital gauges. 
  • There are driving modes for Normal, Sport, and Off-Road. But rivals have Comfort, Eco more diverse terrain, and customizable driving modes. 
  • While there are rear air vents to keep passengers cool, I didn’t see any USB ports.  
  • Some rivals like the Nissan Rogue and Hyundai Santa Fe have a passthrough storage bin in front of the center console. The Hyundai Tucson has a new storage bin above the glove box.
  • The CX-5 doesn’t have remote parking. 
  • The CX-5 doesn’t have a motion-activated tailgate. 

While these features aren’t dealbreakers, some of them can provide more convenience and customization. But the CX-5 stands out despite having an older age by providing comfort, value, an attractive design, intuitive tech, and an unmatched performance.