Crossover & Midsize

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 Doesn’t Let Engaging Driving Make It Less Safe

Mazda vehicles are known for great driving, and the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is no exception. MotorTrend is pleased with its handling and performance in recent tests. On top of that, the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is also a safe car, with high ratings and lots of available safety features. Here’s what we know about it.

The outstanding performance of the 2021 Mazda CX-5

MotorTrend test-drove the 2021 Mazda CX-5 Turbo on a mountain road north of Santa Monica, California, and proclaimed that the crossover “drives awesomely.” The driver says, “Compact crossovers from mainstream brands aren’t supposed to be this fun.”

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 has an available turbocharged 2.5-liter I-4 engine. When using 87 octane gas, it generates 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. With 93 octane, that increases to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. It’s able to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in 6.1 seconds. It also completes a quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds going 94.9 MPH. MotorTrend says that makes the 2021 CX-5 “one of the quickest mainstream gas-powered compact SUVs.” The electrified Toyota RAV4 Prime might accelerate faster. The CX-5 Turbo was able to stop from 60 MPH within 129 feet, which is 10 to 15 feet longer than some competitors.

The turbocharged engine “provides easy speed with a nice, deep growl,” says MotorTrend. The CX-5, with its independent suspension, has an agile feel and is great to drive, with very little body roll. However, MotorTrend found the six-speed automatic transmission to be “outdated” and a bit lacking.

The 2021 CX-5 does have a less powerful standard engine. That one is a 187-hp naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, says U.S. News. The CX-5 with this non-turbocharged engine doesn’t accelerate as quickly, going from 0 to 60 MPH in about 8.0 seconds.

What kind of safety are you getting?

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 brings plenty of performance, but it doesn’t sacrifice safety to do so. The 2021 CX-5 has been highly rated by both the IIHS and the NHTSA in their crash tests. In 2020, the CX-5 earned the Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS.

MotorTrend doesn’t think the driver aids are “quite as perceptive as some competitors,” but they are still useful. New for 2021, the CX-5 offers attention monitoring and reverse automatic braking. The 2021 CX-5 has a number of standard safety features, including a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Optional safety features include a head-up display, reverse automatic emergency braking, driver attention monitoring, surround-view parking camera system, front and rear parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive headlights.

The 2021 Mazda CX-5

RELATED: The Larger 2021 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Is More Fun to Drive Than the CX-30

The Mazda CX-5 has great power, but with the turbo engine, it doesn’t have the best fuel efficiency. The EPA rates the CX-5 Turbo AWD for 24 MPG overall. Competitors like the Chevrolet Equinox and the Honda CR-V do a little better at 27 MPG and 29 MPG respectively. The two-wheel-drive CX-5 Turbo does a hair better at 25 MPG overall. The EPA rates the non-turbo CX-5 for 26 MPG overall (AWD) and 28 MPG overall (2WD).

MotorTrend finds the CX-5 to have near luxury-brand quality, with a great look and feel. However, reviewers are wishing for a heated steering wheel that’s heated all around, not just on the sides. Also, the wood trim accents in the Signature trim could be more interesting if a different wood, like rosewood, were used, suggests MotorTrend. The Signature trim also has heated and ventilated leather seats, but they aren’t very comfortable.

All six trim levels have a new infotainment system. The display screen has been increased to 10.3 inches; however, it’s still not a touchscreen and is controlled with a dial. The system is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 2021 CX-5 starts at $25,270, while the CX-5 Turbo AWD starts at $38,505.

MotorTrend’s final proclamation about the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is that “it’s not the most spacious, practical, or efficient compact crossover. It is, without question, the best-driving.” It also manages to provide engaging driving without compromising its safety.