Being different doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. And it isn’t necessary to get a high-performance SUV, says MotorTrend, to have a fun vehicle. MotorTrend picked out several affordable crossovers and SUVs that stand out for their unexpectedly entertaining drives. The 2021 Mazda CX-5 Turbo is one “that rises above what one would expect from a commuter.” Here’s why the 2021 CX-5 Turbo isn’t a boring drive.
The performance of the 2021 Mazda CX-5 Turbo
The 2021 Mazda CX-5 offers practicality and the engaging driving Mazda is known for. Its chassis “rewards spirited driving,” says MotorTrend. The CX-5 Turbo accelerates from 0 to 60 MPH in 6.1 seconds and zips through the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds, going 94.9 MPH. According to MotorTrend, the 2021 CX-5 is “one of the quickest mainstream gas-powered compact SUVs.” MotorTrend says, “Compact crossovers from mainstream brands aren’t supposed to be this fun.”
The CX-5 Turbo improves the performance of the base CX-5 with its turbocharged 2.5-liter I-4 engine. It generates 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque when premium fuel is used, and 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque with regular fuel. It does require premium fuel though. MotorTrend is enthusiastic about the SUV’s performance with this engine, saying it has “an athleticism that punches well above its purchase price.”
The 2021 Mazda CX-5 Turbo
The standard engine for the Mazda CX-5 is a naturally aspirated four-cylinder, which produces 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, the CX-5 is slower, accelerating from 0 to 60 MPH in about 8.0 seconds, according to U.S. News.
The CX-5 is close to a luxury vehicle, with a high-quality look and feel. A new infotainment system with a 10.3-inch screen is standard on all trim levels. It’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but rather than having a touchscreen, it’s operated with a dial. The SUV has received good crash test results from both the IIHS and NHTSA. With the standard engine, the 2021 Mazda CX-5 starts at $25,270, and the CX-5 Turbo AWD starts at $38,505.
MotorTrend’s list of “least boring mainstream SUVs”
All the “not boring” crossovers and SUVs like the Mazda CX-5 on the MotorTrend list were chosen for having an “extra dose of horsepower, an unexpected level of off-road prowess, or handling that rises above what one would expect from a commuter.” All are mainstream vehicles that are “reasonably affordable.”
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is smaller than the full-sized Bronco but still capable of off-road adventures. The 2021 Jeep Wrangler offers low-range gearing with its four-wheel drive, and the top and doors can be removed. The 2021 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk may have limited power, but MotorTrend points out that it has “a crawler gear for its four-wheel drive system,” the Selec-Terrain feature, and integrated tow hooks.
The 2021 Dodge Durango R/T is a three-row SUV, but it has a powerful 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and still managed to be affordable. The 2021 Ford Explorer ST is a three-row SUV with a 3.0-liter V6 engine and a new lower price for 2021.
The 2021 Kia Soul GT Line Turbo is between a hatchback and an SUV, and this compact option has a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that performs well. The 2021 Hyundai Kona Turbo is a “funky” option, according to MotorTrend, with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and all-wheel drive. The 2021 Nissan Kicks is a subcompact with a small engine and great handling around corners. The 2021 Mini Countryman impressed MotorTrend in the Cooper S trim, with its turbocharged four-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Affordable SUVs don’t need to be boring. The 2021 Mazda CX-5 Turbo stands as one option with outstanding performance and plenty of fun driving. Buyers looking for off-roading or performance in a bigger or smaller SUV have options as well.