The Mazda CX-5 endeared itself to me eight years ago (story here) and even though there have been significant updates, including an all-new generation for the 2017 model year, the basic goodness just shines through.
There are no big changes to report for 2023, apart from an all-new paint color (Rhodium White). Our tester, as you can see, came in Mazda's popular, verging on iconic, Soul Red Crystal Metallic.
Under the hood, it's the same mostly winning formula as it has been the past seven model years---a 227-horsepower 2.5-liter turbo four. It makes 256 if you feed it premium gas, and it will knock back 0-60 runs in 6.2 seconds. Not shabby at all. The only thing in need of updating is the six-speed automatic transmission. Three or four more gears would help, especially in terms of fuel economy, where the CX-5 manages an EPA-estimated 24 miles per gallon city/highway combined.
The test vehicle was a top-of-the-line 2023 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature AWD. Base price $40,925 with destination. Crossing that psychological $39,999 barrier is a bit of a shock, but consider what comes standard: Selectable drive modes, G-vectoring control plus, 19-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, heated power mirrors, a power moonroof, LED headlights and taillights with adaptive high-beam control, a power liftgate, Nappa leather-trimmed seats, an eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar, heated front and rear seats and heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a ten-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, and a comprehensive suite of active safety features.
And apart from $595 for the Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint and $135 for a rear bumper guard, that's it. As-tested price: $41,655.
Mazdas are a solid choice that differentiate themselves from other Japanese brands (Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi) through a more involving driving experience and cut-above interiors. The price tag of the top-of-the-line 2023 CX-5 is more than justified.