The refreshed 2022 CX-5 is as impressive as ever.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
Pricing: 2022 Mazda CX-5
Base price (Signature trim): $43,350
Options: $200 Polymetal Grey Metallic paint
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $45,600
The CX-5 remains easily recognizable, and this mid-cycle refresh isn’t super significant, but it does bring a few new things to the table and continues (for the most part) refining what is already a class-leading crossover and one of my favourites.
The big changes on the refreshed exterior are most noticeable on the front end – the bumper and grille are new – and the sides, where the wheel arches and rocker trim is now body-coloured instead of black plastic. The rear end is updated too with a new bumper, revised tail gate and noticeably larger exhaust tips.
There’s LED lighting all around, with nifty new driving light and tail light signatures that are more or less rectangles and quite eye-catching.
This Signature trim gets lovely new silver finish 19-inch rims shod with 225/55-sized tires and a Signature badge on the back so you can finally let people know you sprung for the high-end trim.
Nothing has really changed in the CX-5 interior – and that’s a good thing. It’s a high-class affair, with upscale materials including genuine Abachi wood trim on the dash and all four door panels and stitched panels throughout.
The heated steering wheel is a delight to hold – behind it is a centred digital gauge whose content the driver can control. The nicely sculpted heated and ventilated front seats, upholstered in gorgeous Cocoa Nappa leather, are comfortable and well-bolstered.
The 10.25″ screen controlled by the HMI Commander – a rotary input knob – handles navigation, phone functions, vehicle settings and the excellent 10-speaker BOSE sound system.
There’s a ton of driver assistance technology present here. You get front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree surround-view camera, heads-up display, rear brake support, traffic jam assist, driver attention alert and plenty of other tech.
The rear seats are very comfortable, although the middle seating position isn’t great – it’s narrow and the centre console comes back into its legroom. There’s plenty of head and leg room.
The beltline is quite high, and there is little to brighten the rear seating area, which makes the space somewhat claustrophobic.
The centre seatback folds down to become an armrest with dual cupholders and a lovely storage bin where you will find two USB charging ports as well as the rear seat heater controls for the two outboard seats.
The trunk has a power liftgate and offers up 871L of space. The rear seats have a convenient 40/20/40 split – there are release handles in the trunk to do the folding. Fold all three down and it brings the cargo capacity up to 1680L.
Under the Hood
This top-trim gets Mazda’s turbocharged 2.5L 4-cylinder. It has been tuned to produce a slightly higher 256 HP this year, along with a very stout 320 lb.ft of torque when running on 93 octane fuel. It’s nice that you can run this engine harm-free on regular fuel, where you can expect 227 HP and 310 lb.ft of torque. Mazda sticks with its 6-speed automatic and their i-ACTIV all-wheel drive is standard on all trims of the CX-5.
Fuel economy is rated at 10.8/8.7 L/100 km (city/highway). Unfortunately our average was notably higher (13.1 L/100 km!) over the course of our week with the CX-5 – all that power doesn’t come for free.
I’ve said this every time I reviewed a Mazda with this engine. It’s plenty powerful, but not as powerful as the number would indicate. With that said, it has more than enough jam for any driving situation, jumping off the line with aplomb and making any passing maneuvers happen with ease.
The transmission is smooth and even though it has less gears than any of its competitors, it never feels insufficient – the ratios are perfect and it does a great job. Gears can be shifted manually with paddle shifters.
There are now three drive modes to choose from – Normal, Sport and Offroad, the latter being a new addition.
Mazda indicates they have updated the suspension with improvements to dampening and frame rigidity. I’m going to be honest – to me, the new suspension felt a bit more harsh and firmer than it used to, and I’ve driven quite a few CX-5s. Overall though, it remains a comfortable vehicle, and of course the handling is outstanding. The steering is very deliberate, and has a feeling of heavy precision.
If you tow things, this combination’s towing capacity is 2000 pounds (907 kg).
I did notice a couple of things in the CX-5 that are showing their age now. The one that started bothering me this time around was the keyless lock/unlock rubber button on the driver’s door handle. Other vehicles in this price range mostly unlock the vehicle automatically as you come near it, or the handle at least has a touch sensor so it unlocks the moment you touch it. The fact that you have to depress a button feels pretty old-school these days.
WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was high. She has always been a fan of the CX-5 and felt this was the nicest one yet.
The CX-5 has long been one of my favourite crossovers, and is possibly my most-recommended purchase for the many, many prospective shoppers that ask me for advice. It ticks nearly all the boxes for nearly all shoppers, and pleases almost everyone who drives one. They are easy to live with, still look fantastic, drive wonderfully and have the added bonus of Mazda’s stellar reliability record.
This Signature trim is definitely creeping north in terms of pricing, along with everything else these days. But I think most buyers would be thrilled with the GT trim which axes the thirsty turbo engine and a few of the top-end features and luxuries but ends up coming in at a far more palatable MSRP for those who are price-sensitive. Mazda has also added a new trim level for this year, the Sport – which is between the GT and this Signature.
The bottom line is this 2022 CX-5 remains an awesome ride and I highly recommend putting it on the list if you’re looking at compact crossovers.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Mazda Canada.
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