I was shopping to replace my high mileage 2010 Honda CRV. The CRV was very reliable, but, I was never really satisfied with it. I read a number of reviews of the small SUVs, and, narrowed my choice down to CRV, RAV4, and the CX-5. After test drives of the 3 contenders, I went with the Mazda because I liked its performance and handling far better that the others. Also - in the various reviews/coparisons, the CX-5 always seemed to deliver the best fuel economy. My experience with the Mazda so far leads me to agree with the reviews I read. Yeah, the Mazda has a little less cargo space than the others, but, it's much more of a "drivers" car. Have to say - "Zoom-Zoom" is real with this vehicle.
The powertrain in the CX-5 offers very crisp performance, and, excellent fuel economy as well. I've put 1000 miles on the car so far and its perfomance reminds me of the 2.5 liter Jaguar X-Type I used to own. The Mazda engine has very good mid-range torque, and, the 6 speed automatic works well with it. This vehicle doesn't have to downshift to climb hills on the interstate near as much as the Honda CRV it replaced did.
My Mazda is the AWD model, and, I'm pleasantly surprised that it's bascially hitting its EPA numbesr so far. I've done 3 long trips, mostly interstate, running 70 - 75 Mph, and, average mileage is running 27.5 - 30 Mpg.
I've had the Mazda on some back country two lane twisty roads, and, it handles quite well for an little SUV. The suspension is well buttoned up, and, the Mazda handles much like a sports sedan.
Safety & braking
The braking system on the CX-5 is excellent. Pedal feel is good and very linear. braking performance is very adequate. I noticed that the CX-5 uses an emergency brake that utilizes a ratcheting caliper on the rear rotors - similar to some of the luxury brands.
Front seat support & comfort
Soon after I bought the Mazda, I did an 8 hour trip in it. I found the seat comfort to be most satisfactory. I had no trouble finding a comfortable driving position using the power seat, and, the lumbar support.
Controls and instruments
My only annoyance with the Mazda is that it doesn't have an engine temperature guage. There's an idiot light that tells you the engine is cold, and, it quickly goes out. I'm old school - I'd like more info on what's going on under the hood, before some idiot light comes on , and, tells me the engine is making steam.
In its market segment, the CX-5 seems to be a well keep secret. Its built as well as its competition, out performs most of them, is priced competitively, and delivers excellent fuel economy to boot. If you're in the market for this type of vehicle, go drive a CX-5. Honda and Toyota make good, reliable products - in the RAV4 and CRV, but, they don't drive like the CX-5 does.