A white 2024 Mazda CX-5 is shown driving on a city road after viewing a Mazda CX-5 for sale.

Breaking All the Rules: Examining the Performance Attributes of the Mazda CX-5

With the arrival of a new model year comes the promise of vehicles that go above and beyond expectations to deliver the very best results to the average consumer. The past few decades have seen the SUV rise to unprecedented levels of popularity, and the CX series from Mazda continues to shift the paradigm and break the mold in terms of affordable luxury and performance.

A vehicle with the amenities most commonly associated with a European luxury sedan with the capability and prowess of a crossover SUV? Not only is it possible, but Mazda has also proven time and time again that it’s essential. The 2024 Mazda CX-5 is another entry in a book that continues to inspire and awe critics and consumers. With a new version of the Mazda CX-5 for sale, it’s time we look underneath the hood and witness for ourselves the might and majesty of a crossover SUV that manages to break all the rules as well as the mold it was shaped in.

The Story So Far…

The Mazda CX-5 began its journey to prominence during the 2013 model year. One of the members of the CX series of SUVs manufactured by Mazda, the vehicle was known for its performance-oriented powertrain, which took the form of a 2.0L or 2.5L four-cylinder engine. Available with both an automatic and manual transmission, as had been the case for many Mazda offerings in years prior, the vehicle didn’t take long to make a sizable impact on the masses.

By 2015, sales in the United States eclipsed over 111,000 units, a number that’s been surpassed every year since. Entering its second generation during the 2017 model year, the CX-5 is comparable to the Miata in terms of offering drivers the ability to engage in high performance without breaking the bank in terms of up-front cost. The starting MSRP for the 2024 Mazda CX-5 begins at $30,675, and as we’ll see today, this is one of the most exciting bargains to be found on the marketplace.

The black interior and dash of a 2024 Mazda CX-5 is shown.

Under the Hood and Beyond All Expectations

As has been the case for several decades, many drivers are curious to know that any vehicle with a reputation for performance has packing underneath its hood. So, this is where we’ll begin our examination of the CX-5. There are two available powertrains for the 2024 model year, both of which take the form of a 2.5L four-cylinder engine and have a lot to offer in the performance department. The first propels the CX-5 forward with 187 hp and is the standard offering. For those looking for just a little bit more in the performance department, Mazda has you covered in the form of a turbocharged version of the same engine that boasts an impressive amount of horsepower at 256 hp.

Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, which deviates from the course many manufacturers have chosen to take with the continuously variable transmission. What’s even more remarkable was a shift in design from a few years prior, which sees the CX-5, as well as several other Mazda SUVs having standard AWD, which allows the brand to not only compete with Subaru and their Symmetrical AWD format but outclass them in every conceivable way. Testing conducted by Car & Driver Magazine certainly attested to this, as it showed the CX-5 having the capacity to travel from 0 to 60 mph in a little over six seconds, which is quite impressive for an SUV.

Handling All of Life’s Curves

It’s been remarked before that with great power comes great responsibility. The industry has no shortage of vehicles that pack a considerable amount of performance underneath the hood, and some of these are known for only being able to be handled by experienced drivers who make it their business to wrangle horsepower on the rodeo that takes place on asphalt. With two prominent engines to its name, one might be led to assume that the 2024 Mazda CX-5 falls into this category. Well, that assumption would be one that’s incorrect.

By all accounts, the CX-5 handles like a dream. The statement we provided earlier that compared its design to that of a high-end European luxury sedan wasn’t merely an observation of its stylings. Because of its low center of gravity, the CX-5 can hug the asphalt and handle the curves and twists that any driver can expect to experience on their commute. Car & Driver Magazine noted that the electrical-assisted steering made the vehicle quite adept at handling the most tumultuous of roads, and noise from traveling was minimal. You can expect to experience the type of performance on the road from BMW or Porsche, albeit at a fraction of the price.

A white 2024 Mazda CX-5 is shown driving near a river.

Fuel Economy

There’s an assumption that many consumers have that relates to anything of quality—it comes with a price tag that’s just a little bit too rich for their liking. This has certainly been the case with vehicles they’d like to purchase. Ask the average driver, and they’ll tell you that high performance usually comes with a price to match. This can be particularly true when it comes to how much one can expect to pay at the pump. Fortunately, the Mazda CX-5 not only has a preference for performance but conservative fuel consumption as well.

The fuel economy you can expect from your Mazda CX-5 depends upon which engine you decide. For the base offering 2.5L, drivers can expect to achieve 26 MPG while traveling in the city and 31 on the highway for a combined average of 28 MPG. As for the turbocharged version of the 2.5L, the higher grade of performance does impact the vehicle’s fuel efficiency, although not by much. A combined total average of 24 (22 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway) is certainly exceptional, considering the high rate of horsepower and the fact that the Mazda CX-5 is an AWD-exclusive vehicle. Considering the varying levels of performance from both engines, it’s refreshing to know that both of them aren’t gas guzzlers like other high-performance vehicles from around the industry.

A Final Verdict on the 2024 Mazda CX-5

In an age where the SUV continues to rise in unprecedented heights of popularity, there’s certainly no shortage of options to choose from when one takes a close look at the marketplace. However, the gap between economic choices and high performance, more often than not, is separated by price. What we see in the Mazda CX-5 is a complete departure from this line of thinking. With the CX-5, exceptional performance you’d expect from a more expensive vehicle is easily within reach.

Not only is the vehicle affordable on an average income, but it offers drivers a vehicle of exceptional performance that’s simple to drive and also has the added benefit of AWD to tackle the rigors of any road one sees fit to travel upon. To top it all off, standard features such as Adaptive Cruise Control speak to the level that Mazda has gone to give drivers more for their money. After all, what more would you expect from the same people who gave us the Miata and the RX-7?