The CX-5 manages to feel balanced, responsive and sprightly, even with its somewhat taller seating position. This is thanks to a responsive electric-boost rack-and-pinion power steering system and Mazda's G-Vectoring Control Plus, which improves steering response by altering engine output to change the dynamics of the CX-5 in corners. All of this makes the CX-5 one of the best-handling compact utility vehicles.
The CX-5 is also versatile. In all versions of the CX-5, the back seats are split 20/40/40 and fold nearly flat. Liftover height is low, and the resulting cargo floor is continuous, which makes it easy to pack larger pieces of weekend cargo.
Sport models include a long list of standard features such as LED headlights, a 7.0-inch color dashboard display with Mazda's fancy Commander knob, a second USB port, G-Vectoring Control and Smart City Brake Support, Mazda's low-speed automated-emergency-braking system. Also standard on Sport models are items such as Bluetooth, cruise control, keyless entry, push-button ignition, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and power windows and door locks, factors to keep in mind when comparing the CX-5 against less expensive competitors that lack some of that equipment.
The Touring model adds much more popular equipment, such as 19-inch wheels, a rear-seat armrest, a rearview camera, steering-wheel audio controls, upgraded upholstery and a 6-speaker sound system with 5.8-inch touch-screen interface, Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio, HD Radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, SMS text-messaging capability and Pandora compatibility. The system also gives rear-seat passengers a pair of USB ports, a fold-down center armrest, and A/C vents between the front seats. Safety-wise, the trim adds blind-spot monitoring, active lane assist, adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Grand Touring models add a lot of equipment that is optional on the Touring, including automatic and adaptive headlights, LED fog lights, heated side mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a power liftgate and a sunroof. Inside, the Grand Touring has an 8-way power driver's seat, auto-dimming mirrors, a Bose 10-speaker audio system, navigation, leather seat surfaces, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, higher-speed automatic braking and automatic high-beam control. Stepping up to the Grand Touring Reserve adds the bigger engine.
The new Signature trim includes heated leather seats and a heated steering wheel, ambient LED lighting, wood accents, satin chrome accents, 360-degree camera view, and front and rear parking sensors.
Major factory options are grouped into just a few packages. For the Touring model these include a preferred equipment package that features a Bose 10-speaker audio system, navigation, power moonroof, and power rear liftgate. There is also the i-Activsense package, which includes automatic high-beam control, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, radar-based adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking with a higher speed range, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlights and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
A premium package can be added to the Grand Touring and has a windshield de-icer, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, a 6-way power passenger seat, 2-position driver's memory and a full-color head-up display. There are just a few other port- or dealer-installed options, such as remote engine start, fog lamps, rear parking sensors and roof-rack accessories for kayaks, snowboards and other cargo.