The Mazda CX-5 might be the perfect SUV for your everyday driving needs, but there are a few things to consider first. While the 2023 Mazda CX-5 lives up to its luxurious reputation, there are a few areas where improvements could be made.
2023 Mazda CX-5: What’s New?
Not much has changed for the 2023 Mazda CX-5 this model year, but it did gain a new Rhodium White paint shade. Most of the attention has shifted from the CX-5 to the beefier Mazda CX-50 model. But the CX-5 boasts more road comfort with athletic handling.
We overhauled all the bells and whistles with the high-spec Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature finish. It’s loaded with ventilated seats, a wireless phone charging pad, upgraded leather upholstery, genuine wood trim, a black headliner, and built-in navigation.
You also get a bright silver finish on the wheels, a 360-degree surround-view camera, parking sensors, automatic rear brakes, a power liftgate, and a head-up display.
While the 2023 CX-5 starts at $26,700, the Turbo Signature model increases the price to $39,650. But even the base model is packed with value and includes standard all-wheel drive.
1. Go to engine update
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, the CX-5 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, which is typical of the class. It is perfectly fine to pass others on the road and merge with traffic.
But you can upgrade to the 2.5-liter Turbo engine for up to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, the CX-5 can hit 60 mph in about 6.6 seconds.
While it can be slow to downshift, the lively acceleration and paddle shifters provide an engaging experience with confidence and control. It handles corners well with responsive handling and predictable braking.
2. The quality of luxury may not be related to the quality of the trip.
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has a stiff suspension that is excellent for athletic performance. It may not be as smooth as you expect. But the tires provide excellent grip that is connected to the surface for more response.
While the interior is mostly quiet, wind and road noise is noticeable at highway speeds. But you don’t have to raise your voice to carry on a conversation. The Bose premium audio system covers the noise well.
However, the interior climate controls provide an excellent amount of comfort. The heated seats and steering wheel are perfect on chilly mornings, and the ventilated seats provide relief on hot afternoons.
3. The CX-5 has an Off-Road mode
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has an Off-Road Drive Mode that stiffens the suspension for more control in slippery conditions. It feels confident on slippery gravel roads with thick sections of mud.
Didn’t slip or slide in the mud. It can even come to a controlled stop at higher speeds. We’re sure the CX-5 is perfect for snow, even if it doesn’t have a special snow mode.
The i-Activ AWD system actively measures the amount of torque sent to each wheel to avoid losing power or sliding on slippery surfaces to deliver the optimal amount of control in real time.
But the CX-5 could use a little more torque for rutting and overcoming obstacles. Plus, it only has a 7.5-inch ground clearance. You can take it to your campsite, but it is not suitable for moderate off-road trails.
4. The CX-5 has limited space
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 feels a bit cramped. Taller drivers may want more headroom in the front. Also, the back seat is tight. (I’m 5’1” and wanted more knee room.) Two average adults can sit in the back, but it can feel cramped.
There is not a lot of space for personal items. The glove box and center console are cramped. The only storage tray in front is taken up by the cordless phone charging pad.
You can access up to 29.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat for a total of up to 53.9 cubes. It honestly has more cargo space than expected, and the rear seats fold down to create a level load floor.
5. Driving modes do not affect fuel economy
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 is configured with the Mi-Drive system. Driving modes include Sport, Normal, and Off-Road. Rivals tend to have a fuel-saving Eco Mode or relaxing Comfort Mode.
While Sport mode has noticeably quicker response times for quicker acceleration and stiffer suspension, it doesn’t affect braking feel. Normal mode is a bit more relaxed for convenient, low-effort driving.
But we spent hours in both drive modes to get around 24.7 mpg. We expected Normal mode to perform a little better and Off-Road mode to use more gas.
6. The infotainment system could have a learning curve
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has an attractive 10.3-inch infotainment system with quick response times. But it is not a touch screen. It’s controlled by a rotary dial that takes a bit of getting used to.
However, we’re no strangers to Mazda SUVs and we can turn the dial and use it to like different menus in seconds. Also, the voice controls are very efficient. The biggest problem we had was using the climate control dial to adjust the volume by mistake.
It is located next to the infotainment screen, while the volume dial is located next to the center console on the rotary dial. You have to look down to see it, which could be distracting. But overall, the system is easy to use with simple steps involved.
7. The interior is downright luxurious
The 2023 Mazda CX-5 offers near-luxury amenities without the high cost of a luxury vehicle. You’ll find the huge leather seats with two-tone upholstery attractive and supportive.
There are many leather-covered surfaces with a premium, high-quality feel. The steering wheel and gear selector are durable and smooth. The wood trim has a classic sophistication feel and the black headlining is luxurious.
The black carpet is comfortable and easy to clean, and the chrome accents help accentuate the interior. It’s simple without being cluttered with too many buttons and options. Every time someone looks inside a Mazda during our tests, they’re impressed.
Stay tuned for our next full 2023 Mazda CX-5 review to see all the specs, pros, and cons.
RELATED: Boosted: The 2023 Mazda CX-5 Ages Like Fine Wine