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October 13, 2015

Review: 2015-2016 Mazda CX-5 AWD Sport

The first of the full Skyactiv line of vehicles, the Mazda CX-5, first introduced in 2012, is still at the top of its game. It delivers a driver-centric experience without sacrificing practicality and efficiency. It’s a rare breed of car that’s both a personal and popular choice; something the husband and the wife won’t disagree over. Simply put, Mazda didn’t need to revamp it. It’s good as it is and still sells briskly. Except, the Mazda3 happened and since then, the company has had to sprinkle the same sort of updates particularly because the CX-5 commands a price premium over its non-crossover stable mate.

Outside, it continues to avoid the whole miniaturized SUV styling thing. There are no attempts to wrap this crossover in a rough-and-rugged package; there are no pretenses that it can go off-road. Instead, it goes in the opposite direction, becoming all sleek and sporty. The lines and the proportions don’t look out of place in a sports hatchback or wagon and you have to thank the KODO design language for that. For this year’s update, the design is supplemented by a new front-end that visually widens the car. The trim elements in the grille and fog lamp clusters are now horizontal while the headlamps are now illuminated by adaptive LEDs with “eye of the beast” daytime running lights. At the back, the changes are much more minimal with just the tail lamps gaining the same LED signature. It still runs on the same 225/55R19 Toyo Proxes but with a meaner two-tone alloy wheel design.

Inside is where the majority of the improvements are seen. The aesthetics is still about straightforwardness and functionality. The execution is very Japanese in its minimalist design and lack of visual distractions. The gauges themselves present all the required information in an easy-to-understand manner without the need to decipher menus. It’s the same with the rest of the controls from the climate to the Mazda Connect. Ergonomically, it remains flawless. For this update though, Mazda sees to it that the cabin’s lifted in terms of quality with items like the piano black accents replaced by brushed metallic ones. As a result, it feels like a substantially different vehicle from behind the steering wheel.

Feature-wise, the CX-5 has always been generous and the 2015-2016 is no different. Aside from the aforementioned adaptive LED headlights and Mazda Connect, it has rain-sensing wipers, a passive keyless entry with push button start/stop, cruise control, moon roof, rear parking camera, a 9-speaker Bose sound system, idle start/stop, and now, it even gets an innovative lane keeping assist that automatically steers the car back into the lane when it detects unwanted drifting.

Ergonomically, it has withstood the test of time. It’s easy to adapt to its driving position—being more sedan-like than SUV. The controls, no matter how minor, are easy to find and use. Vehicle operation is fool-proof in its simplicity and the Mazda Connect is wonderful with its clean, crisp graphics. The power adjustments for the front passenger seats, with memory settings for the driver, ensure minute adjustments for the perfect seating position. However, the thrones itself, don’t exactly offer a plush experience. Lacking in both width and bum support, long-distance drives in excess of four hours can result in a numbed backside.

The CX-5 revolutionized the automotive world with its Skyactiv technology and for 2015-2016, it’s virtually untouched. Under the hood is a 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G 4-cylinder engine that does 188 horsepower (up four from before) and 250 Nm of torque. In an era where turbochargers are increasingly becoming the norm, you have to squeeze the throttle get the most out of this engine (peak torque happens at a relatively high 4,000 rpm). But if you do commit to it, the CX-5 feels faster than its 8.3-second 0-100 km/h time. Like before, this engine’s mated to a six-speed automatic which is smooth and unobtrusive. Oddly, there are still no paddle shifters even if there’s a new Sport mode that changes the engine and transmission mapping to a more aggressive set-up.

The CX-5’s Skyactiv-Chassis remains one of the most adept at handling corners. It’s still no sports sedan, but it’s far nimbler than any of its contemporaries. The ride is decisively firm, especially when tackling rough surfaces, but at least the trade-off is much better roll control and tighter handling. And with improved sound deadening placement, it’s also much quieter than before. The planted and secure handling is added to by the sharp, quick, and linear steering with a ratio that feels faster than most crossovers. New for 2015-2016 is a handling-bias AWD system called i-ACTIVE AWD. Without any notion that it can go off the beaten path, Mazda’s system uses a variety of sensors to make the AWD more proactive rather than reactive. It senses possible slippage and primes the AWD to activate at a moment’s notice. The end result is a better handling crossover with an added bump in fuel efficiency:  8.47 km/L in the city and 14.04 km/L on the highway (up from 8.13 km/L and 13.16 km/L before).

Normally, it’s hard to get excited about driving a crossover. It’s often seen as the necessarily evil that balances a car guy’s wants with his family’s needs. The Mazda CX-5 has always been the exception. With all crossovers now managing to be great value, and easy to own, the biggest differentiator with the Mazda is how it conducts itself on the road. The added style and tech does help, but it’s the driving enjoyment given by the CX-5 has charms its way to would be buyers, whether or not the driver in question is of the enthusiast bent.

2015-2016 Mazda CX-5 AWD Sport
Ownership 2015-2016 Mazda CX-5 AWD Sport
Year Introduced 2012 (Refreshed: 2015)
Vehicle Classification Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 188 @ 5,700
Nm @ rpm 250 @ 4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,540
Width (mm) 1,840
Height (mm) 1,670
Wheelbase (mm) 2,700
Curb Weight (kg) 1,586
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Toyo Proxies R36 225/55R19 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors No, Rear Camera
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Adaptive
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 40/20/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Climate Control Yes, Dual
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 9, Bose
Steering Wheel Controls Yes


  1. This is much better looking than the Mazda6 wagon.

  2. nice review and a beautiful car but i do have some wish list like i hope there's a diesel version, front engine RWD, panoramic roof not the small moon roof, wrapped around cam, full rear spare tire, and all the safety equipment like EDB, HAS/HDC, BSA, collision mitigation, lane keep assist and if not to much ask A MANUAL PARKING BRAKE, but i guess its dealer option if this ain't a CBU

    1. all of those safety features are on the ford escape, but if u want diesel, with all those features, then the ranger or everest can give that to you, though its not a crossover.

    2. If you have the money to buy and maintain such a vehicle, you won't worry with your fuel consumption. Petrol fed engines are stil smoother than diesel engines.

  3. 1. diesel sucks. it's fussy to maintain and it's a known carcinogen. besides why would you want to get a diesel when this car is already fuel efficient and has good performance?

    2. moon roof sucks too. sooner or later, there will be a mechanical failure since there are a moving parts. another additional expense for maintenance.

    3. electronic parking brake is the future. not much you can do about it. it's a space saver. most luxury vehicles has one. we're not in the Jurassic ages anymore.

    Other than those I mentioned, I totally agree with you.

  4. i like diesel cause its the fuel of the future, listen we all know that one day the prices of gasoline will rocket sky high after the oil wells will dry up that driving gasoline engine will be too expensive so the only viable engine for us is diesel preferably bio-diesel and from the way we consume gas its about 20-30 years from now, look buying diesel cars is like an investment, and there is a diesel version of cx 5 but its not coming here (thats why im wishing) that version has 450nm of torque and that's what i need climbing the hills and mountains of Baguio, as for the sun roof well its my taste i don't want to feel claustrophobic and i enjoy the view, while i bet your the guy that scrapes of the icing off the cake cause it can cause diabetes and i like manual parking brake cause im a man, its the only remaining man brute requiring thing left in a world of power assisted this and power assisted that, and i like to yank this beast of a car to submission with the flex of my biceps, wimp and power e-brakes are slow and its another thing to fail

    1. I'd have to disagree with you. I don't think diesel is the future. Fuel cell is the future, zero emissions.

    2. I just had to reply to this. Diesel fuel of the future? LOL! Renewable and recyclable resources are the future. Remember, the only reason why diesel is cheaper here in the Philippines is because of the oil deregularization law. Else where, diesel is more expensive.

  5. would you disagree with audi, bmw, mercedens-benz, prosche, land rover and volvo top quality luxury brands that have diesel line up?,.... lets be honest fuel cell is not near to becoming a viable fuel anytime soon, and its not as clean as you might think, and hybrids are just too expensive and hopeless and again not as clean as you might think, so my point is for us stuck with the realities of the present day we have to resort to clean viable available realistic bio-fuel like bio-diesel, but if you still can afford gasoline at prices of today then go but if you do, try to look at the price board, which fuel is cheaper per liter and offers better security for the future certainly i don't want my car to be stuck 5-10 yrs from now simply because gas is way to expensive and you can't sell your car by then coz the market will be saturated with brand new and second hand gasoline cars,

    1. Yeah I've heard lots of nightmarish stories about those diesel luxury cars when it comes to maintenance compared to their gasoline counterparts. Diesels have more expensive parts and are more prone to breakdowns especially those with turbo. In the end, all those money you saved because diesel is cheaper, will all amount to nothing since you'll spend it on maintenance. Plus it's a carcinogen.

    2. uhm no. sure it maybe more expensive to maintain, but prone to breakdown? nah. I've seen ram 1500's going 300k miles here.

    3. let me rephrase that. what I meant was diesels can breakdown easily compared to gasoline when the maintenance are neglected. when properly maintained, diesels can survive much longer than gasoline but knowing the typical pinoy mentality (kung kailan malala na, tsaka pa ipapaservice) and bad fuel quality here, I doubt it will last as long as neglected gasoline engines.

    4. Diesels obviously have long useful lives. Just look at our jeepneys, buses and trucks on the road. The difficulty of owning diesels is exaggerated.

    5. Yes, take notice of how many of the jeeps, buses and trucks break down on the road, with their drivers scratching their head, not knowing what to do anymore.

    6. Yes they do break down. But are you sure it's the engine at fault? Galing mo naman.

    7. Refer to my comment on October 15, 2015 at 3:43 PM. Basa basa din pag may time para di mag mukhang engot.

  6. manufacturers are looking for better fuel alternative other than diesel or gas. so that alone means diesel engines have shortcomings...

  7. really heard!?! don't you think they have a reputation to look after? sure maintenance will be expensive coz their quality brand and you just dont go to shady repair shop to maintain them, pure water is carcinogenic, pure oxygen is carcinogenic blame your parents if your susceptible to cancer, weak, look alternative fuel isn't going to be in the mainstream anytime soon now what we need is sustainable renewable fuel source like diesel coming out of coco products or from palm tree oil add ethanol (from plants) and you'll get diesel and don't get me started with fuel cell or hybrids

  8. heto ang magaling, diesel daw ang future! LOL! LOL!

    1. The world runs and will continue to run on diesels. Ships, trains, trucks, buses, power plants even submarines use diesels. The world runs on diesel more than you think you know. And it will not change soon. We've come a long way in terms of generations of diesels and even greater improvements are to be expected.

    2. Future fuel depends on world economy. Marami ng research for hydrogen bio gas all of alternative fuel name it you have it all. But it boils down to the world economy. If you stop oil drilling parang sinabi mo wag ng magtrabaho ang buong mundo. Think supply chain business globally

    3. E di mawalan sila ng trabaho. All that fracking and drilling is not good for the environment. Kaya nga nagreresearch for alternative fuel para di lang mabawasan ang emissons, but also the harmful way how these oils are beig harnessed.

  9. anong engine type ang nag papatakbo sa shipping lines, power plants at ng mass transportation na mga bus, kung ang sagot diesel i rest my case if not i leave it to all the readers of this site, all i wanted is a diesel version of this cx 5 n meron nmn s ibang bansa to have it here

    1. So what you're saying is you're going to use the cx-5 for commercial purposes (towing, mass transport, hauling)? Gasoline engine is more than enough for Philippine conditions. Even going to baguio, the torque is adequate. You don't need diesel unless you're going to use the vehicle as a workhorse, in which case better get a rugged pick up instead of a family crossover.

  10. ha! this shows you are a novice, a pick up truck even if its on 4x4 mode does not guarantee traction on a wet steep roads of baguio, every good highland driver knows this, specially when your not carrying any load at the back and worse if you are RWD only pick up truck, what you need is low rev range high torque car in climbing and when going down, the diesel engine offers better engine braking than that of gasoline and gasoline suffers from altitude sickness,. crossovers idea is that it offers when you need to wade shallow floods carry more and better ground clearance, in short im not going for commercial use, all i need is the security that if the time comes i would be able to do better than the car its based on

    1. You misunderstood my comment. I said if you're going to use it as a workhorse (commercial use), get a pick up. Never did I mention that you'll use the pick up going up to baguio. I also said that the torque of gasoline engine is adequate, never did I say it was better than the diesel. Read my comment again and please analyze more carefully next time.

  11. Hi Uly! CX-5 AWD, Forester XT or Tucson CRDI 4WD L in terms of fuel economy, performance and value for money (specs wise)?

  12. How about mazda service & parts? Anyone

  13. Its funny Anonymous is arguing with Anonymous it's crazy. Lol.


  14. Haha. I think it's even funny if it's the same person arguing to himself. lol.

    Carguide, installing Disqus plugin would help. hehe. I'm not a fan of white font to black bg. Hard to adjust reading. Most modern websites are now using dark font to light bg.

  15. Innova pa lang talo na ito! Parating pa kamo ang bagong Fortuner! Iilan ilan nga lang ang bumibili nito e

    1. Suck on Toyota fanboy, your third world country innova cannot match the Mazda CX 5 in all aspects lol. The counterpart of the CX 5, the Rav4 is overpriced and not that great as the Mazda. I would be embarrassed to own and even drive an innova or a vios.

    2. I never knew that Innova was a third world country

  16. Hi m thinking of this
    chevy captiva diesel
    mazada cx5 skyactive
    everest trend... any reco???

    1. Stay away from chevy captiva, the only good thing it has is the looks. The everest trend is a good choice if you need a 7 seater, but if you would only seat 5 or less people, then the CX 5 is the best choice, it's the best vehicle in its segment.

  17. HRVel, Tucson, cx5 pro? me.decide on what is the best out of these 3. Fuel efficiency, performance, specs, value for money, etc. This would be my first vehicle so I need the all the help I can get Lol) thanks guys

    1. Definitely CX5 pro, its a no brainer. All your criteria is met by the CX5, and get it in Soul Red ;) The Hrv is nice, but I wish it has more interior space, and it's quite heavy and only has a modest engine to carry it. The Tucson's exterior is nice, but the letdown is the interior quality and the CX has more interior space, more powerful engine, and its CBU Japan, + the 3 years free maintenance. The only letdown with Mazdas are the local customer service that are rumored to be bad, but the vehicles are great, better than the competition.

  18. this car has more to offer than rav4. i wonder why the rav4 cost more than this?

  19. Im also considering sa Mazda CX5 and i aldo agree with some agents and just only for selling not after sales .. i hope i can get a good dealer maybe in december.......


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