The 2024 Mazda CX-5 Is a Hot Seller for a Reason

Small compact utility vehicles are hot sellers and Mazda has one in the CX-5. This model comes with standard all-wheel drive, offers two engine choices including a turbo, and delivers a comfortable interior.

While we’re not smitten with some of its technologies, the Mazda CX-5 delivers an uplevel vibe, successfully bridging the mainstream and luxury realms, particularly with its upper trims.

See Also2023 Mazda CX-5 Review

2024 Mazda CX-5

The 2024 Mazda CX-5 is available in eight models, priced between $29,300 and $40,600, excluding a $1,375 destination fee. All models feature a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, with five being naturally aspirated and three turbocharged. An automatic transmission distributes power to all four wheels.

2024 Mazda CX 5 side

Introduced with a full redesign in 2017, the current-generation CX-5 is now in its eighth year. It shares the compact utility vehicle space with the newer and more upscale 2024 CX-50, both offering seating for five. While it might appear unusual for Mazda to have two models within the same category, the compact SUV market’s popularity justifies this strategy.

The CX-5, despite its age, remains Mazda’s most popular vehicle. In fact, in 2023, Mazda’s sales of the CX-5 were nearly double those of its next most popular model, the subcompact CX-3. Despite its older design, the CX-5 continues to be a consumer favorite. Therefore, it wouldn’t surprise us if Mazda continues this two-model strategy for a few more years.

2024 Mazda CX 5 rear 2

Regarding updates for the model year, Mazda discontinued the entry-level S grade, which resulted in an approximate $2,500 increase in the starting price for this model. The Carbon Turbo, priced at $37,000, has taken its place as the most affordable option among the vehicles with the enhanced engine offering.

Exterior Highlights

A gaping maw dominates the CX-5’s face, a familiar design feature found across all Mazda products. Indeed, the look prevails throughout the industry, but we think Mazda wears its face well. Sharp lines, creases, luscious curves, and upswept angles blend to flesh out this vehicle, handsome design elements also common to Mazda’s cars. 

All CX-5s come with dual-exhaust finishers and aluminum-alloy wheels. The standard LED headlights become adaptive lights on upper trims. Consequently, drivers benefit from expanded forward vision at night.

Also, further up field the CX-5 gains larger wheels, in some cases blacked-out trim, and expanded color choices. Metallic red paint, anyone?

Interior Highlights

The interior of the CX-5 comfortably accommodates five passengers, but the rear seating is snug for three adults. It’s best suited as a two-seater or reserved primarily for younger passengers.

2024 Mazda CX 5 interior 1

The cargo area offers 29.1 cubic feet of space behind the second row, expanding to 58.1 cubic feet when the rear seats are down. Competitors like the Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Escape offer more interior space.

Additionally, the cabin offers numerous small storage spaces for smartphones and other compact items. For example, the center console features a deep tray at the front and a handy compartment with an adjustable shelf. Regarding the rest of the interior, select trims are adorned with cushioned leather, providing a touch of luxury.

Technology and Safety

If there is a consistent theme we harp on, it has everything to do with Mazda’s infotainment system, particularly its center display. Yes, you can now gain touchscreen access to the display, but only if you’re connected with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

2024 Mazda CX 5 technology

When connected, the screen populates with the respective system’s icons for ease of use. However, the screen itself, measuring 10.25 inches diagonally, sits a bit too far back on the dashboard for short-armed folks.

That’s a nice way to say if you are short and your seat is pulled all the way up, you may still find yourself leaning forward to press icons. Such a distraction.

On the other hand, if you’re a voice-controlled expert, navigating these systems shouldn’t be too difficult. For everyone else, using Mazda’s commander dial to control audio features is a must. Once you get the hang of it, the dial is easy to use, but remains far from the connectivity method most manufacturers use these days.

On the safety front, Mazda equips every trim with adaptive cruise control with full stop and go, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

The package works as touted, but you may notice the departure warning is a little too loud (chimes) and sensitive. You may have extra passing room, but the chimes often activate. 


If it measures 2.5 liters, then that’s what’s found under the hood of every 2024 CX-5. It is what Mazda does with the engine that makes a significant difference. A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard. 

2024 Mazda CX 5 engine turbo
2.5L Turbo 4-Cylinder Engine

The base engine is naturally aspirated; this means it isn’t boosted with turbo technology. It does produce 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, numbers that translate to decent power when needed.

If that’s not enough, three trims come with a turbocharged version of the engine. This one bangs out 227 horsepower and a whopping 310 pound-feet of torque. But that’s with regular fuel. Choose premium grade, and the numbers reach 250/320. 

On the fuel economy front, the CX-5 makes upwards of a combined 28 mpg in city and highway driving or 24 mpg with the turbo. When equipped with the available towing package, the CX-5 pulls up to 2,000 pounds. 

Driving Highlights

The model we evaluated was equipped with a turbocharged engine. Over the past few years, we’ve extensively tested numerous Mazdas, gaining a deep understanding of the available powertrains and their performance in each vehicle. It’s fair to conclude that the standard engine will meet the needs of most drivers.

2024 Mazda CX 5 rear

The addition of a turbocharger elevates the CX-5 into an exclusive class of compact SUVs, generating over 300 foot-pounds of torque—a feat matched only by the Mazda CX-50. Torque represents the actual force driving the vehicle’s power, whereas horsepower quantifies how quickly this force is applied.

With standard all-wheel drive, only Subaru matches Mazda with this feature on nearly all models.  Keep this in mind when comparing prices as the cost is built in.

At the same time, the Subaru system is always active, while the Mazda kicks in as needed. Specifically, Mazda’s all-wheel drive is an electronic system that constantly measures engine power and wheel spin, shifting power to axles and specific wheels as needed. This makes for a more stable and safe driving environment.

Starting from a standstill, the CX-5 progresses smoothly. When accelerated to full throttle, it quickly gains momentum, effortlessly surpassing other vehicles and providing an enjoyable driving experience. Indeed, this crossover inherits characteristics from Mazda’s sedans, featuring precise steering and dynamic handling.

However, its taller stature means it doesn’t navigate curves as tightly as, for example, the Mazda3 hatchback. Yet, a proficient driver can readily perceive this distinction. While Mazda might be shifting focus towards crossovers in response to consumer preferences, it’s clear they continue to cater to those who prioritize performance.

Mazda CX-5 Considerations

The Mazda CX-5 stands out in a fiercely competitive category. For individuals seeking slightly more room and storage capacity, the CX-50 merits consideration.

However, it’s important to note that opting for the turbocharged engine incurs a $7,000 increase from the base model’s price, a cost many buyers may find difficult to rationalize.

See Also2024 Mazda CX-30 Review

Photos courtesy of Mazda.

Matthew Keegan

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