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Mazda CX-5 Is the Popular Mechanics Crossover of the Year - Our Opinion On This Pick

We think Popular Mechanics nailed this choice with Mazda CX-5 crossover.

There are so many great two-row crossovers on the market today one might assume that picking a favorite is difficult. Actually, the opposite is true. Pretty much every crossover has a baseline competence that is hard to ignore. Many have a certain special something that sets them apart. The Mazda CX-5 is different. It is better in so many ways than its peers the CX-5 almost seems like it is in another class altogether.

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Ezra Dyer, the automotive editor at Popular Mechanics, likes the CX-5 for all the same reasons we do. We won't spoil your enjoyment of his full story on the CX-5 (found here), but we will provide this succinct summary of Mr. Dyer's love letter. He writes, "...But this isn’t just a posh, isolated cruiser. The CX-5 is wonderful to drive."

In that one sentence, Mr. Dyer sums up what makes the CX-5 special in a field of great vehicles. It is posh. The interior is the best in the class, and we include premium crossovers like the Lexus NX and Acura RDX in that class, not just the Nissan Rogues, Subaru Foresters, and Toyota RAV4s. The leather is better. The dash is better. The head-up display is better. The whole interior scheme is simply better than the rest of the field.

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Normally, that's as much "better" as any given model in any given segment gets, but not with the CX-5. It also handles better and has the best pair of drivetrains in the segment. The base engine is very competent and matches up well with the offerings from the mainstream models. However, there is no CVT. Instead, Mazda stuck with a six-speed that doesn't hunt for gears in order to save you a thimble full of fuel. It just works great.

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But that isn't the only drivetrain for the CX-5. For under $40K, the price point of a mid-trim RAV4, you can opt for a 310-lb-ft of torque 2.5-liter turbo engine. That's more pull than the RAV4 or RDX offer. At waaay less money. Coming later this year, Mazda promises, is a diesel option.

We feel that Popular Mechanics nailed this choice and are happy to hear that others we respect in the automotive world agree that the CX-5 is head and shoulders above the rest of the crossovers its size.

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Roger (not verified)    May 7, 2019 - 6:28PM

My wife & I looked at the CX-5 and the Honda CRV EX-L. We felt the CRV was quieter, had more leg room in the back, and the front seats were much more comfortable. Storage in the back was larger too. Motor Trend rated it best best small SUV. For city driving or on a trip the CRV was best for us.

John Goreham    May 8, 2019 - 10:31AM

In reply to by Roger (not verified)

The Honda CR-V is a fantastic crossover. One of my personal favorites. When my family recently shopped for a vehicle in this class that is where we started. The CR-V has the best standard engine in the class for sure, and I love the CVT. Once one gets used to it going back to a geared transmission feels clunky.

carguy (not verified)    September 29, 2019 - 8:17AM

The Honda is certainly more roomy and gets better fuel economy, but for spirited driving the CX-5 with the turbo is superior to the CX-5 (its much faster and handles better). It also hands down is much better looking than the rather ugly CRV. Honda designers seem to have a hard time designing beautiful vehicles (Mazda and Kia, Hyundai and even Nissan make better looking vehicles). Honda really needs to hire new design studios.