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The 2018 CX-5 stands out among its competitive set with its detailing. Its shield-shape grille cants gently forward and features a delicate ring of chromed plastic that dives into the narrow headlights.
From the side, the CX-5’s windshield is parked further back into the hood than is typical for a crossover, which almost gives it the profile of a rear-wheel-drive crossover. A simple rear bumper and smaller taillights than most crossovers adds to the stylized look of the CX-5.
The CX-5 line comes with just one engine, a 2.5-liter inline-4 rated at 187 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque that’s paired exclusively to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive an option across the lineup.
This year, the CX-5’s engine gains active cylinder displacement, which allows it to run on half of its cylinders to save fuel during light load situations like cruising or coasting.
We'd love to tell you what the cylinder deactivation system feels like, but after 150 miles behind the wheel, we can confirm that Mazda's claim about the system's transparency is spot on—we couldn't pick out when the 2.5-liter engine was running on two cylinders or four. And unlike certain GM products with V-8 engines, there's no tell-tale icon in the instrument cluster that flips on when half the cylinders are deactivated.
Chief among the CX-5’s attributes is its electric power steering system. Not only is it nicely weighted, it holds a line exceptionally well. That’s something few automakers have figured out and it contributes as much to the CX-5’s entertaining feel on the road as it does to reducing driver fatigue on any kind of terrain.
There’s also engine torque vectoring that helps reduce head toss by dialing back the amount of steering corrections drivers have to make while entering and exiting corners. The system additionally works to keep the CX-5 in a straight line on the highway.
The CX-5’s all-wheel-drive system is among the segment’s more sophisticated in that it uses various sensors to predict weather conditions, including whether the windshield wipers are activated. Although not intended for serious off-road use, the all-wheel-drive system works as advertised to make the CX-5 exceptionally sure-footed in deep snow.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.