Family Fun

2016 Mazda CX-5 Review

Last Christmas this Santa Mama had a new sleigh! I had the pleasure of getting my Christmas hustle and bustle done in the 2016 Mazda CX-5, courtesy of Drive Shop USA and Mazda USA.    I was provided with a vehicle to drive for a week in exchange for my honest feedback on my experience. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by this arrangement. Full disclosure

They delivered this red hot little SUV to my job and it was a head turner! People entering the building were asking all kinds of questions about it. This is the kind of truck that will make people take notice.

Here are the highlights of my 2016 Mazda Cx-5 Review:

  • Appearance – I loved the red version that I drove. The body design is very sleek. There’s something feline about it that really appealed to me.
  • Push to start ignition – This feature still makes me feel fancy
  • Gas Mileage – Great on gas! It gets 33 miles to the gallon on the highway and 26 mpg city.
  • Technology – Bluetooth was easy to set up.  Navigation was a bit cumbersome for me. I actually used it when we were out looking for Christmas lights. It was honestly easier to just use my phone app. I think you just need a bit more time to get used to it.  It wasn’t as intuitive as some other navi systems I have seen.
  • Keyless Entry – In addition to the keyless entry controller, there was also a neat feature where you can open the door handle of the driver’s side door by touching a button on the handle. This is a good safety feature so that you don’t have to fumble with your keys, especially at night or if your hands are full.  You do need the key with you, for that feature to work but you don’t have to dig it up out of your purse.
  • Rearview camera – The camera provided a wide view and it defaults to a full screen mode on the display screen.
  • Sound System – This loaded model came with a Bose sound system. The teenager gave this feature an A+.  It was nice and crisp, whether playing music from my phone or the XM radio. He also liked that it had Satellite XM radio, Pandora, and Bluetooth capability to listen to music from our phones.
  • Enhanced cruise control – This was a cool feature that almost has the car in an auto pilot mode. All you need to do is steer. Once you set the cruise control to your desired speed you can also set the desired distance to keep from the car in front of you. As you are driving, the car will adjust its speed to maintain that desired distance. It won’t steer for you or do any evasive maneuvers but it’s still pretty neat.
  • Interior – The Grand Touring model had soft black leather interior which compliments the Soul Red exterior perfectly.
  • Space – If the CX-5 hopes to compete in the small SUV market there is some room for growth in this department. The backseat is small. My teenage son and his friends would not be able to sit comfortably in this backseat unless the front seats were moved up very close.  Since I’m fairly tall at 5′ 8″ with long legs, this wouldn’t work for us. In order for me to be comfortable the backseat riders would suffer.  For someone who won’t use the backseat very often for passengers it could work.  I guess one benefit is that when you go out for lunch with coworkers they won’t ever ask you to drive. LOL
  • Safety –  Dual front airbags, curtain side airbags, front side impact airbags
  • Blind Spot monitoring system and lane change alert – I love Mazda’s Sky Active technology. The side mirrors display an alert when there is a car in your blind spot. This was a very nice and helpful feature.  I wasn’t able to figure out how to get the lane departure warning to turn off. The sound did get to be a bit of an annoyance.  It’s something I would need to look up how to do in the manual and I just didn’t spend the time to do that. It would be nice if that feature was a bit more intuitive as well.  I like when I can figure things out in a car fairly easily.
  • Storage – The back storage area was average.  I was able to fit a TV in the back with no problem to surprise my son on Christmas.  I do wish there was more storage within the truck. I like when there are little hidden compartments to store your inevitable “car junk”.DSC_0471

My favorite thing about the truck is that it’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It’s just adorable. I also got a chance to put the car into Sport mode which I didn’t use the last time I tested a Mazda. I used it on my roadtrip to Orlando to see the Disney Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights and I did feel a noticeable difference in the pick up.  I think the Mazda CX-5 really enjoyed taking a selfie with the Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.


I enlisted the help of a male friend to get his take on the truck.  He’s a millennial but also a family man.  His initial impression of the truck was that it looks great.  It’s definitely something he wouldn’t mind driving. He also really liked the control dial built into the console that allows you to control all of the display features in one handy spot.  It’s almost like having a mouse for your car. You can also control features on the steering wheel but he felt the console dial felt more natural. It’s not a feature he had seen on other cars.  Just at a first glance it was a car that he would consider test driving. Thanks Jerry D. for your helpful male perspective!

Overall I enjoyed my drive experience in the 2016 Mazda CX-5. As cute as it is, I think it’s just a bit too small for the needs of my family. We would need the CX-7 to get a bit more space. For those in the market for a small SUV that is good on gas this would be a good option. The standard MSRP is $28, 220. The Grand Touring loaded model I drove is at $33,240.

Lauren G. , Outdoorsy Diva™
“Adventure is a lifestyle.”

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