Why Choose CX-5 when CX-50 is Available: A 2024 Mazda Review

The 2024 Mazda CX-5 and CX-50 are compact SUVs with similarities in pros and cons. Both models aim to provide a sportier and more premium option in a segment dominated by family oriented and outdoor adventure vehicles. They are also similar in terms of size and engine choices. So, what sets them apart?

The CX-50 was designed specifically for the North American market, while the CX-5 has a more global focus. As a result, the CX-50 offers all the advantages of the CX-5 but is slightly larger, more refined, and better suited for off-road adventures. Many also find the CX-50 to be more visually appealing. Another distinction is that the CX-50 is manufactured in America, whereas the CX-5 is made in Japan.

Considering these factors, why would someone choose the CX-5 over the CX-50? Apart from a slightly lower price, there are few reasons. While the CX-5 still has its merits and holds up well against competitors like the CR-V and RAV4 in terms of emotional appeal, the introduction of the CX-50 creates a more enticing option. It begs the question of why someone would choose CX-5 when CX-50 is available.

Interior & Technology:

The CX-5 boasts an upscale and stylish interior design with high quality materials. Its top trim levels offer heated and ventilated seats, as well as premium leather upholstery with contrast French stitching. The Signature trim even features unique Catarra Brown Nappa leather. The dash, doors, and center console are upholstered in padded and stitched pleather, providing a luxurious feel. The interior ambience of the CX-5 surpasses that of most competitors, especially rugged and utilitarian models like the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester.

The technology interface in the CX-5 is distinctive, featuring a center console knob controller instead of a touchscreen. This design choice aims to reduce driver distraction. The dashtop screen is large and easy to read, and the user interface is simple and quick to navigate. The controller knob is well placed on the center console and allows for easy menu selection. However, using the knob to select icons for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be cumbersome and time consuming. Mazda has addressed this issue in the CX-50, which features touchscreen functionality specifically for CarPlay and Android Auto.

Passenger & Cargo Space:

While the CX-5 is smaller on the outside compared to the CX-50, the interior dimensions are virtually identical. Both models fall on the smaller end of the compact SUV segment. The CX-5 can comfortably seat four passengers, but families may find that they need more space compared to competitors like the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, and Toyota RAV4. Rear-facing child seats may require front seat adjustments, and space for front-facing child seats is limited. In terms of cargo space, the CX-5 offers 30.9 cubic feet behind the back seat, which is less than its competitors. The CX-50 provides slightly more space with 31.4 cubic feet. Larger SUVs like the Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Subaru Forester offer greater cargo capacity.

Performance & Fuel Economy:

The 2024 Mazda CX-5 is available in different trim levels with varying engine options. Trim levels with the 2.5 S designation come equipped with a 2.5 liter inline four engine producing 187 hp. These models come standard with a six speed auto and all wheel drive. Fuel economy estimates for the 2024 model year are not available at the time of writing, but they are not expected to change significantly from the previous year’s ratings of 24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined. These ratings are lower than those of competitors like the CR-V, Forester, and RAV4, which offer combined fuel economy in the 28-29 mpg range. However, the CX-5’s unique AWD system enhances response and handling by monitoring weight distribution.

Trim levels with the 2.5 Turbo designation feature a turbocharged 2.5 liter inline four engine generating 227 hp. With 93 octane fuel, the power output increases to 256 horsepower. The turbo engine provides energetic acceleration, surpassing its competitors in the segment. Like the 2.5 S models, the 2.5 Turbo models come with a six speed auto and all wheel drive. Fuel economy drops to 22 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined with the turbo engine.

What’s it like to drive the CX-5:

The Mazda CX-5 offers a driving experience that blends agility and practicality. It is ideal for those changing from a sporty car to a family oriented SUV. The steering and throttle response evoke a sense of sportiness reminiscent of Porsche vehicles. The six-speed automatic transmission prioritizes performance while still providing decent fuel efficiency. The CX-5’s driving dynamics, combined with its well crafted driving position and lively turbo engine, make it a great choice for those who appreciate a more engaging driving experience. However, the ride quality is firmer compared to most competitors, meaning that you will feel more of the road. Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus technology improves handling by shifting weight to the front wheels during turns. This enhances grip and stability, especially on poor road surfaces.

Pricing & Trim Levels:

The 2024 Mazda CX-5 has undergone minimal changes compared to the previous model year. The base S trim has been phased out, resulting in a $2,600 price increase for the CX-5. The entry level model is now the S Select trim. Higher trim levels also receive updates, such as the return of the Carbon Turbo trim. The 2024 Carbon Turbo offers new color combinations, including a special Zircon Sand Metallic paint option and a Terracotta leather interior mixed with black suede. The Carbon Turbo is the most affordable variant with the turbocharged engine, followed by the Turbo Premium and the top tier Turbo Signature.

Crash Ratings & Safety Features:

The Mazda CX-5 has achieved top scores in crash tests, making it a safe choice for buyers. The specific ratings for the 2024 model year are not available yet, but the CX-5 has consistently performed well in previous years. The CX-5 comes with a range of safety features, including advanced driver assistance systems and modern safety technologies. These features provide added peace of mind and contribute to the CX-5’s strong safety record.

What’s new for 2024? The changes for the 2024 Mazda CX-5 are minimal. The base S trim has been eliminated, resulting in a higher starting price. The Carbon Turbo trim has returned with new color options and interior combinations. Overall, the updates are relatively minor compared to previous model years.

Pros: The 2024 Mazda CX-5 has several advantages. It offers an engaging and refined driving experience, a luxurious interior, a strong turbo engine, and good looks. Additionally, it has received top scores in crash tests.

Cons: However, there are some downsides to consider. There is no hybrid for the CX-5, the infotainment system can be polarizing, it is a bit small compared to competitors, and it is not as good as the CX-50.

In Conclusion: Why Choose CX-5 when CX-50 is Available?

The 2024 Mazda CX-5 is a compact SUV that offers several advantages, including an engaging driving experience, a luxurious interior, and a strong turbo engine. However, it lacks a hybrid option and its infotainment system may not be to everyone’s choice. Additionally, it is slightly smaller compared to competitors in its segment. The introduction of the CX-50 has made the CX-5 less appealing, as the CX-50 offers similar options but with additional refinement and off road capabilities. Nevertheless, the CX-5 remains a viable choice for those seeking a more emotionally appealing option than vehicles like the CR-V and RAV4.

The CX-5’s interior is upscale and stylish, with high quality materials and advanced technology items. It may not provide as much passenger and cargo space as some competitors, but it represents an upgrade over subcompact SUVs like Mazda’s own CX-30. The CX-5 offers different engine options, with the turbocharged engine delivering energetic acceleration that surpasses competitors. The driving experience is sporty and engaging, although the ride quality is firmer compared to rivals. Safety is a strong point for the CX-5, as it has consistently achieved top scores in crash tests. Overall, while the CX-5 has its merits, the CX-50 is a more enticing option in the Mazda lineup.



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