• Generations

Mazda CX-5 Generations

By Autolist Editorial | October 22, 2020

A relative newcomer into the ever-growing crossover SUV space, the Mazda CX-5 was introduced to the United States for 2013. It was not Mazda's first attempt at a compact, car-based SUV (launching both the Tribute and CX-7 during the 2000s), but it proved that the third time was the charm for breaking into a segment that included heavyweights such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

The CX-5, of which there have been two generations so far, has been a popular Mazda vehicle and showcased some of its new technology. The first models used a new platform and new engine technology for efficiency and lightweight construction and agility. It's made a name for itself as one of the most fun-to-drive compact SUVs on the market and embracing Mazda's company values.

2017 – Present Mazda CX-5 (2nd Generation)


In 2017, Mazda gave the CX-5 an overhaul, launching the family into its second generation with an aggressive and modern look. This new generation provided four trim levels: Sport, Touring, Grand Select, and Grand Touring.

A revised version of the 2.5-liter four-cylinder from the previous model was initially the only engine option, this time with 187 horsepower. This engine was mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with the manual transmission option having been eliminated. Front-wheel-drive is standard on all trims with the option for all-wheel-drive.

The base Sport model comes equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system, 40/20/40 split-folding backseats, LED headlights, and a four-speaker audio system with two USB ports and Bluetooth capability. Higher trims add a significant amount of safety and comfort features with many luxury-level options.

For 2018, Mazda dropped the Grand Select trim option returning to its original three trim levels. Two significant features were made standard on all trims: low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

In 2019, Mazda again made changes to the CX-5 trim lineup, adding the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature as the two highest trims. Not only did they offer more standard equipment than the previous models, with higher-grade leather upholstery and wood accents, but they also came with a 250-horsepower, turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder from the larger CX-9 SUV.

The Signature model was also offered with a 168-hp 2.2-liter turbocharged diesel engine, a rare option in the US that didn't catch on and was dropped after a year. Both of these top trims came standard with all-wheel drive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility were also added on most models.

In 2020 the most significant change came in the form of an updated standard safety suite, including the additions of adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and pedestrian detection.

View 2nd Generation Listings

2013 – 2016 Mazda CX-5 (1st Generation)


The Mazda CX-5 was launched in the US market for 2013. It was a direct competitor in the compact SUV market following the deletion of the larger CX-7 and the Ford Escape-based Tribute from the lineup shortly before.

The CX-5 entered the market equipped with Mazda's brand new SkyActiv technologies, a blanket branding for integrating new engines, transmissions, and chassis to improve fuel efficiency and driving characteristics while decreasing emissions.

The initial 2013 model was offered in three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring, each equipped with a 155-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission with standard front-wheel drive. A six-speed automatic transmission with an optional all-wheel-drive system was available.

While less potent than some rivals, this small engine helped the CX-5 achieve a relatively good fuel economy for a compact SUV powered only with gasoline.

Standard features included keyless entry, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, and a four-speaker audio system. Higher trim models received features such as a power sunroof, navigation system, leather upholstery, and heated seats.

Critics generally reviewed this initial 2013 model as more stylish than its competition with an above-average driving experience relative to other mainstream compact SUVs.

For 2014, Mazda addressed the one major criticism of the initial CX-5 and provided a new, more powerful engine as the standard for the Touring and Grand Touring trims with a 184-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The new engine was more powerful and had only a small effect on the CX-5's fuel economy.

A mild update for 2016 came in the form of revised suspension tuning for optimized performance and improved the vehicle's sound insulation for a quieter interior and less noise from road imperfections.

The vehicle's body was modified to be slightly sleeker while the interior received an upgrade in materials and infotainment interface, which includes Bluetooth connectivity as standard.

A mid-year update included a rearview camera and a touchscreen navigation system as standard for all trims except for the lowest manual-transmission Sport. Mazda's continuous upgrades helped the CX-5 grow increasingly popular among compact SUV shoppers even as newer rivals started to appear. It also held the company over until the next-generation model appeared for 2017.

View 1st Generation Listings