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2014 Best Cheap SUVs

2015 Mazda CX-5

If anything on this Cheap list matches the Ford Escape for sporty road manners, it’s this five-passenger rival from Mazda. Some drivers would argue the CX-5 has an even purer feel than the Ford. Everyone can agree its handsome body suffers similarly tight rear-seat legroom and has a smidge less cargo volume. While we like its well-laid out dashboard and solid cabin materials we are troubled by the generation-old nature of its infotainment hardware. But wow, what a responsive, well-behaved compact crossover. Mazda released the 2015 CX-5 in early 2014, virtually unchanged from the 2014 model. Base versions, called Sport, use a 155-horsepower four-cylinder and feel underpowered. Touring and Grand Touring models come with a larger, 185-horsepower four and acquit themselves quite well, especially given their 26-mpg city/highway combined EPA rating. The clear Cheap choice is an AWD Touring. It starts at $27,010 and includes leather upholstery, power driver’s seat, Bluetooth, backup camera, and blind-spot monitors. The good news is that you can load an AWD Touring with two key options to basically create a loaded CX-5 for a Cheap-SUV-qualifying $29,625. Start with the $1,485 Touring Technology Package. It contains a navigation system, bi-xenon headlamps, and rain sensing wipers. It also includes Mazda’s Smart City feature designed to automatically apply the brakes to avoid a low-speed frontal collision. To add a nine-speaker audio system and a power moonroof, click on the $1,130 Bose/Moonroof Package. Enjoy.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]