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From family values to fabulous adventurers, this list of best crossover SUVs might surprise you

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2015 Mazda CX-5
Base-price range: $22,375 – $25,225

If you’re shopping for a compact-class crossover but find the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape a bit too mainstream, the Mazda CX-5 might be the right one for you. CX-5 was the first vehicle to benefit from Mazda’s suite of “SKYACTIV” technologies, which are designed to improve fuel economy without resorting to an expensive gas/electric hybrid drivetrain. Through a combination of lightweight high-strength steel, friction-reducing measures, and engines that employ high-pressure gasoline direct injection, the CX-5 achieves an outstanding 26-29 mpg city/highway combined, according to the EPA. Even then, those numbers might be a bit conservative, as critics and owners frequently report mileage returns in excess of 30 mpg. CX-5 is not only efficient, it’s also very fun to drive. Steering feel and body control are among the best of any mainstream crossover, and its capable handling does not compromise its ride, which is firm but again, well controlled. The only area where the CX-5 really lags its competitors is in passenger and cargo room. The back seat suffers from a lack of legroom, and hauling more than your weekly load of groceries will, more often than not, require folding the rear seatbacks. You shouldn’t let these issues get in the way of giving the 2015 Mazda CX-5 a serious look if you’re in the market for a compact crossover.

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]