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.