The 2021 Mazda CX-5’s sleek styling is punctuated by a bit of aggression up front. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2021 Mazda CX-5’s sleek styling is punctuated by a bit of aggression up front. (Manufacturer photo)

2021 Mazda CX-5 maintains its niche with personality

The latest version of Mazda’s infotainment system and a new Carbon Edition model are this year’s notables.

For 2021, the CX-5 gets the newest version of Mazda’s infotainment system and a 10.25-inch display screen to showcase it. The previous screen was 3.25 inches smaller.

A new Carbon Edition trim brings the lineup to seven models. It’s number three among them, sitting pretty between the Touring and Grand Touring trims.

The Mazda CX-5 continues to carve its niche among compact SUVs, with high-class exterior styling, a posh interior, above-the-fray driving dynamics, and lots of features for reasonably affordable pricing.

Trim levels include Sport, Touring, Carbon Edition, Grand Touring, Carbon Edition Turbo, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature.

Pricing starts with the Sport model at $26,370 including a $1,100 destination charge. Like all other 2021 CX-5 models, it includes the large new display screen and the advanced version of the Mazda Connect infotainment software.

All but two trims come standard with front-wheel drive and are available with all-wheel drive for an extra $1,400. The Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models have AWD as standard.

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 has a new infotainment system with a 10.25-inch display screen on the upper dash. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 has a new infotainment system with a 10.25-inch display screen on the upper dash. (Manufacturer photo)

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder is the standard CX-5 engine, providing 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. The upper-level Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims are outfitted with a more energetic turbocharged version putting out a mighty 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque.

A top-notch six-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board.

EPA ratings depending on engine type and drivetrain configuration range from 22 to 25 mpg for city driving and 27 to 31 mpg on the highway. Not great numbers compared to some other compact SUVs in this class.

The new Carbon Edition model can be bought with either engine. There’s a surcharge of about $1,800 for the turbo powertrain, but this is the least expensive way to attain the turbo if that’s what you’re after. The Carbon Edition reins in some of the higher trims’ indulgences in favor of zestier performance.

Other attributes of the Carbon Edition include exclusive styling with Polymetal Gray paint, gloss black door mirrors, and 19-inch black alloy wheels. Red leather seats, red stitching on the steering wheel and shift knob, and black honeycomb trim on the dash and door panels further set this trim apart from the others.

The CX-5’s new infotainment system screen pokes up through the top of the dash. It’s wide and short, stretching the 10-plus inches already mentioned, and only 4 inches tall. It isn’t a touchscreen but does have a great assortment of attractive push buttons and knobs for controls, including the climate control system.

Front seat passengers have plenty of space and comfort. The back seat situation is snug, but not too bad. Cargo space behind the seats, 30.9 cubic feet, falls short of other compact SUVs. But whatever the CX-5 might lack, it makes up for in ebullient personality.

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 offers a choice of two four-cylinder engines, one of them turbocharged. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 offers a choice of two four-cylinder engines, one of them turbocharged. (Manufacturer photo)

2021 MAZDA CX-5 SIGNATURE AWD

Base price, including destination charge: $38,505

Price as driven: $38,630

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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