The current second-generation Mazda CX-5 is already one of the best compact-crossovers in the market. However, being on the move since 2017, let alone the minor feature updates, the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is expected to further enhance its armament with some design and feature updates.

Since its launch in 2013, the Mazda CX-5 has been one of the best offerings in its segment. Thanks to its balanced promise of comfort, premiumness and agile handling. Mazda took things to an even higher level with the second-generation CX-5 in 2017. The redesigned second-gen CX-5 was more sleek, curvy on the outside and more premium on the inside as well. Since then, the popular compact-crossover has remained mostly the same to the core apart from some minor feature updates in the following model years. 

2020 Mazda CX-5: Clean, Elegant and Stylish

Even the current 2020 Mazda CX-5 is based on its second-generation and only received some reshuffled features in the name of updates. However, towards the end of this year, Mazda is expected to roll-out the 2021 model year of its mass-selling compact-crossover with some rumored significant changes. We take a closer look here at what the 2021 Mazda CX-5 would look like.

Trims and Prices

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 is very likely to carry over its five-level trim structure from the present 2020 model. We expect to continue seeing the CX-5 being offered in Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims. Even the present configuration of a standard awd in the top two trims and optional in the lower three trims shall also remain intact. Aan all new CX-5 hybrid for 2021 is also doing the rounds. However, some minor revisions in the prices are expected and the 2021 Mazda CX-5 should tick in at around $26k.

Engine and Transmission

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 is expected to continue sourcing its power from the familiar 2.5-liter inline-4 engine with its dual state of tune. The popular naturally aspirated unit makes 187 hp and 186 ft-lbs of torque in the lower trims. In the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models though, the engine uses a turbocharger to crank up 227 hp and 310 ft-lbs of torque. 

Both the available engines are fairly potent in their business with no signs of lag or power-shortage. Both the engines come mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission which is smooth but not as quick and precise as its updated rivals. An updated transmission for the 2021 CX-5 is highly palpable though. Though Mazda is said to have been developing a Skyactiv-X engine that would allow better hybridisation, official details are yet awaited from the Japanese marque. 

Models

2021 Mazda CX-5 (est)

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Jeep Compass

2020 Toyota RAV4

Base MSRP

$26,000

$24,885

$22,105

$25,950

Engine

2.5-liter Inline-4

1.5-liter turbo Inline-3

2.4-liter Inline-4

2.5-liter Inline-4

Transmission

6-speed shiftable automatic

8-speed automatic

6-speed manual

8-speed shiftable automatic

Horsepower (hp @ rpm)

187 hp @ 6000 rpm

180 hp @ 6000 rpm

180 hp @ 6400 rpm

203 hp @ 6600 rpm

Torque (ft-lbs @ rpm)

186 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm

190 ft-lbs @ 3000 rpm

175 ft-lbs. @ 3900 rpm

184 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm

A very intense power output is certainly not a thing that one would ideally seek for in the compact-crossover segment. Compare the Mazda CX-5 with its rivals and almost all of them seem to lie on the same power band. The case is specific with the base engine of all of these. The Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape also have an upper hand over the other two with their available more powerful optional turbo engines.

Fuel Economy and MPG Figures

With no possible changes, the 2021 Mazda CX-5 should be more than happy in delivering similar mpg figures as its 2020 model. With an equal emphasis on comfort, agility and driveability, the CX-5 offers a significant economy. With the base naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine, the 2020 Mazda CX5 delivers a healthy fuel output of 25 mpg in the city, 31 on highway and 28 combined. 

Models

2021 Mazda CX-5 (est)

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Jeep Compass

2020 Toyota RAV4

MPG (city)

25

27

23

26

MPG (highway)

31

33

32

35

MPG (combined)

28

30

26

30

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

14.8

14.7

13.5

14.5

Range (city/highway/combined)

370.0/458.8

396.0/441.0

311.0/400.0

377.0/507.5

Compared to its rivals, the CX-5’s economy is surely not the best in class but is fairly apt to live with. Noteworthy is the fact that the popular Mazda makes up for the small deficiency with a lively character. In the segment though, it's the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape that offer the best in class efficiency of 30 ,mpg combined. Thanks to their more refined and efficiency tuned powertrains. 

Design and Exterior Highlights

Running with its second-gen design language since 2017, the Mazda CX-5 looks rather used to now. However, some minor styling changes for its 2021 model are expected though. While the overall form factor and proportions might remain the same, it might get some revised front and rear styling. Expect some redesigned bumpers and lights along with more thoughtful use of chrome.

The Mazda CX-5 is undoubtedly one of the most premium looking compact-croosovers

Change or not, the current generation of the Mazda CX-5 does look fresh and very stylish. Large front-leaning grille flanked by slim LED headlights and a clean rear end give it a very gentle stance. A lower roofline, compact proportions and chrome window line speak out of its premium ambitions. Sight one of these beauties down the roads and it does have a distinguished presence that pronounces luxury and comfort.

Model

2021 Mazda CX-5 (est)

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Jeep Compass

2020 Toyota RAV4

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3541

3299

3300

3370

Length (in.)

179.1

180.5

173.0

180.9

Width (in.)

72.5

74.1

73.8

73.0

Height (in.)

66.2

66.1

64.8

67.0

Ground Clearance (in.)

7.5

N/A

8.5

8.4

Wheelbase (in.)

106.2

106.7

103.8

105.9

Among its rivals, it's only the Ford Escape that has a similarly stylish yet oval body form. However, in contrast to the CX-5’s elegant vibe, the Ford Escape is a bit on the sportier side. The Jeep Compass and Toyota RAV4 too have a style of their own but are a bit more aligned towards the conservative roots of their larger family.

Interior, Seating and Cargo

The present second-gen Mazda CX-5 offers the best interiors in its segment for sure. A good use of upscale materials throughout the cabin with a minimalistic layout looks and feels very premium. The neatly laid out interior theme is also crafted in a way that looks way more fresh and modern than its rivals. However, because the CX-5 has been carrying the saqme interior decoration for a while, some changes are very palpable for 2021 though.

Although the overall vibe and theme shall be the same, the layout and quality of materials could be updated. Along with a premium interior design, the CX-5 is also rich in most of the advanced creature comforts at this price. Premium leather upholstery, climate control, power-adjustable, heated and ventilated front seats, reclining rear seats and what not. Any update for 2021 would further escalate the CX-5’s worthy proposition.

Models

2021 Mazda CX-5 (est)

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Jeep Compass

2020 Toyota RAV4

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

39.7/57.1/41.0

40.0/57.6/42.4

39.2/56.7/41.8

39.5/57.8/41.0

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

39.0/54.8/39.6

39.3/56.0/40.7

38.5/55.1/38.3

39.5/56.4/37.8

Cargo Capacity (cu-fts)

30.9

33.5

27.2

37.6

Not the best in class, but the popular Mazda also offers ample passenger and cargo space as well. The seats are wide and nicely cushioned with ample all-around room. Long drives are always a pleasure in the CX-5. Add to that its soft and supple ride quality. Furthermore, the lowered seats and dash along with an available sunroof add the vibrance inside with some extended sense of space.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The infotainment section in the 2021 Mazda CX-5 could well undergo some significant updates. We could see the 8.0-inch infotainment screen available only with the higher trims of the 2020 CX-5, coming in as standard. A new user-interface with updated graphics is also very likely. Apart from this, the system comes already loaded with Apple CarPlay, Android AutO, SiriusXM Satellite radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Amazon Alexa and Voice integration could also be notable additions in the 2021 Mazda CX-5. 

The fabulous 10-speaker Bose premium audio in the higher trims of its 2020 model, should remain unchanged though. Change or not, that's a matter of prospect, but the current 2020 Mazda CX-5 does have a crisp infotainment with decent graphics and good responses. However, it is let down by its rotary-dial controller which gets distracting to use over busy traffic. 

Safety features and Ratings

When you buy a Mazda CX-5, peace of mind is always ensured for sure. The vehicle's past safety and reliability graph says it all. The case should be no different even with the 2021 Mazda CX-5. An extensive suite of safety features and top grades from safety authorities make it one of the safest cars in its segment. 

No surprise the IIHS recognized the 2020 Mazda CX-5 as a Top Safety Pick and the NHTSA awarded it a 5-star safety rating. Since Mazda added the i-Activesense of driver-assistance features as standard only in 2020, the 2021 model is expected to carry the very same safety suite. Some of the major safety highlights of the 2020 CX-5 are listed below:

Highlighted Safety Features

  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go
  • Lane departure warning
  • Rearview camera
  • Automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Dynamic stability control
  • Traction control system

Verdict

Overall, the Mazda CX-5 presents a very good blend of several essential elements together. It can haul you all day long in complete comfort and with a peppy energy. While doing that it also ensures your utmost safety alongside easing the load on your wallet. Most importantly, it is as skilled and obedient on the road as it looks. What else does one still expect from a compact-crossover that starts around $25k.

Also Read:

Here's why the Toyota RAV4 is the top competitor of the Mazda CX-5

Can the new fourth-gen redesigned Ford Escape outshine the Mazda CX-5 with its youthfulness and versatality?

FAQs

Is the Mazda CX-5 a good car?

Yes, the Mazda CX-5 is one of the best compact-crossovers you can buy today. Itr looks elegant and stylish, has comfortable and premium interiors and is spacious along with being efficient. Importantly, it is also the most fun to drive a car in its segment. Combine these all and what you agave is a composition that no other product in its segment gets close to.

Which car is better: Toyota RAV4 or Mazda CX-5?

Both the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 are very good compact-crossovers for sure. However, while their proportions might be somewhat identical, they differ in character though. While the RAV4 is more inclined towards masculinity and ruggedness, the CX-5 embraces humble and compliant character with grace.