Driving pleasure, fuel economy, and interior design are among the 2020 CX-5’s pros
Interior space and cargo capacity are among the CX-5’s cons
The 2020 CX-5 remains one of the best compact SUVs for buyers who like to drive
The Mazda CX-5 isn’t exactly new, and yet when you see the 2020 edition you could be forgiven for thinking it was introduced this year. Step inside and the beautiful interior and quality materials keep the idea that the CX-5 is the latest SUV to hit the market going. My tester for this Should You Buy feature was the latest CX-5 version to arrive on the market, the Signature model with a 2.2-litre diesel engine.
This was my second go at the CX-5 diesel after my first drive last year. This time, I had a week behind the wheel of a vehicle Mazda tells me has attracted a few former diesel Mercedes-Benz GLE owners. I’m not surprised. The CX-5 diesel comes exclusively in the top-level Signature trim that includes fine Abachi wood trim, Cocoa Nappa leather seats and any and every feature you could need in your next SUV.
The diesel is part of the most comprehensive engine lineup of any compact SUV on the market. The 2020 Mazda CX-5 comes standard with a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder engine with 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. This engine gets cylinder deactivation technology in the GS and GT trims while the Signature trim gets a 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 227 hp (250 hp with premium fuel) and 310 pound-feet of torque.
The diesel engine develops 168 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. It can also tow up to 3,500 pounds which is 1,500 pounds more than other CX-5s and near the top of the segment overall. If you do decide to buy a 2020 Mazda CX-5, you won’t have any trouble finding the right engine for your needs. But should you buy one? Well, let’s take a look.
Why You Should Buy a 2020 Mazda CX-5
- The Mazda CX-5 is still a blast to drive. It doesn’t matter which engine is under the hood, the CX-5 feels like a small coupe on the road. No other compact SUV is as connected to the road as the CX-5. If you dread boring SUVs but need space, this is the model to buy.
- Design is subjective, but I think the 2020 Mazda CX-5 is the only good-looking SUV in its class. The others aren’t good or bad, they are invisible. They melt into the automotive landscape never to be noticed again. The CX-5 is noticeable, especially with the larger 19-inch wheels of the GT and Signature trims.
- Inside, the CX-5 looks more like a compact luxury SUV than anything else. I like that Mazda kept things simple inside. The leather in the Signature trim is beautiful, but every CX-5 is a fine example of interior design and craftsmanship.
- The turbocharged four-cylinder engine is the fastest, punchiest engine you can buy in this segment. The base engine is also among the faster options. There’s always plenty of performance under your right foot behind the wheel of the 2020 Mazda CX-5.
- Fuel economy is impressive, especially in the CX-5 GS and GT with cylinder deactivation. Even the turbocharged four-cylinder does well in the fuel economy department.
- Towing capacity of the CX-5 Diesel is right up there with the best in the segment.
- If you like diesel engines and need an SUV, this is basically your only option unless you want to pay over $75,000. Chevrolet and GMC have pulled the plug on the Equinox and Terrain diesel models and the CX-5 Diesel has no direct competitors.
- The Signature trim is expensive, but no more than a loaded CR-V or RAV4 and at least here you get the powerful turbo.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2020 Mazda CX-5
- The CX-5 is on the smaller side of the segment when it comes to cargo capacity. It competes well with the Korean and American alternatives in the segment, but the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Toyota RAV4 have it beat by a few hundred litres.
- The resale value of the CX-5 isn’t great. Leasing is probably the better option.
- I said earlier that the Signature model with the turbocharged engine was expensive, but it delivered on value. I’m not sure I would say the same thing about the diesel. It may be the only option in the segment, it’s still about $5,000 more than the Signature turbo and it doesn’t justify it. The fuel economy gains aren’t enough and the drop in performance kills part of the CX-5’s driving pleasure.
Final Word on 2020 Mazda CX-5
I’m not a fan of the diesel-powered 2020 Mazda CX-5 because I just don’t think you need it. I will say this to hardcore diesel fans, however, Mazda delivered. If you absolutely want a diesel or you need to routinely tow around 3,000 pounds with your compact SUV, go nuts. You won’t be disappointed. Now, if you just want a regular compact SUV, get the 2020 CX-5 GS or GT and enjoy one of the best-handling SUVs anywhere. And if you have about $50k to spend on a CX-5, get the Signature with the turbocharged engine. You won’t regret it.