Most significant changes in the 2018 CX-5 from Mazda: The full suite of driver assistance and safety technology now is standard or optional on all trim levels. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder is updated with a fuel economy-improving cylinder-deactivation system.
Price change: Up $140 to $335, depending on trim level
On sale: December
Which should you buy, 2017 or 2018? The 2017 for the top trim level, if you can get a deal. But consider the 2018 CX-5 if you are interested in the base Sport or next-up Touring trim level for their newly standard or optional safety technology.
The Mazda CX-5 was redesigned for 2017 and much improved, with a classy new interior, a better ride and sound dynamics. But Mazda is already giving it a few tweaks for 2018, along with a slight base price increase. Still, it remains a compact SUV that plays above its price in upscale feel.
The 2018 CX-5 gets revisions to the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that should improve the SUV's already high-for-the-class fuel-economy ratings. The engine has been updated with cylinder deactivation, which cuts off fuel to two of the cylinders under light loads.
The 2018 does not yet have EPA ratings, but the 2017 CX-5 with front-wheel drive is rated 24/31/27 mpg city/highway/combined, and Mazda estimates the new technology should improve each of those numbers by 1 mpg. The engine's 187-hp figure remains the same.
Also notable for 2018 is the democratization of the CX-5's suite of driver assistance and safety technology to all trim levels. Already standard on the Grand Touring models, the full i-ActiveSense tech package now will be standard on the mid-level Touring and will be newly optional, for $625, on the base Sport models. The package includes a front collision system with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams with auto-dimming capabilities, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers and lane keep assist.
The 2018 Sport model also gets standard blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. And the cloth-upholstered Sport gets a leather steering wheel and shift knob. These features previously were standard only for Touring and Grand Touring.
Along with the newly standard safety tech, the Touring trim level in the 2018 Mazda CX-5 adds standard 19-inch alloy wheels, leatherette seats and keyless entry. The top Grand Touring gets a new two-driver memory for the power driver's seat and a six-way power passenger seat.
The base 2018 CX-5 Sport with front-wheel drive will start $140 higher at $25,125, including a $975 destination charge (up from $940). The Touring trim level with front-wheel drive starts at $27,190, a $335 increase, and the Grand Touring starts at $30,620, up $285. Add $1,300 for all-wheel drive (AWD) on each trim level.
Now, if Mazda would just offer the CX-5 with the turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder that's in the CX-9 and was just added as an option for the 2018 Mazda6 sedan ... well, we can hope. The redesigned 2017 version of the CX-5 already was much-improved, however, and was a high finisher in Cars.com's 2017 Compact SUV Challenge. Read some of our recent CX-5 coverage:
- 5 Reasons to Put the Mazda CX-5 on Your List
- Is 2017 Mazda CX-5 Luxe for the Bucks?
- 2017 Mazda CX-5 Earns Top Safety Pick Plus
- 2017 Mazda CX-5: Real-World Cargo Space
- 2017 Mazda CX-5 Video Review
- 2017 Mazda CX-5: Our View
- 2017 Mazda CX-5: Car Seat Check
- 2017 Mazda CX-5 Review: Photo Gallery
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