For those wanting a truly fun ride and drive in a compact sport utility vehicle, the Mazda CX-5 makes a convincing case. For the 2016 model year, the center console, dash, and armrest were re-styled. Other changes include styling updates to the exterior, replacing the hand brake with an electronic parking brake as well as modifications to the infotainment system. Since its introduction in the 2013 model year, the CX-5 has expressed capable performance. A week-long test drive underscored highly responsive steering and agile handling on paved and gravel roads. The 106.3-inch wheelbase CX-5 offers three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. CX-5 is available with front wheel drive, or all wheel drive.

Powering the CX-5 Sport is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder producing 155 horsepower at 6000 rpm/150 pounds-feet of torque at 4000 rpm when fitted with the 6-speed manual transmission. The Touring and Grand Touring models are powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 184 horsepower at 5700 rpm/185 pounds-feet of torque at 3250 rpm. The 2.5-liter engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. (CX-5 Sport can be equipped with the automatic transmission.) With rear seat folded, there’s more than 64 cubic feet of cargo space. CX-5 has approximately 34 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seat upright. Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring with all wheel drive collects estimated mpg of 24 city/30 highway and carries a base MSRP of $29,470.