Most affordable suvs are designed to be useful. They’re boxy enough to have lots of room inside, and then the stylists get to put on some finishing touches. And they’re designed to prioritize comfort and fuel economy over sporty performance. Folks who want more style and zippy performance generally have to spend big bucks for a luxury model.
But there’s another option: the 2021 Mazda CX-5. Even though it starts at a reasonable $25,370, the CX-5 looks like a high-end sporty SUV — and it has the handling poise to match. Upper trim levels add extra-posh interior decor and a punchy turbocharged engine, too. New this year are a bigger infotainment screen, wider availability of the turbo, and a longer list of safety features. If you’re willing to give up a few cubic feet and a couple of miles per gallon to get a different type of compact crossover, at an unexpectedly low price, keep reading to learn more about the CX-5’s pros and cons.