Spoiler alert: there is no such thing as a universal Goldilocks vehicle. Many will be too large or too small, too expensive, or too plain. No one single car, truck, or SUV will be just right for all buyers. There are roughly 300 different makes and models available for the 2020 model year. There wouldn’t be such a huge selection if only one of those vehicles was truly just right for every shopper. But while no single vehicle is perfect for everyone, what make and model comes the closest to being just right in satisfying the needs of the biggest majority of buyers? Based on both practical needs as well as driving enjoyment, I believe that vehicle is the 2020 Mazda CX-5.
Mazda CX-5: Value
Pricing for Mazda’s compact crossover ranges from $25,190 to $37,155. As of April 2020, the average new car purchase price industry-wide was $38,050, so all trims of the CX-5 fall below this average. Each customer’s finances are unique, but for most buyers of a financed or leased new vehicle, the CX-5 will likely fit into their budget. Plus as a Mazda, ownership costs should be reasonable, and the CX-5 has a top predicted reliability rating from Consumer Reports.
Mazda CX-5: Styling
Styling is subjective, but I find the CX-5’s lines to be sleek and contemporary. At worst, some might call its styling inoffensive or bland, but I doubt anyone would find it ugly.
Mazda CX-5: Interior
Inside, most buyers will find enough space in the supportive and comfortable seats for themselves and up to 4 additional passengers. The CX-5’s ride is among the most comfortable of its direct competitors, and shoppers will be satisfied with its quiet cabin. It has a roomy and flexible cargo area, with a maximum capacity of nearly 60 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. For most customers, the CX-5 has more than enough cargo space for routine use, including the occasional trip to Ikea for more Billy bookcases.
Beyond comfort and space, the CX-5 has a well-finished cabin, using high-end materials and modern design. Even base trims are attractive and plush inside. Appointments and features in top trim levels rival or beat those from true luxury brands. For shoppers who value a luxurious and upmarket feel, the CX-5 has a lot to offer.
Mazda CX-5: Fun to Drive
Many may remember Mazda’s “zoom zoom” advertising from the early 2000s, and this wasn’t just marketing mumbo jumbo. Mazda’s vehicles have the fun-to-drive characteristics to back up the ad’s claims. Handling is one of the CX-5’s strong suits. It takes turns with agility, and body lean is managed well. The steering has a nice weight and delivers good feedback.
Mazda CX-5: Performance
The standard engine in the CX-5 is a 4-cylinder, making 187 horsepower. Performance with this engine will be adequate for most buyers, but a turbocharged engine with more power is available on higher trim levels. The Mazda is capable of towing up to 2,000 pounds, and can manage a small trailer or camper. The CX-5 is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
In terms of fuel efficiency, the CX-5’s mileage is likely to be acceptable to most shoppers. Depending on the engine, it gets 22 to 25 miles per gallon in the city, and 27 to 31 on the highway according to the EPA.
Mazda CX-5: Safety
The CX-5 earns top ratings in crash tests, and is named a Top Safety Pick Plus by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Beyond crash tests, all trims of the CX-5 come standard with advanced safety technologies. These are proven to reduce injuries in accidents, and can may help you to avoid an accident all together. I always highly recommend that buyers select a vehicle that has these important safety features. For more on advanced safety features, check out this blog post.
Of course, this was all a somewhat silly exercise. No single vehicle can satisfy the needs of every single shopper. As highly as I regard the CX-5, it wouldn’t be the right fit for someone with a strict limited budget, or with 12 children, or who wants to take their next vehicle to the drag strip on the weekends.
But most buyers just want something comfortable for commuting, with enough space to carry a few passengers and some cargo. They want to have some fun behind the wheel, while enjoying attractive and upscale interior appointments. Most shoppers don’t want to completely blow their budget. They want the peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re in a safe and reliable vehicle. For this majority of shoppers, these Goldilockses will find the Mazda CX-5 to be just right.