2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Philippines Review
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2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Review

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo delivers and exhilarating drive along with a luxurious experience that's unique to this crossover SUV.

The second-generation Mazda CX-5 has been with us for quite a while now, with the model dating back to 2017. For the 2023 model year, the Japanese automaker from Hiroshima managed to add a dose of elegance to its best-selling crossover SUV–putting it more in line with a Lexus instead of just a Toyota. This is the new 2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo, and despite this generation now being five years old, meticulous refinements continue to make it the class benchmark.


2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Philippines Exterior

2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Philippines Exterior

For 2023, Mazda has given the CX-5 its most comprehensive facelift to date. A few minor tweaks such as new wheels and colors were added over the past few years, but those updates pale in comparison to this facelift. The more elegant five-point wing grille and new, slimmer LED headlights all tie into the Japanese automaker’s newfound premium aspirations, while the black plastic cladding has been ditched in favor of body-colored ones. Some people aren’t fans of it–particularly in this shade of Zircon Sand, but personally, I love it to bits. I guess I’ve reached a point where I’m tired of seeing black plastic cladding in an age of crossover and SUV dominance.

Elsewhere, the new CX-5 gets a set of more elegant 19-inch wheels in a sparkling diamond finish, while the LED taillights out back have also been revamped. Do note, however, that the facelift only applies to this new Japanese-built CX-5 AWD Turbo. The Malaysian-made lower variants are still wearing the same features and design since its last update in 2020.


2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Philippines Interior

2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Philippines Interior

Interior changes for the 2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo are much more modest. The overall dash aesthetic is still the same, though it also means it’s still the most luxurious interior in its segment. Loads of soft-touch leatherette trims and genuine wood paneling give this CX-5 an unmistakably luxurious ambiance, while the redesigned Nappa Leather seats are one of the best in providing support for long-distance drives. In addition, those seated at the front are treated to cooled seats, which are always a welcome addition to any car sold in a hot country like the Philippines.

Features and Infotainment

2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Philippines Interior

Also unchanged is its Mazda Connect infotainment system. Sure, it’s now housed in an 8-inch screen, but its operating system is still the one that we’ve been seeing for nearly a decade now–unlike the updated CX-5 in overseas markets that have adopted the second-generation operating system. Nevertheless, the knob-based infotainment system is still one of my favorites. However, I do wish that Apple CarPlay (which is wireless, by the way) and Android Auto could also be operated via the touch screen as opposed to solely relying on the commander knob.

Also welcome is the fact that Mazda still insists on physical controls. In fact, it’s even part of their design philosophy. In a world where automakers are hell bent on migrating everything into the infotainment system, Mazda’s move is a welcome one indeed.

Some of the other interior features include power-adjustable front seats, wireless charging, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, a sunroof, as well as a 7-inch partly-digital gauge cluster for the driver. You also get the full suite of i-Activsense driver-assistance tech, which includes front and rear automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic alert, just to name a few.

Space and Practicality

2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Philippines Interior

As with every Mazda, the driving position is perfection. The way that the steering, seats, and pedals are aligned makes driving second nature to any body type. Of course, the Nappa Leather that’s smooth and free from graining is pleasant to touch as well.

2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Philippines Interior

While those at the front have plenty of room, legroom at the back is considered adequate rather than generous. It’s not cramped, but it’s not as spacious as a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. At least rear occupants are treated to two USB ports at the center armrest along with rear aircon vents.

Lastly, the trunk space of the CX-5 measures 522 liters–putting it on par with the CR-V’s cargo area (though this is for the five-seater gasoline version of the CR-V). A powered tailgate also definitely comes in handy for the CX-5.

Driving Experience

Powering the 2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo is a familiar turbocharged 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder gasoline that produces 253 horsepower and 434 Nm of torque, though this is with 95 octane premium fuel. Using a lower octane fuel lowers its figures to 227 hp and 420 Nm. A 6-speed automatic sends all of that power through an all-wheel drive (AWD) system.

2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Philippines

One thing that I like when Mazda does facelifts is that they also improve the car’s driving experience. Suspension tweaks have made this the most comfortable CX-5 to date, but it still rides in a slightly firm manner. That’s pretty much expected in a crossover SUV that handles like a sports sedan. Furthermore, Mazda also added much more sound deadening and acoustic front glass, which makes this CX-5 one of the quietest now in its segment.

Despite its added comfort, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo is still the benchmark in terms of sporty handling. It’s amazing how Mazda’s cars all have a similar driving feel that’s distinct to the brand. From the MX-5 all the way to this crossover SUV, every Mazda feels similarly sporty behind the wheel–but with varying degrees of comfort. The steering is still accurate, weighty, and precise, though, in pursuit of Mazda’s premium aspirations, the steering is less responsive now on center compared to the pre-facelift model. This is a deliberate decision as this reduces your steering corrections like in the new Mazda 3, but that comes at the slight expense of how sharp its front end responds.

Still, this means that chucking the new CX-5 into corners is a matter of simply pointing and shooting it, and this is Mazda’s new direction of making the vehicle just as what the driver intended. That same philosophy is also applied to the turbo engine. Turbocharged engines often have plenty of low-end torque, but the experience is often spoiled by either turbo lag or having all that boost from the turbo delivered in an uncontrolled manner. Mazda, on the other hand, tunes its engines as if it feels like a large naturally-aspirated engine. All of the torque is delivered in a linear fashion, thus once again making the engine easy to modulate and only as how the driver intends to.

However, if there’s one downside, that would be its fuel economy. An average fuel economy of 8.0 km/l is thirsty by today’s standards, especially in my lifestyle of mostly highway drives. However, considering that a slower, less powerful Subaru Outback did the same fuel economy numbers, the faster CX-5 AWD Turbo suddenly seems to be efficient enough for the performance its offers.


The 2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo once again sets the benchmark in the segment despite this generation now being half a decade old. It’s a testament to how Mazda’s continuous refinement of its products keeps them at the top of its game. Priced at P2,380,000, the CX-5 AWD Turbo is on the expensive side of things, but dig deeper and you’ll see a lot of value in that figure. On top of the 5-year free maintenance, you get a crossover SUV that tugs the heartstrings in a way that none of its pragmatic peers could.

With this new CX-5, Mazda continues its ethos of building cars that aren’t merely tools to go from A to B. During road trips, I often look forward to the destination, but with the CX-5, it’s actually the drive toward the destination that I look forward to. As a saying goes, “life is all about the journey, not the destination”.

More Photos

2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Philippines

2023 Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo Philippines

Pricing and Rating

Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★★
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Features: ★★★★★
Safety and Driver Assistance: ★★★★★
Acceleration: ★★★★★
Handling: ★★★★★
Comfort: ★★★★☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★☆☆
Value For Money: ★★★★☆

Price: P2,380,000*

Overall: 4.5 out of 5

*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.

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