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Mazda CX-5 M Hybrid (2023) review: even after the last facelift, we still miss one thing

Eh, the Mazda CX-5, hasn't it just been facelifted? True, but from model year 2023 something has also changed subcutaneously. It received a mild hybrid system that makes it more economical and a new version has been added. Yet we are still missing something…

What is striking about the Mazda CX-5 M Hybrid (2023)?

Good question, because nothing has happened to the appearance after the light facelift of 2022. Well, almost nothing, because there is now a new version called Takumi. Unlike most SUVs, the Mazda CX-5 in Takumi trim should have nothing to do with tough unpainted plastic parts. The fender edges, sills and bumpers are the same color as the rest of the car. No fuss with dark gray or black wheels either, no, high-gloss silver color is what the pot eats. In 19 inches, that is. This makes the CX-5 a neat appearance, especially in white. The equipment is very complete, with leather furniture, stitched (artificial) cowhide on the dashboard and door panels, trimmed with strips of wood motif.

The Mazda CX-5 in Newground trim was already there. From the outside you can recognize it by silver-colored trim parts, black alloy and yellow-green accents in the grille. That color is reflected on the inside in the seat upholstery, but around the air vents Mazda has deleted the bold touch due to popular demand.

As far as electrification is concerned, the Mazda CX-5 has to make do with mild hybrid support. Not with a 48-volt starter generator like most brands, but a modest 24-volt system. This reduces fuel consumption by an average of 0.6 l/100 km and CO2 emissions by 13 g/km. For the CX-5 with 2.0-liter engine (165 hp) and manual transmission, Mazda now reports an average of 6.5 l/100 km (1 in 15.4), instead of 6.8 l/100 km (1 in 14.7). In the versions with automatic transmission and the 2.2-liter engine with 194 hp, we see consumption drops of the same order of magnitude. Modest, but still worth it in the hunt for the last grams of CO2. Certainly in the Netherlands, where the price is largely determined by CO2 emissions.

What is good about the Mazda CX-5 M Hybrid (2023)?

Where in many new cars you are intimidated by digital screens with the appearance of a sunbed and opaque control systems, you immediately feel at ease in the Mazda CX-5. The infotainment display is modest and the climate control buttons are large and obvious. Mazda considers touch screens unsafe and swears by the operation of the infotainment via rotary/push buttons on the tunnel console. After some getting used to, we can confirm that it is indeed less distracting.

As long as you take it easy, driving the Mazda CX-5 is a zen-like experience. On asphalt roads we hardly hear tire noise and on unpaved we have to do our best to hear splashing stones.

The engine behaves just as imperturbably. You can drop the revs very far, without the four-cylinder choking or you grumbling with displeasure tapping your shift shoulder. Faster than the sixth yoga class, we drive from roundabout to roundabout. We mainly switch gears because the six-speed manual gearbox is such an incredibly nice device.

Another zen experience: the reassurance that you won't miss any car news.

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The space, steering and chassis of the CX-5 have not been adjusted since 2022, but that was not necessary. The steering offers enough feeling, the chassis is firm but comfortable and keeps the leaning in corners within limits. According to Mazda, the center of gravity is now more favorable thanks to the mild hybrid system's lithium-ion battery, which is located under the passenger seat. In terms of interior and luggage space (522 litres), the Mazda CX-5 still has nothing to be ashamed of after seven years.

What could be better about the Mazda CX-5 M Hybrid (2023)?

Both the 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrol engines are remarkably smooth and forgiving. The sprint times from a standstill are still okay (from 9.2 to 10.7 s). What both petrol engines, on the other hand, sorely lack is torque at low revs. Now that almost all competitors spoil you with turbo engines and plug-in hybrids where the torque flies around you, you still have to make do with the Mazda CX-5 with 213 and 263 Nm respectively. And that's not even the worst part: the maximum torque is only released at 4000 rpm. Nowadays you learn from your driving instructor that you have to upshift 1000 rpm earlier, but then emotionally nothing really happens. The explanation for this somewhat old-fashioned engine character is simple: Mazda refuses to turbocharge its petrol engines.

If you want more performance, you will have to accelerate and switch a lot. Only the otherwise quiet engine is quite noisy and raw. And then the machine? It does not make the car quieter or smoother. In fact, we found the manual CX-5 with the base engine to drive better than the most powerful version with automatic transmission.

When will the Mazda CX-5 M Hybrid (2023) come to the Netherlands and what is the price?

The renewed Mazda CX-5 M Hybrid (2023) will be at the Dutch dealer around mid-April. For the basic version Center Line with 165 hp and manual gearbox, he asks 38,190 euros. Climate control, 17-inch alloy, LED headlights and a three-part folding rear seat are included in the price. For an extra 2000 euros you get the Connectivity & Convenience Pack. This includes front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, wireless smartphone integration and a navigation system. The Advantage version (from 42,190 euros) adds 19-inch wheels, a head-up display, keyless entry and traffic sign recognition, as well as a wireless charging option for your smartphone. You get even more luxury and safety in the Exclusive Line (43.090). The CX-5 with the more powerful 2.5-liter engine and standard six-speed automatic transmission is available from 45,390 euros. Four-wheel drive (only in combination with the 2.5) is possible from 58,440 euros (Exclusive Line).


e-SKYACTIV G 165 M Hybrid

e-SKYACTIV G 194 M Hybrid aut.



















Vending machine





8150 (vanaf Exclusive Line)

What do I think of the Mazda CX-5 M Hybrid (2023)?

As long as you're not in a hurry, the Mazda CX-5 is a very pleasant car. It is quiet, fully equipped, has a pleasant steering and a wonderful manual gearbox. And if you drive them properly, the engines come very close to the stated gas mileage – in that respect, Mazdas outperform many turbocharged competitors.

But that's not the only reason Mazda is abandoning turbochargers on petrol engines. According to the Japanese, they make the powertrain too complex, prone to failure and heavy. They may have had a point there once, but the current generation of turbocharged engines is quite reliable. And more importantly: they are much more pleasant to use than unblown four-cylinder. Especially with a relatively heavy car like the Mazda CX-5 (1567-1670 kg).

I find it all the more remarkable that the Mazda CX-5 is allowed to tow trailers, ranging in weight from 1800 to 2000 kilos. I personally don't want to think about having to merge on the autobahn with such a combination.


Dreamer is what I am, but unlike many, I struggle to make my dreams come true. I own, seo, admin and site editor. I am a father, married, Christian, Northeastern/Brazil and Libran. I love cars <3

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