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Shopping for a BMW X5? Stop. Drive this vehicle first. We are not kidding.

Styling

  • Solid looks with premium-look finishes make this 3-row crossover stand out in boring parking lots.
  • Interior is simple, almost European-sparse, but with a little more character. Nice.
  • Two-tone dash is a great touch without having to use fake stitching.

Utility

  • Have a rear-facing baby seat? No Problem. Have two? No Problem. Need to dump the in-laws into the third row? No problem! (Did we mention this is all standard? Try getting that on the X5 without paying more.)
  • Second row seats slide forward/aft and recline. So cool.
  • Rear cargo space is decent, but we wouldn’t recommend it for longer trips with adults back there.

Performance

  • While it’s not going to break your neck off the line, the 2.5-liter turbo engine Mazda has developed is just enough for everyday commuting and family road trips.
  • Engine is quiet, peppy, makes great turbo “whoosh” noises and feels refined (those noises are a car person thing).
  • A great engine.

Technology

  • Infotainment system: It seems Mazda might have found inspiration from BMW’s iDrive knob thingy, but cut out all of the confusing sub-menus and clutter for their infotainment system. What you are left with is a simple interface that is easy to use and plays well with the latest technology.
  • Downside: The only downside is that Apple Carplay and Android Auto are not supported. It’s ok though since the interface is easy to use.
  • The HUD ROCKS! (That’s head up display for you at home.)
  • Pair that with radar cruise control, blind spot warning and active lane departure systems…why would you buy a much more expensive BMW X5?
  • Rain sensing wipers and automatic headlamps (brights,too)? What?! Yes, this is awesome value.

Economy

  • For a three-row, 27 mpg on the highway is respectable.

Ride & Handling

  • Smooth-riding, not a ton of body lean.
  • Stays flat in the corners.
  • The AWD setup works really well.
  • When you do the jiggle test (you know, you quickly steer the vehicle from right to left like you are dodging a squirrel at speed), the chassis, suspension and lean aren’t upset. Simply amazing and generally only found in much more expensive Audis and Bimmers.
  • At highway speeds, this vehicle is quiet (triple laminated glass?) and eats up the miles.
  • Downside: Acceleration on the highway isn’t tremendous, but it isn’t going to leave you stranded either.

Value

What can we say, this thing is loaded. Even though it isn’t a luxury vehicle, it sure feels like one. One thing it doesn’t feel like? A sticker shock candidate.

Pricing: Visit NADAguides.com