2017 Mazda CX-5: How Do You Make the Best Even Better?

on Apr30

28 April 2017 | 6:57 pm

Since its introduction in 2012, the Mazda CX-5 has been at or near the top of everyone’s list of best compact SUV/CUV. It achieved these universal accolades with great looks, efficiency, technology, and most of all, its nimble and smile-inducing handling. Mazda is all about the driving experience, and taking a CX-5 out on a twisty road, it’s easy to forget you’re in a utility vehicle of any kind. The razor sharp handling came with a price, however, as the original version was harsh over bumps and lacked the interior hush of some of its competitors. Well, not anymore! Mazda addressed it in the all-new CX-5.

From behind the wheel we immediately noticed a difference, with less jounce over bumps in the road, and more whisper quiet interaction with the road. The chassis still feels taut, and loses none of its cornering prowess, but there’s a sophistication that was lacking in the previous model. Even though the chassis is basically the same, the improvements in sound deadening and advances in suspension components lead to this newfound luxury to go along with the sportiness. It’s a really great combination, and not an easy thing to tune into a car. Most of the time you have to choose one or the other, but this Mazda does both.

Despite all the accolades, there was also a common complaint that the CX-5 was always a bit sluggish. Originally available only with a 2.0-Liter SKYACTIV-G engine, quickly Mazda realized they had to add in the 2.5-Liter option. That remains the most-powerful option, bumping up by 3hp for this new version. The issue is that all that refinement did actually come at a cost of about 100lb, however, the sheer poise and balance of the chassis is enough to not worry too much about a few more horsepower.

Of course, the 2.5-Liter SKYACTIV-G engine does do a great job at the pumps, with a 23-city and 29-highway MPG rating. Choosing to make its efficiency gains through improvement in materials and construction, rather than adding complex batteries or motor systems, Mazda does a fine job in simplicity. In the end, when you count the additional carbon-footprint of manufacturing the hybrid technology and batteries, this may even be better for the environment. Either way, it’s a bold choice for Mazda, and we applaud them for it.

Technology is almost taken for granted these days, but the CX-5 has plenty to deliver in this department. Starting with nice 8” widescreen display, the systems are easy to use and thoughtful. It’s compatible with all your handheld devices, and is feature rich.

Safety-wise, our Grand-Touring test model was equipped with the technology package, which gets you lane-assist, emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitors and radar cruise control. It also gets you a wonderful heads-up display that projects pertinent information right on the windshield. It even detects the speed limit and road signs through a combination of cameras and GPS. Very handy when you’re in a place you don’t know very well! Overall, these systems work as well or better than some other brands, and you can’t beat the value.

So what does all this cost? Well, for $33,500 you can have the top-range GT with all options and AWD, which represents a staggering value given the upgraded materials and cabin dynamics. It feels like a vehicle that costs thousands more, and that is rare these days. Most of the time we find ourselves justifying why a vehicle is worth the price. With this CX-5, we can’t think of a single argument as to why we wouldn’t pay more for it. That means that the best has only gotten better, and if you are late to the party, you owe it to yourself to go check one out. It will probably follow you home!

By Jason Saini


Special thanks to The Autobarn City Mazda for providing the 2017 Mazda CX-5 for review.


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