Mazda’s popular CX-5 crossover/Compact SUV is all-new for 2017, building upon its tremendous success through the first generation. This model adopts the smartly designed current CX-9 with thin LED headlights and a more aggressive front end coupled with smooth design lines throughout.
The outgoing model looked good and the new model has a strong, modern appearance without all those sharp lines like some Toyota offerings. The rear lights follow the thin design of the headlights for a sleek look and the overall shape flows nicely throughout.
Appearance wise, the CX-5 scores very high marks from me.
My tester was the top-trim GT, which has the 2.5 SkyActiv four-cylinder motor churning out 187 horsepower and a closely matched 185 lb-ft. of torque through a six-speed automatic gearbox.
This engine appears on the mid-trip GS while the entry level GX sees 155 horse and 150 lb-ft. of torque.
My all-wheel-drive model, although clearly a crossover, has the driving dynamics and feel of a car, which is a huge plus. You get the benefit of a higher line of sight, the extra cargo space and Mazda has managed to keep a spirited drive quality here. SUV/CUV/Crossovers are primarily designed for their utilitarian usage primarily but in true Mazda fashion, it’s not a bore to drive and there’s no mundane feeling behind the wheel. Handling and cornering are done well and most importantly, with a standard backup camera, the CX-5 is quite easy to park.
Furthering that is Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control technology that controls G-forces, improves steering and enhances responsiveness, or as Mazda puts it:
Due to irregularities and undulations in the road surface, your vehicle does not always travel along the expected line, forcing you to make steering corrections. With GVC, your CX‑5 responds to driver inputs with fewer steering adjustments, so your vehicle behaves as you intend and you enjoy a more confident drive.
Fuel economy for the GT rates at 10.2 and 8.3 for city/highway on the L/100 km scale, which is respectable in this class.
If there’s anything I’d change under the hood, it’d be to boost the torque up by 10-20 twists but that’ll be addressed with the upcoming diesel model.
Inside, the CX-5 has one of the best interiors of its class. The clean layout of the cabin, the high quality and comfort of all seats and great sight lines, a result of pulling back the A-pillars all contribute to a wonderful in-car experience.
There’s certainly an upscale look and feel to this interior through simplicity. Mazda didn’t jam a ton of excess stuff inside. Rather, they smartly placed everything for driver comfort, which when you’re looking to enjoy the ride, is key.
The dashboard sees three easy to read dials, steering wheel controls are easy to operate and the 7-inch touch screen (also controlled via rotary knob) is responsive and has simple menus.
My GT tester comes with a 10-speake Bose audio system, which pairs nicely with the new in cabin noise reduction technology, heated front and rear seats, leather heated steering wheel, a 10-way power driver’s seat and a few more goodies.
What stood out to me is how easy it was to get in and out of the CX-5. It’s at an ideal height that you don’t have to climb or slink in; it’s simply a matter of opening the door and doing a brief swivel to get your butt on the seat.
Storage registers at 875 litres with the rear seats up and 1,687 litres with those seats folded, so there’s ample space for whatever it is you’re bringing with you.
On the safety side, paying the extra $1,600 for the Technology Package is a great option as it gives you radar cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, distance recognition, smart city braking and a few others.
Without the package, the GT trim comes standard with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alerts.
Overall, the 2017 Mazda CX-5 is in the upper echelon for compact SUV’s with its great design and smart, practical and classy interior. With SUV/CUV/Crossovers continually appearing on our roads and with so many options for consumers, Mazda’s offering hits a ton of right notes in offering a great family hauler, or as a vehicle if you’re kid less but want the added storage space, higher sightlines while maintaining the fun factor behind the wheel.
The GT rings the register at $34,700 MSRP and the entry level GX starts at $24,900.
Expect the mid-trim GS to be the high volume seller, although if it were me, I’d take the GT with Tech Package for my personal tastes.
If you’re in the market for a crossover, put the CX-5 on your test drive list as in this guy’s opinion, it’s one of the better offerings on the market today.
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