The redesigned Mazda CX-5 compact crossover has arrived for 2017, with a starting price of $24,045 (plus $940 freight).
This second generation of the CX-5 still looks much like its predecessor, but there will be one big difference later this year: the addition of a 2.2-liter diesel engine as an option for the U.S. market.
As for now, the only engine available is the same 2.5-liter direct-injection gasoline four-cylinder from the 2016 model, rated at 187 horsepower and 185 foot-pounds of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.
With this engine and the automatic, the 2017 CX-5 has EPA ratings of 24 mpg city/31 highway/27 combined with front drive, and 23/29/26 with all-wheel drive.
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Three trim levels are offered: sport, touring and grand touring. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available on all levels for an additional $1,300, and was included on our grand touring test vehicle.
Built in Japan on a Mazda-designed chassis, the CX-5 falls into the company's lineup between the full-size, seven-passenger CX-9, and ahead of the smaller CX-3.
When it arrived for 2013, the CX-5 essentially replaced two crossovers in the Mazda lineup: the compact Tribute, which was a clone of the previous-generation Ford Escape; and the CX-7, which was slightly larger outside than the CX-5, but with less interior space.
The CX-5 features Mazda’s new “SkyActiv” technology, which brings a variety of features that include engine, transmission and suspension components.
The base price brings the sport front-drive model, while the sport all-wheel drive begins at $25,345. The touring front-drive starts at $25,915; the AWD at $27,215. The grand touring front-drive is $29,395; and our tester, the grand touring AWD, was $30,695.
Even after the redesign, the CX-5’s dimensions are nearly identical to those of the previous model, and passenger capacity is still five – there is no third-row seat available.
The 2017 CX-5 is 179.1 inches long, compared with 179.3 for the 2016 version, and it has the same 106.3-inch wheelbase.
An important vehicle for Mazda, the CX-5 is sold in more than 120 countries, and accounts for about a fourth of Mazda’s global sales volume.
The new CX-5 has a lower center of gravity, and 10mm wider front and rear tread, aimed at giving it a more powerful stance, Mazda says. There are thinner, lower headlights.
Our tester came with the new soul red crystal metallic body color ($545 extra). other special colors include snowflake white pearl mica ($200), and the new machine gray metallic ($300), offered only on touring and grand touring versions.
Three interior packages are offered, including pure white or black leather, or black fabric. Our grand touring model came with the black leather interior. There was also a two-tone instrument panel.
Other enhancements have been made to the cockpit, seats and suspension, some of them designed to make the cabin quieter and the ride more comfortable. We took a weekend trip in the CX-5, and found it comfy and relatively quiet at highway speeds.
Mazda said particular effort went into improving interior quality, along with making controls and instruments work better. The all-wheel-drive system got some improvements as well, but it’s not intended for any kind of serious off-road use, and does not include low-range gearing.
Among standard features, even on the base sport, are an electronic parking brake; an upgraded center console, dash and armrest design; and 17-inch alloy wheels.
We also had keyless entry with pushbutton start, and there was a six-way manual front passenger seat; tilt/telescopic leather steering wheel, with audio and cruise controls; heated, power outside mirrors; heated front seats; automatic door locks; and a rear roof rack.
Grand touring models come with 19-inch alloy wheels, as well as adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, a power liftgate, navigation, Bose premium audio with 10 speakers, a power moon roof, adaptive headlights, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, smart brake support, automatic high beams, dual/heated outside mirrors, an eight-way power driver’s seat, LED front fog lights and LED taillights.
Our tester also came with the GT premium package ($1,830), which brought a memory driver's seat, power passenger seat, active driving display (a head-up display showing at the bottom of the windshield) with traffic sign recognition, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, and windshield de-icer.
It was fun to watch the speed limit readout change as the system “read” the signs, but we did notice that it could not differentiate between regular speed limits and school zones, showing us the school zone speeds even outside the times they were in effect.
Touring models can be equipped with the touring preferred package ($780), which adds the power moon roof, power liftgate, Bose audio and speakers, navigation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, automatic headlights, and the rain-sensing wipers.
The touring iActivSense package ($625) brings automatic high-beam control, lane keep assist, radar cruise control, smart brake support, the auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, automatic on/off headlights, and rain-sensing wipers.
Virtually all of those touring package extras are already included on the grand touring and/or the GT premium package.
Besides have an appealing exterior and well-designed interior, the CX-5 drives more like a sport sedan than a utility vehicle. Fans of Mazda vehicles already know that this is a hallmark of this brand, which always puts emphasis on the driving experience.
But the CX-5 gets even sportier handling with the redesign for 2017. We gave it a workout on some twisty back roads and some unpaved (bet well-maintained) park and national forest roads, and found the CX-5 suited for a wide variety of road conditions and surfaces.
We found the driver and front passenger seats quite comfortable for a stretch of several hours on the highway, and our two outboard rear-seat passengers had no complaints. There was adequate knee and legroom in the rear, at least in the outboard positions, but the middle seat was a bit tight for an adult. It is designed to hold a child safety seat, and as always, that is the best place to put the child seat.
When the middle position is not being used for a passenger, there is a pull-down armrest with two cupholders available for the rear passengers. There were four USB ports with plenty of space in the center console for our phones; there was a Bluetooth phone connection system; and we had a seven-inch color display for the audio/navigation system that also served as the screen for the standard backup camera system.
Cargo space is roomy for a compact SUV. There is 30.9 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seat, but that space can be expanded to 59.6 cubic feet with the rear seatback folded.
Safety features include electronic stability control with traction control, the automatic high beams, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, hill-launch assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front seat-mounted side air bags, and front/rear roof-mounted side-curtain air bags.
Towing capacity of the CX-5 is just 2,000 pounds, but that can accommodate a small pop-up camper, cargo trailer or fishing boat.
During our week in the CX-5 AWD, we averaged 25.4 mpg with a mix of about 50-50 highway and local driving.
Total sticker price, including freight and options, was $34,060.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @gchambers3.
2017 Mazda CX-5
The package: Compact, five-passenger, five-door, front- or all-wheel-drive, four-cylinder powered, crossover utility vehicle.
Highlights: Mazda’s new compact crossover, which arrived for 2013, moves into its second generation with a redesign for 2017. This vehicle is all Mazda, and has a large list of standard amenities even on the base model. It’s stylish, comfortable and actually fun to drive – a hallmark of Mazda cars.
Negatives: No third row of seating offered for increased capacity.
Engine: 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder, normally aspirated.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic.
Power/torque: 187 HP./185 foot-pounds.
Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
Length: 179.1 inches.
Curb weight: 3,527-3,655 pounds.
Cargo volume: 30.9 cubic feet (behind rear seat); 59.6 cubic feet (rear seatback folded).
Towing capacity: 2,000 pounds.
EPA fuel economy: 24 mpg city/31 highway/27 combined (2WD); 23/29/26 (AWD).
Fuel capacity/type: 14.8 gallons (2WD); 15.3 gallons (AWD)/regular unleaded.
Base price range: $24,045-$30,695, plus $940 freight.
Price as tested: $34,060, including freight and options (Grand Touring, all-wheel drive).
Major competitors: Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Tucson, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue/Rogue Sport, Honda CR-V, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Patriot, Mitsubishi Outlander/Outlander Sport, Volkswagen Tiguan, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester.
On the Road rating: 9.1 (of a possible 10).
Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.