The CX-5 since its launch for model year 2012 has become a huge staple for the Mazda brand, in the realm of one hundred thousand units per year in the United States alone. A redesign for 2017 reuses the the chassis and the 2.5 Liter skyactive 4 cylinder producing 187 horse power, and 185 pound feet of torque paired with an in-house 6 speed automatic. We hope the diesel can make its way in later this year in the interest of both range and fuel efficiency. Visually the new CX-5 has taken an already attractive automobile to the next level. New LED headlamps (standard on all trim levels) a rework of the front fascia and corporate grille design bring it back into the realm of standing out in a sea of bland.
The test car I had for this week was finished in this stunning Machine Grey Metallic, a $300 up-charge. The interior finished in a Parchment Leather which includes black carpeting along with dash and door panels. The premium package ($1,830) as equipped includes not only memory drivers seat, and 6-way power passenger seat, but also multi-level heated rear outboard seats, heated steering wheel, windshield wiper de-icer, heads up display with traffic sign information!
Interior space felt better than adequate for this class of automobile, myself and 3 friends found it comfortable and easy to hold conversation as interior quietness has improved for 2017. We liked the airy feeling of the interior, and the upholstery color probably had a lot to contribute to that. Unfortunately the CX-5 does not offer a panoramic sunroof option like some of its competitors. The rear seats also having climate control vents and two USB 2.1 amp ports conveniently located within the small storage compartment of the rear arm rest. A 40/20/40 split folding rear seat is another huge plus for different cargo configuring needs, I can envision taking this car skiing with a few friends.
Fog lamps featuring LED’s also helped aid visibility along with rain sensing wipers, automatic high beams, and headlamps that corner with you, pleasant surprises in this market.
Mazda’s adaptive cruise control was remarkably intuitive to use, with all of its controls being placed on the right hand side of the steering wheel, not having me reach about the cabin to activate or change its settings. Details for its information such as set speed, following distance etc. were all available within the heads up display feature or the semi configurable digital display within the far right pod of of the instrument cluster. This adaptive cruise control includes the ability to handle very slow moving, crawl situation traffic along with start and stop with ease. As a huge technology nerd this was very welcomed, as I typically just like to “set it and forget it”. The maximum speed to set the ACC is 90mph, but you can hold the cruise button to over ride for standard cruise control abilities (Not that one should do that within the United States).
Cargo space is generous, and the area around the wheel well maximized allowing for longer items to be placed left to right. The cargo cover being attached to the hatch itself rather than stationary inside the opening is a novel idea allowing easier reach to items that may be further forward, but in doing so hinders access for natural light making things difficult at night as the interior lighting within the cargo area is minimal. The inclusion of release handles to fold the rear seats from the trunk rather than running around to the side door was a tasteful addition.
The standalone option of ultrasonic parking sensors ($475) was not included in this press car, but would make for a very nice addition to anyone parking in within an urban area. Parking sensors for the front are not available at this point in time.
I’ve really become quite fond of Mazda’s tail lamp designs, combining all sorts of geometric combinations to separate itself from the rest of the contenders. Use of LED light pipes gives it a bright, but soft illumination keeping it tasteful yet understated, a true Mazda characteristic. Despite all of this use of LED illumination methods through out the car I’m really amazed at the use of incandescent bulbs for the front and rear turn signals.
The all wheel drive system proved to be useful and effective in some light early winter weather during my time with this spunky little ute.
The Mazda cockpit experience has always been very driver focused and the CX-5 is absolutely no exception to that rule. A center analog speedometer with a tachometer to its left and a semi configurable digital display to the right includes navigation, adaptive cruse control, and radio information along with coolant temperature, fuel information etc. The heads up display projects on the windshield with navigation, speed limit information, stop sign warnings, along side repetition of blind spot monitoring information and radio data. We really like that Mazda was able to project on glass rather than what we’ve seen with having to use a poly-carbonate display space in the Mazda 3. The main infotainment display provides industry standard graphics, but I would expect that to be updated in next-gen CX-5. A neat little Easter Egg I found is as you drive into a tunnel, the map display disappears and it mimics a tunnel until you’ve exited the other side, a nice way to help prevent unnecessary distractions I would assume.
Having spent exactly a week using this car for my every day needs, and one quick overnight adventure to Philadelphia for a casual gathering of LGBT car enthusiasts called The Car Gays I must say it was really a blast. The fuel economy (2017 EPA rating of 21 city 29 highway 26 combined) is exactly what I would expect from a sport utility with this size and naturally aspirated drive train and all wheel drive combination; although I did notice a bit of a decline over the 80 mile per hour mark. The fuel tank was also a bit on the petite side for my liking, allowing for a range of just around 300 miles before low fuel indicator.
Including destination a MSRP of $34,085 provides a comfortable and capable little sport utility chock full of technology is certainly posh on a budget!
I’d like to give a huge thank you to the crew at both Mazda and DriveShop for coordinating my week with this CX-5. I would also be remiss to neglect Hoffman’s Car Wash for keeping my press cars squeaky clean and enabling my car wash addition.