We have been a fan of the brand for many years, even to the point that we have a 2016 Mazda6 as our personal vehicle of choice. We jumped, naturally, at the chance to test out the 2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD for a week.
What we found surprised us, in a good way, with a vehicle that is perfect for urban and suburban dwellers alike. Apparently more than 1 million CX5 owners worldwide, agree.
As competitive as the compact crossover segment is, Mazda designers sought to differentiate the CX5 from the competitors, namely the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. That’s where their “refined toughness” ethos came in play.
Mazda claims it’s all-new from the ground up and one of the first new Mazdas to reveal the firm’s KODO design language. It’s more refined than the 2016 model, but it’s not obvious until you have the two model years side by side. At that point, it is clear that lines are crisper, rakes are statelier and brightwork is uh, more bright throughout.
Power for the CX5 comes from the brand’s ever-present 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine. A stout four-banger, it manages 187 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. Power is delivered to the Mazda All-Wheel-Drive system by a 6-speed Skyactiv-Drive sport mode automatic transmission. Mazda claims the CX5 is the US-debut for the firm’s G-Vectoring control, which is their name for torque vectoring.
The new interior features more in the way of creature comforts throughout. As everyone is connected one way or another, there are enough USB ports to charge up the electronics section of your local Best Buy. Rear outboard seats are equipped with heating elements to keep the cheeks nice and warm, and in an effort to one up airline seating, the CX5 offers rear seat reclines of 24 and 28 degrees. Match that, Delta Airlines, with your so-called Comfort+ seating!
In the front seat area, the 10-speaker Bose premium audio system takes advantage of the Mazda’s new, quieter interior. Where we think the interior falls down is in the area of display and user interface of the center console controls. While the multi-function commander control is all nifty and functional, it is used to operate a system that seems tired and at east two generations behind what other vehicles offer today. We agree the seven-inch display is an update over the generation it replaces, but think that a simple software upgrade will bring this new Mazda CX5 up to contemporary standards that are possessed by their competitors.
Behind The Wheel.
The Mazda 2.5-liter four cylinder has proven itself time and again as a prime piece of motive power, delivering enough oomph to get out of its own way whenever needed. This version is no different. Delivery to the road was nice and easy thanks to the 6-speed automatic transmission, that although the company has eschewed the Zoom-Zoom motto of the past, still managed to deliver in a rapid and sure-footed manner. We just wonder, though, how easy it would be to massage the new turbocharged version of the new 2.5-liter into this engine room. Now that would be fun!
G-Vectoring is a new process that instead of applying brake pressure to help the CX5 through a turn, manages to produce less spark, which downgrades the power to accomplish the same feat. The six-speed gearbox didn’t miss a beat, and although some of the competition has moved on to seven- and eight-speed gearboxes, we found this slusher up to the task. The new, quieter interior enabled us to arrive relaxed and refreshed following an excursion in the mind-numbing South Florida traffic. Combine that with the sporting attitude that seems to make its way into every Mazda, and it turns out we liked the ride and feel of the 2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD even more.
Mazda is truly an amazing company. Just because they don’t have the type of R&D money that other manufacturers do, it’s always exciting for us to see a smaller company making more from less.
Story and Photos by Mark Elias.
2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD
Base Price: $30,695. Price as tested: $33,785.
Includes: Cargo Mats, $70; Retractable Cargo Cover, $250; Premium Package, $1,830; Destination, $940.
Configuration: Five-Passenger Compact CUV
Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Power: 187 horsepower, 185 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 6-speed Sport Mode Automatic
Curb weight: 3,655-pounds
Overall Length: 179.1-inches
Ground Clearance: 7.6-inches
Seats up: 30.9-cubic feet
Seats down: 59.6-cubic feet
Towing Capacity: 2,000-pounds
Mileage: 23-city 29-highway, 26 average mpg.