If it ain’t broke, do not repair it, goes the outdated saying. Whenever you’ve obtained a successful method, it is often not a good suggestion to go twiddling with issues, lest you unintentionally destroy a wonderfully good factor.
Clearly no one instructed Mazda this. The Mazda CX-5 was solely simply launched in 2012 and has quickly risen to develop into the best-selling mannequin in Mazda’s lineup. Over time, Mazda continually tweaked this small SUV’s method, giving it a number of revisions, facelifts and midyear refreshes. And now, simply 5 years post-launch, Mazda debuts the CX-5’s second era.
Has Mazda’s fixed revising watered down the 2017 Mazda CX-5’s successful method or has messing with success left the SUV higher than earlier than?
The 2017 CX-5 is simply the second era of Mazda’s small SUV, but it surely advantages from many revisions and advances made on earlier mannequin years.
In 2016, the launch of Mazda’s CX-9 SUV was additionally the launch of the automaker’s “Mazda Premium” initiative. The automaker is stepping its sport up, hoping to distinguish from its conventional competitors by providing extra premium autos with higher interiors, supplies, consolation and a focus to element. The brand new CX-5 is the second within the lineup to get the “Mazda Premium” therapy.
In comparison with the 2016.5 CX-5 that I examined final yr, this 2017 mannequin, in Grand Touring Premium trim, boasts extra snug seats, a cabin with nicer leather-based and actual stitching and even a steering wheel that Mazda reconfigured for higher consolation. The cockpit options the identical nice Mazda ergonomics that I beloved in prior CX-5s, however now the dashboard boasts an improved design that appears a category above the older cabin, with new metallic accents and a powerful horizontal theme.
What you’ll be able to’t see within the footage is the ridiculous consideration to element that Mazda dropped at noise discount. That very same obsessive nature that led its engineers to cut back weight by shaving wire harnesses on the MX-5 roadster has been utilized to chasing pointless decibels within the CX-5’s cabin. A little bit of carpet right here, a seam crammed there, door seals improved, physique gaps diminished — dozens and dozens of tweaks had been made with the end result being that the CX-5’s cabin is noticeably quieter at freeway speeds.
This crossover SUV additionally options higher accessible tools, together with an influence liftgate, auto-leveling LED headlamps and a full head-up show (HUD) that places speedometer, velocity restrict knowledge pulled from the brand new site visitors signal recognition system, navigation and extra data proper within the driver’s sight-line.
The exceptional HUD turned an integral data supply whereas I drove the CX-5, with clear and helpful graphics projected straight on the windshield. Past automobile velocity and turn-by-turn instructions, it additionally popped up a cease signal icon when when the automotive’s digital camera detected an precise cease signal forward. The HUD confirmed blind spot alerts as nicely, so I did not even want to show my head to know if one other automotive was within the subsequent lane over.
The CX-5’s head-up show not solely present velocity and route steering, however consists of blind-spot alerts.
That blind-spot monitor consists of rear cross-traffic alert when reversing at low speeds, and is a part of Mazda’s i-ActivSense suite of driver support applied sciences — the total vary of which is on the market on the CX-5.
The suite additionally consists of adaptive cruise management that works in low-speed site visitors, a ahead pre-collision alert with computerized emergency braking, and lane departure warning with lane holding help.
The engine bay hasn’t modified a lot for this second era, however the accessible choices have been pared down. Gone is the outdated 2.Zero-liter with handbook transmission base mannequin combo; Mazda’s 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine with customary six-speed computerized transmission is now the one mixture accessible for the North American CX-5 at launch (Mazda guarantees a diesel model in a while.)
The two.5-liter’s output hasn’t modified a lot. It is now rated at 187 peak horsepower — a modest acquire of simply three ponies — and the identical 185 pound-feet of torque. Mazda claims barely higher throttle response for the brand new mannequin however, whereas the accelerator pedal did have a handy guide a rough really feel, I did not discover an excessive amount of of a distinction on the highway. The two.5-liter is as full of life because it’s ever been and that is an excellent factor.
The CX-5 will be had in each front-wheel- and all-wheel-drive, the latter of which I drove. Though all-wheel drive would give me a bit extra confidence on slippery roads, the CX-5 would not have any driver management over the system, resembling a locking differential.
The EPA’s estimates put the brand new CX-5’s financial system at 24 metropolis, 31 freeway and 27 mixed mpg for the front-driven fashions and 23 metropolis, 30 freeway and 26 mixed mpg for fashions geared up with all-wheel drive. I managed a median of 25 mpg, nearly hitting the EPA quantity.
The aforementioned enhancements to noise discount and numerous different generational modifications have left the brand new CX-5 a bit over 100 kilos heavier than the outgoing mannequin — certain to boost some eyebrows amongst Mazda featherweight purists — however you would be onerous pressed to note the extra mass from behind the wheel.
Mazda does positive work on the CX-5’s cabin, particularly in making it quieter.
The largest change from the earlier mannequin is a way more supple trip. I personally did not thoughts the outdated CX-5’s agency trip, however lots of its patrons did. So, Mazda has softened the trip to take in bumps higher. The CX-5 now rides smoother and, after all, transmits much less highway noise into the cabin.
Curiously, the steering nonetheless feels unbelievable and the dealing with is participating regardless of the softening of the trip. That is partially resulting from firmer mounting factors for the steering rack and suspension for higher management and a few rejiggering of the geometry to account for the softer suspension bits.
Mazda has additionally added its G-Vectoring Management to the listing of the CX-5’s customary options. Consider it as a kind of proactive stability management aimed toward bettering efficiency. It pulls off all types of methods like barely dipping engine torque simply as you begin cornering to shift weight onto the entrance wheels and enhance preliminary responsiveness. It is adequately subtle that I by no means seen it working and, together with the bodily tweaks, helps hold the brand new, softer CX-5 feeling enjoyable on a twisty little bit of highway.
The maps within the CX-5’s infotainment system look good, however its lack of linked options places it behind a lot of the competitors.
Let’s not sugar coat this bitter capsule. The Mazda Join infotainment system within the middle of the dashboard simply is not superb. It is navigation is sweet sufficient to get from level A to B and its easy interface is purposeful, however as Mazda pushes the CX-5 upmarket into extra premium competitors, it is simply not going to chop it anymore.
The maps within the navigation system look good, even exhibiting 3D-rendered buildings in city areas. However the lack of on-line vacation spot search is a strike in opposition to the CX-5 within the more and more linked automotive world. Distinctive to Mazda, nevertheless, is the inclusion of pink mild and velocity cameras within the map database, with the automotive truly giving me a warning after I approached an intersection geared up with a red-light digital camera.
The CX-5 is lacking options resembling Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which may simply fill the digital media gaps in a low-distraction means and immediately enhance the navigation expertise. I am holding my fingers crossed for a midcycle refresh or software program replace that steps up the dashboard tech.
Small SUVs have confirmed to be very fashionable, so the CX-5 faces heavy competitors.
For this second era, the brand new “Mazda Premium” CX-5 goals to punch means above it is conventional class. Mazda benchmarked its small SUV in opposition to the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Lexus NX, and comes out trying fairly good. Positive, the BMW and Audi trounce the Mazda’s pitiful tech choices, however the cabin consolation and on-road really feel is not too far off the mark. The Lexus, specifically, had finest watch its again.
That mentioned, I do not suppose too many entry-level luxurious and premium patrons can be cross-shopping Mazda with these luxurious manufacturers — the badge on the grille simply would not carry the identical cache. For now, nevertheless, relative to conventional rivals such because the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, the CX-5 finds itself in a significantly better place than earlier than and is a a lot stronger competitor.
The 2017 Mazda CX-5 goes for a base value of $24,045 earlier than the vacation spot charge. Nonetheless, my love for the HUD propels my trim alternative all the best way to the highest, the Grand Touring trim priced at $29,395. Because the HUD solely comes as a part of a further $1,830 Premium bundle, the whole with vacation spot runs to $32,760. Add $1,300 for all-wheel drive.
If I may do with out the HUD, probably the most wise choice is the Touring trim, at $25,915 earlier than vacation spot. Including the I-ActiveSense bundle for a paltry $625 brings in adaptive cruise management and lane holding help, making it a snug automotive for highway journeys. Surprisingly, Mazda would not allow you to additionally select its Most well-liked Tools bundle along side I-ActiveSense, which might add navigation and upgraded audio, so stick with the smartphone for navigation. That places a CX-5 Touring mannequin at a complete of $27,480 with vacation spot. Once more, add $1,300 for all-wheel drive.
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