We reviewed last year’s Mazda CX-5 during our California road trip. It was one in Mazda’s 2016 lineup that we drove through the Californian tarmac and desert. As I have stated in that review, I’m not actually a fan of SUVs. However, I was surprised by how well last year’s crossover type SUV managed to combine a sedan’s stability and handling with the clearance and off-road capabilities of an actual SUV. Mazda nailed it with the CX-5 which why it became one of the brand’s bestsellers from the time that it was first introduced.
The Mazda CX-5 began its production back in 2012 for its 2013 model. During the time it was released, it had better handling and steering compared to its competition, which were the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. Mazda fully redesigned the CX-5 for 2017 while still focusing on the foundations it was built on – performance, refinement, and class. We tested the new 2017 Mazda CX-5 on our 2-week road trip in Florida by driving it all over the state. Moreover, see the improvements that have been made to this already amazing and successful product line in Mazda’s automobile arsenal.
Right off the bat, I saw a sharper and more minimalist styling on the 2017 Mazda CX-5 compared to last year’s model, especially in the nose. The headlights are noticeably slimmer. The grill has been redesigned and they added an eye-catching chrome piece at the bottom. Overall the front end looks more aggressive and intentional. The projecting top lip above the grill actually feels like it’s made of a compressible material, leading me to believe that this design improvement also hides a collision safety feature for pedestrians in the event of an impact with the front of the car. The wheels of the new CX-5 resemble last year’s model, both having the same double five-spoke design, however, the wheels of the new CX-5 have smoother contours.
The 2017 Mazda CX-5 has the same basic profile from the first generation to this updated model, but the new model has a slightly bigger and classier feel. Also, an added trim around the side windows looks chic and the overall appearance of the back of the car has been restyled to look more modern and stylish, especially the tail lights, which kind of look like the car is looking at you accusingly!
The 2017 CX-5’s interior looks and feels elegant and dynamic while having a minimalist uniformity to it. It felt like everything in there has a function but looks stylish and pleasing at the same time. The model we tested had a black interior with some nice chrome accents. I love the chrome trim on the air conditioning vents as well as the center console. Also, the higher center console gives the interior of the car a sportier vibe, countering that feeling of sitting on a platform that some SUV’s give you.
Mazda have used some really nice leather in the interior along with precise, visible stitching that feels premium. This attention to detail was followed throughout the interior, including the leather-clad steering, the gear lever and shifter boot.
Driving and Performance
It was a blast driving this updated crossover SUV from Mazda. With a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with 187 horsepower, and a six-speed automatic transmission, they did a good job on improving and refining how the 2017 CX-5 handles and performs. The quick response from the throttle and automatic transmission was pleasing and the ‘Sports mode’ had a definite effect on the gears and drivetrain. Acceleration was smooth, although it could really pin you if stepped on it! However, what I really like about the car was how it handled in the corners.
The CX-5 was handling corners like a pro, stuck to the road and maintaining a level ride throughout each one. It was quick but calm and smooth which made it perfect around town at moderate and slow speeds. This 2017 model was nimble and efficient highlighting how balanced the cars was. Stopping power was also on point, which was put to the test multiple times in one journey down the i95 out of Miami!
Mazda included driving safety aids in the CX-5 include low-speed automatic brake support, blind spot warnings in the mirrors and proximity warnings for cars in front. The braking was easy to control and perfectly matched the other specifications of the car.
Comfort and Utility
Within the first few moments upon driving the 2017 Mazda CX-5, I noticed while Kach and I were conversing, that we can barely hear any noise coming from the car and the road. Mazda put emphasis on lowering the decibels levels emanating from the vehicle, the wind outside, and the road in this updated model which was great since we can hear each other better. As with Mazda’s other models, the ergonomics on the CX-5 was terrific. It has a driver-centered seating position, which means the steering wheel, all pedals, and the controls are all squarely facing the front of the driver. This approach is an efficient way for the driver to be fully focused the road in maneuvering the vehicle. Cargo and space have been updated as well.
The CX-5 has a good cargo size for luggage and equipment but Mazda’s new model can fold flatter than before which is a godsend for better cargo management.
Other Features and Variants
The 2017 Mazda CX-5 has other cool and useful features like six airbags, a rearview camera, 7-inch center screen, push-button ignition, LED headlights, HD radio, and variable-intermittent wipers. However, Mazda offers three trim levels or variants for the 2017 CX-5 which all have an all-wheel drive option. There are the Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring options.
This is the base model which comes with 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, cloth upholstery, a four-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. If this is not cutting it for you, then you have to step up to the touring variant.
Most find the touring models as the sweet spot with added features for utility and comfort. Included are full keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats with lumbar adjustment and simulated leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable driver seat, two additional speakers and two more USB ports. It also receives additional driver assistance features such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. To add a touch of luxury, you have to shell out more cash for the Grand Touring variant.
This top-of-the-line variant adds luxury and extravagance to the table with 19-inch wheels, a power lift tailgate, automatic wipers, turn-swiveling headlights, leather upholstery, Bose audio system, and additional standard safety features. An option package for the Grand Touring adds a heated steering wheel, heated outboard rear seats, a head-up display projected onto the windscreen and a power front passenger seat.
If it’s not broken, make it even better!
The 2017 Mazda CX-5 is truly an amazing crossover SUV! From the moment it was first launched in 2013, to what it is now, Mazda has outdone themselves with refining and improving an already class-leading vehicle. We visited some incredible and memorable tourist destinations in Florida on this 2-week journey and it would not have the same level of fun, comfort, and convenience if not for the awesome 2017 Mazda CX-5 carrying through this eventful expedition.
Note: This vehicle was provided to us free of charge to review by Mazda USA, however, all opinions and ideas are our own!