The 2017 Mazda CX-5’s door handles obtained their own design study. They got their own graphs, maths, and a team of individuals scientifically analyzing how humans interact with them. There was an entire stir. And yet, you look at them consecutive with their predecessors, a Spockian eyebrow reaching to the stars, and wonder what all the fuss was about.
But apparently they are better. They are also perfectly illustrative of the whole effort to re-engineer and improve Mazda’s best-selling model. At first, the 2017 Mazda CX-5 appears like a smart development of its well-loved predecessor – there is sexier styling, a more premium cabin, and extra features, however the dimensions and engine specs look awfully similar.
It certainly seems like one of those “the previous car’s great, let’s not overthink the new one” redesigns. Except it’s not. Dig deeper and you will see simply how much meticulous work – from the door handles to the throttle response – went into making the new CX-5 a crossover that thoroughly trounces the majority of its competition. Take the efforts to make it quieter.
Mazda CX-5 Description
According to Mazda’s internal measurements, the sound-quelling enhancements made for the CX-5’s 2016 refresh already made it one of the quietest compact SUVs on the market. That apparently wasn’t adequate. To what looks like an absurd degree, Mazda’s engineers obsessionally examined every nook, cranny, corner, and crevice to sniff out noise and eliminate it.
Gaps were filled, insulation was injected, seals were added, air was redirected, glass was double glazed, and carpet replaced plastic coverings. It might appear that the Society of Persnickety Engineers is well delineated at Mazda HQ. The steering and suspension did not see big changes. Rather, Coleman and friends enacted more fine-tooth-comb enhancements intended to better road holding, increase comfort, and reduce vibration.
One is Mazda’s G-Vectoring technology. We’ve previously gone into great detail about it, so simply put, you turn the wheel and the car imperceptibly reduces just enough torsion from the engine to subtly send weight forward (as much as ten pounds) onto the front wheels. This improves steering response, reduces excessive input, and therefore makes you a better and smoother driver. This is not a night-and-day upgrade, however every little bit counts to Mazda.
Mazda CX-5 Performance
The seats were designed using NASA information to supply an ideal body position, and in practice, the Grand touring trim provides ample eight-way power adjustability for even tall drivers. The steering wheel was also scientifically redesigned to suit in your hands better. Much like the whole driving experience, sitting behind the wheel just feels right. Well, not entirely.
The 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder, itself a product of Mazda’s no-stone-left-unturned engineering approach, remains the only engine choice for now. Apart from that throttle improvement and some other fiddly enhancements (edge-cut pistons! Asymetical oil rings!), the hardware carries over. It’s more than sufficient, however it’s an absolute shame that the marshmallow Subaru Forester can be had with 250 Horsepower and the CX-5 is stuck with 187.
A vehicle this nice to drive deserves something more exciting and the Skyactiv-D diesel engine coming this fall will not change that. At least there is the smart six-speed automatic, which Mazda quite merrily stuck to. Adding a lot of ratios results in “shifting gears every time you touch the throttle” and a CVT would be, um, terrible.
So, sticking with the six-speed and opting for right-now throttle response were choices made for performance with the knowledge that class-best fuel economy would not be possible. In fact, it’s down a bit. With front-wheel drive, you will be looking at twenty four mpg city and thirty one highway. All-wheel drive drops it to 23/29.
Mazda CX-5 Price
That falls short of the Honda CR-V’s best-in-class numbers, however it’s still corresponding to competitors that employ small-displacement turbo engines (Ford Escape) or a CVT (Subaru Forester). Except, you will not be paying premium costs. The loaded Grand touring you see here will hit the register at $32,525 complete with new options like auto led headlights, full-speed adaptive cruise control, a low-speed automatic braking system, a power liftgate, and two extra USB ports in back.
A comparably equipped CR-V touring trim would be about $1,000 more. The range-topping RAV4 is about $35,000, and you cannot even get that with real leather. One omission from the CX-5 is Apple CarPlay and android automobile support, although Mazda says they will arrive eventually and can be applied retroactively to already-sold cars.
So, the 2017 CX-5 does not possess big, headline-grabbing changes. Instead, there are a multitude of smaller, often imperceptible tweaks that add up to a much better vehicle. It will not be for everyone, however there’ll be those for whom it is a no-brainer. Plus, it has swell door handles.