Mazda CX-5 Test Drive

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 I think the Mazda CX-5 went from looking fine (previous generation) to looking great. (Current model)
It really is one of the best looking SUVs out there. At any price.

Sure, it is basically the newest in its class. (Besides the CR-V). So we’ll have to see what Toyota, Kia, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan and others come up with next.

For now, I really think the CX-5 sits at the top of the design food chain.

 Same thing inside. Just look at it.

The interior is a huge improvement over the previous generation. And pretty much beats anything else out there for the price. (As well as many other more expensive models)

Everything looks and feels great and upscale.
The overall feel of the interior is very relaxing. It is very mature design, and it looks like everything has been well thought out.
The seats are very comfortable. The sunroof is actually quite large.
And very useful, since its opening starts ahead of the front passengers sitting position. (Many actually start so far backward they are useless)

 One thing I wasn’t too crazy about wis the lack of Apple CarPlay. And the Mazda infotainment system requires you to go through menus that are just not as easy to navigate was an iPhone.
But I have to say, I was fine with it by the second day.

Also, this is not a touch screen. At least not 100%. It is when the car isn’t moving. As soon as you start going, the touch function is disable and you have to use the controls on the console.

Again, something I got used to.

 The sound from the Bose system on the model I was driving was pretty great.
Although, like with all other Bose car systems, not super loud.

 There are plenty of wonderful details like these around the interior.

This really feels like the interior of a premium brand. (Much nicer than the A4 wagon I drove last year for a few days. A car that was over $10 000 more than the Mazda)

 Back seat room is fine. Not as much as a large sedan of course. But this is a car that is just a little bit shorter than a Honda Civic.

 The grand Touring model even comes with rear seat haters. That foldable armrest also came with its own USB plug.

 Plenty or room in the truck, even with the rear seats up.

 And with the seats down, there is even room for my old walking shoes…

As you can see, the new CX-5 is quite popular. (over 112 000 of them were sold last year in the US)

The first thing I noticed is how quiet the CX-5 is.
The 2.5 Liter engine is pretty much always super quiet and smooth. (and basically silent when cruising on the freeway.)

The CX-5 AWD I was driving was rated at 23/29 MPG.
I got between 22 and 26 in the City.
But had no problem achieving over 36MPG on the freeway. So the official numbers are actually very conservative.

The ride is very solid and smooth. It, again, feels like a more expensive car.
The steering is excellent. Not like the over boosted feel you get in most cars this days.
It does have a real feel to it. This is a fun car to drive around.

The transmission is very quick to react when you want more power. Otherwise shifts are invisible.
There is also a “sport” mode on the console. Which does affect the shifting quite a bit. By holding the gears much longer.
But I couldn’t really tell much difference in the suspension or steering settings. (And truly, the steering does not need a sportier setting. It is just great the way it is.)

When I posted that I was driving a CX-5 for the week, lots of people were asking me about the power.
Many seem to complain that it is too slow (most of these complains I am sure come from people reading reviews and not actually driving the car)

In the 7 days I had the car, I was a few times by myself. Most of the time I had another passager. And a few times I had 4 people on board. I drove city, freeway. Up hill and down hill.
And I never felt it didn’t have enough power.

It never ever felt slow. So I am really not sure what people are talking about here. I know many journalists love to compare everything to their beloved BMWs,(which are NOT the “ultimate driving machines” by the way) and they take everything on a track.
I don’t.

I try to drive cars like real owners would.
And for that mission, the Mazda CX-5 always had enough power.

I know the Mazda6 sedan is getting a turbo option for 2018. And many hope the CX-5 might follow suit.
It might. Why not. But it is really not needed.
And if they ever offer it, I am pretty sure few people will pay the extra cash for it.

There is also a very nice and useful head display as part of the Premium  package.
It even knows local speed limits. And stop signs!

I really enjoyed spending a week with the Mazda CX-5. And I highly recommend it.
A quiet, roomy, comfortable and great looking SUV. All at an affordable price.

The top of the line Grand Touring AWD starts at $30 695.
Mine had a $1830 premium package that added memory settings for the driver seat, power passenger seat, heated rear seats and the “active driving display”.
(You can also save around $1200 by getting the FWD version)

Find out more about the CX-5 HERE. And price all different versions HERE.

Conversation 13 comments

  1. Except for a color that sucks and the usual typos and grammar issues, nice SUV and pretty good review. And, yes Vince, it needs more power. What is adequate is subjective. But, it is not good for Mazda’s image to offer just one engine under 200 ponies. One size does not fit all.

  2. This would be on my list if I decide to get rid of my wagon. It's a cool blue they gave you for testing. I do think they need to add the 250 hp engine as an option. Also would like to see Mazda have an interior color option besides black and ivory. I understand they are not a large company with a lot of flexibility.

    BTW, I've gotten used to your 'gramatical and speling erors' it just adds to the charm after all these years I've followed your blog.

  3. I recently had one as a loaner, while my takata airbags were being replaced. It was only a touring model, but still looked and drove great. I was very impressed. My daughter was begging me to buy it.

  4. After owning a 2016 Rav4, and trading a 2017 Honda CRV for a white on white 2017 CX5 GT, I can say that the CX5 is an amazing vehicle.
    I agree with some of your negatives like to apple play. Also, you cannot shut off the radio, just muted, WHY MAZDA WHY?
    Super quite, low road noise.I think the CX5 is fun to drive, decent power and excellent handling.
    I owned the vehicle for about six months now, and I only noticed the lack of power when going around 60 or so MPH and trying to accelerate to archive more power like passing a vehicle.
    Decent Bose system too.
    I'll buy one with a diesel engine (rumors going on for a long time now) but not sure if there ever will be a release one in the US.
    I also had a 2016 CX5 and the 2017 is a total different animal.
    IMO, it drives better than the CRV, RAv4, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage. I drove them or owned those models so I feel confident in my opinion.

  5. Great to hear from owners!

    I think Mazda was waiting for their diesel to offer it as a "sporty" option on the Mazda6 and others.
    Now it looks like that diesel will never happen. So now they are free to extent the availability of the 2.5 Turbo. Which is an option on the 2018 Mazda6.
    I will try to find out more from the Mazda press people at the Auto Show

  6. Great to hear from owners? Are you kidding me Vince? He owned 2016 RAV4, 2017 CRV,, then 2017 CX5 GT, and finally (I am out of breath) a 2016 CX5. The guy works for Mazda. He is selling his BS here by giving you a minor negative as a way to prove his “objectivity.”

  7. They are supposed to be adding Apple CarPlay before much longer and making it available for older vehicles with the Mazda Connect system (with the screen and knob controller).

    I believe the Sport mode is the same as in my 2016, in that it just changes the transmission shift points. Nothing related to the suspension or anything else is connected to it. It does make a big difference, though. I often use it when entering a freeway for some extra zip and it is extremely responsive.

  8. I'm glad to read this, I will have to change my car soon (lease is ending) and I'm considering two small crossovers. I know they are in totally different leagues but this CX-5 (this is one of my options) looks great and luxurious and would save me some $$. The other option is a Volvo XC-60 if you are curious.

  9. 9.52 AM, there is no way you are considering the Volvo and the Mazda, and that is because you cannot afford the former…Keep selling Mazdas though. God job, if you are curious…

  10. I've had mine since April and I'm overall impressed. Center console arrangement and storage could be a little better and I wish there were physical buttons to configure certain options instead of having to dig in the menu on the infotainment screen. (Mazda isn't the only company that does this)
    Very quiet and refined interior. I've yet to have any issues with the Ivory leather staining from clothing, etc.
    I also wish Mazda would have included all illuminated power window switches with all auto up/down on at least the Grand Touring. They already have this on the Mazda6 (and CX5 in other world markets)so this was an obvious penny pinching move.

  11. Anonymous 2:54 PM, I don't work for any car company and currently own a 2015 Hyundai Genesis, that pays more than what a XC60 will pay because I was upside down when I traded my previous car for it so guess what, yes I can afford it! And truth is that I've never ever owned a Mazda but I read excellent reviews of their cars everywhere. I don't get paid by any car maker to do any PR work for them and I haven't even said that this CX-5 is good,once again I am thinking about it because I've read excellent reviews (same with the Volvo, I've read excellent reviews). Now, I can say that the Genesis is an excellent car because I have one, I've had before a Pathfinder, a Civic, a Passat and they have all been excellent cars. So I guess now that I work for Hyundai, Nissan, Honda and VW according to your logic….

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