Imagine this, you’re a CEO of a popular and big automobile company, you have standard ‘trademark’ lineups of cars that you modernize throughout the years, and your cars keep getting sold. Over the years you build an image for the company, a sort of a trademark. You get the winning formula. After some time you get bored and decide to make a different move, unlike any other before. Do you fiddle with the formula and possibly ruin a win-win situation or you go for it?
When it comes to Mazda, they aren’t the ones who stick to that saying ‘If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.’ When Mazda launched its CX-5 in 2012, it sky-rocketed and became the best-selling model in the lineup. You’ve got the formula, what now? Well, Mazda decided to constantly tweak it, revise it, redesign certain things and are they actually still winning? Probably. This small SUV has undergone major modifications and changes and now, five years after the initial launch, it is starting its second generation.
As it stands now, Mazda’s constant changes and modifications made this car better than ever. It sure looks like it. Some say that there is a drop in popularity, but we don’t share that school of thought.
Last year the company launched Mazda CX-9. That marks the start of Mazda ‘Premium’ initiative. In order to become different and more unique from its rivals, the company stepped up their game by producing cars which are more premium. That means that you’ll get a better body, more detailed interior, fine materials and many other ‘perks’ so to say. 2017 Mazda CX-5 is the second model of the ‘Mazda Premium’ lineup.
When we compared this model with previous year’s, on the 2017 Grand Touring Premium model, you have a cabin with better leather, and real stitching, more comfortable seats and a steering wheel redesigned and improved for better comfort. When it comes to the cockpit, it is still the same, same ergonomics that were in the previous CX-5s. However, we now have a better-looking dashboard with metallic details and elegant theme.
You can’t see various things in photos, and one of those is noise reduction. Remember how engineers applied some modifications to Roadster so as to reduce noise, well, the same principle was applied to CX-5. Add a bit of carpet here and there, improve door seals, reduce body gaps, have a seat filled, shave bits, and many other ‘small’ tweaks lead to CX-5’s cabin being quite quiet at higher speeds.
Other than that, the car has better equipment. Among many great pieces of equipment, we have auto-levelling LED headlamps, power liftgate, full head-up display (HUD) that displays speed limit, speedometer, navigation and more info in your line of sight. The novelty that we liked the most was the blind-spot information system which is something that we haven’t stumbled upon prior to this car. And yes, that’s also a part of the HUD.
We mentioned the blind-spot information system; we’ll further explain what it does. That’s a sort of a monitor, it is a rear cross-traffic alert when going in reverse at low speeds. That will help you greatly when you are in a situation where you are parked, and the street is right behind you. You usually have to wait and be cautious of other vehicles, but now, the blind-spot monitor will do almost half the work for you. This feature is a part of ActivSense suite (driver aid technologies), among this one there is also forward pre-collision alert with auto braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assistant and adaptive cruise control.
SkyActiv G engine
We acquired some official words and confirmations when it comes to the engine. Say goodbye to 2.0-liter engine, this car now packs 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine with six-speed automatic transmission. This combination is the only one available in the US.
This engine will get you 187 hp, not much if we remember that the previous one had 3 horses fewer (184 hp). The torque stays the same which is 185 pound-feet. The company also mentioned that the throttle response was improved and even though the accelerator pedal had a strange feel there wasn’t much of a difference on the road. The CX-5 will be available in both variations when it comes to wheel drive. To be precise, it will be available in all-wheel variation and front-wheel variation. A diesel engine will join the lineup by the end of the year, and it will be available in the US.
The representatives of EPA came out with these estimate, economy wise the scores stand at 24 city, 31 highway and 27 combined mpg for the front-wheel-drive. All-wheel drive scores are these: 23 city, 30 highway and 26 combined mpg.
We have mentioned that company focused on noise reduction. Well, those modifications and various others resulted in CX-5 weighing about 100 to 120 pounds more than its predecessor. There are some to whom this may be a problem, but at the end of the day, you won’t feel that additional weight from behind the wheel.
What we did feel is that ride quality improved greatly. It’s a bit more tender than with the previous model. Bumps and bad roads won’t hurt anything now. The Mazda CX-5 glides through the streets smoothly and quietly.
Handling and steering feel awesome. Why? Because of the new firmer mounting points for the steering rack and suspension. That gives you better control and softer feel on the road. The company also included G-Vectoring Control feature to the list of standard features pack. Its goal is to improve performance. And it does exactly that. One of many techniques which are mind blowing is that when you corner the vehicle, it will dip the engine torque slightly in order to shift weight onto the front wheels so as to improve responsiveness. Genius, right? And you’ll never even notice that shift.
One feature that kind of didn’t meet the grade is Mazda Connect. The infotainment system just isn’t quite good. Navigation is okay; it does the job of getting you from the point A to the point B. The interface is simple and easy to learn. But if we compare this system to one of the company’s rivals it just won’t do it if you consider this car ‘premium.’ Why? Well, it’s missing features such as Android Auto, Apple CarPlay which are maybe not that big of a deal but would certainly significantly improve the navigation experience. However, perhaps they will attempt to right this wrong by releasing a software update. That could be the solution to the problem at least to some extent.
Availability and price
The Mazda CX-5 Premium is right up there among rivals such as BMW X1, Audi Q3, and Lexus NX. Even though the competition is really fierce, we believe that this car has a lot of things to show and that it should rightfully remain among those names. So, the elite league is the one to which this car belongs. Even though Audi, BMW, and Lexus will surely kill Mazda when it comes to tech specs the cabin comfort and on the road feel is where Mazda matches them.
This car will be available by the end of March. The starting price is $24,045 (excluding a $940 destination charge). Full package that is a CX-5 Grand Touring with i-Activ AWD costs $30,695 if you opt for premium package features it will set you back for another $1,830 and if you really want to go one more step further, you will have to give $595 on red crystal paint. That all means, that with all premium and best features the price will be somewhere around $34,060.