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2017 Mazda CX-5 John Heilig Review

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Note To Senior Drivers:The 2017 Mazda CX-5 was not ranked In The Top 25 New Cars For Senior Drivers Consumer Report (July 2017 Edition):

By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

ENGINE: 2.5-liter I-4
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with sport mode
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 187 hp @ 6,000 rpm/185 lb.-ft. @ 3,250 rpm
WHEELBASE: 106.2 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 179.1 x 72.5 x 66.1 in.
TIRES: P225/55R19
CARGO CAPACITY: 30.9/59.6 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 23 mpg city/29 mpg highway/21.1 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 15.3 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,655 lbs.  #/HP: 19.5
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Volkswagen Tiguan, Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Escape
STICKER: $34,380 (includes $940 delivery, $2,745 options)
BOTTOM LINE:  From its striking red exterior to its overall fine performance, the Mazda CX-5 is the class of the small sport utility segment. 

The first thing you notice about the new Mazda CX-5 is the color, “Soul Red Crystal Metallic.” It’s a modern version of Candy Apple Red and was created for the car’s introduction at the LA Auto Show in 2017. The color serves to highlight the CX-5’s new body. It consists of three layers - a dark base coat, vibrant red, and a clear coat. Most men we asked said they liked the color, but my wife disagreed. After Soul Red Metallic, Mazda created Machine Gray Metallic, with aluminum flakes in the paint. Besides the color, the CX-5 is also equipped with some interesting modifications. Take something as simple as the shade in the cargo area. All manufacturers that I know of have the scroll end of the shade attached to the rear of the back seats, or nearby on the wheel wells. You then pull it out and attach it in receivers on the sides. The CX-5, however, attaches the receiver end of the shade to the hatch. Once it’s installed, you don’t have to worry about it and it doesn’t get in the way when you’re stowing cargo.

Standard on the CX-5 is a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine rated at 187 horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque driving all the wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission with a sport mode. The engine offered good, smooth power. We used the sport mode on our favorite hillclimb and it may have increased performance somewhat, but the AT worked just as well. Mazda claims more than 250 improvements in the new CX-5. The chassis is 15 percent stiffer, the suspension is revised and there is improved sound insulation. 

The end product is a compliant ride that is comfortable on long trips or short hops to the supermarket. The heated front seats are comfortable. In our tester they were white or very light grey, which might get dirty. The Grand Touring model has parchment leather seat surfaces.

Rear seats have good leg room. The CX-5 is classified as a small SUV, but it is at the upper end of small. The rear seats are also heated. The rear seat backs fold easily to increase cargo capacity. However, we fit my golf bag in the trunk without having to lower the seat backs, and we probably could have fit three more there.

The power rear hatch opens with the key fob, a button on the dash, or simply with the hatch handle.  Mazda has an interesting infotainment screen, which is located in a pod at the top of the dash. We found that tuning there audio system was unique. We used our iPhone for a music source most of the time, but we switched to FM at one time (XM wasn’t available). Tuning to find an FM station was easy with a “dial” that appears on the infotainment screen. 

Interior storage consists of a deep center console/arm rest that had a 12-volt plug and a pair of USB plugs. There are two more USB plugs in the small console between the rear seats. 

Safety features included a blind spot warning and a lane departure warning that vibrated the wheel slightly whenever you “strayed’ off the straight and narrow. 

Ride quality is very good in the CX-5 with a near-silent ride accompanied by a smooth suspension. Mazda evidently put a great deal of effort into the CX-5’s redesign and succeeded.

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