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2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Review By John Heilig


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...I’m not sure if it was love at first sight because of the color and redesign, or the fact that it’s a darned good vehicle.

THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Altantic Bureau
The Auto Chnanel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

ENGINE: 2.5-liter I-4

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 187 hp @ 6,000 rpm/185 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm

WHEELBASE: 106.3 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 179.1 x 72.5 x 66.2 in.

TIRES: P225/55R19

CARGO CAPACITY: 30.9/59.6 cu. ft. (behind 2nd row/1st row)

ECONOMY: 23. mpg city/29 mpg highway/20.0 mpg test

FUEL TANK: 15.3 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 3,655 lbs. #/HP: 19.5

TOWING CAPACITY: 2,000 lbs.

COMPETITIVE CLASS: Jeep Renegade, Buick Encore, Honda CR-V

STICKER: $34,388 (includes $940 delivery, $2,745 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Mazda CX-5 should be on the short list of anyone considering a small SUV or mid-size sedan.

With a redesign for 2017 and an awesome new color that resembles Candy Apple Red (it’s called Soul Red Crystal Metallic), the Mazda CX-5 is poised to be a breakout small SUV. It also qualifies as a mid-size sedan, since many of those lines are blurred these days.

Stylistically, “all SUVs look the same.” It isn’t true, of course, but there is a familial similarity. The CX-5 differentiates itself with a “Mazda family” grille and the great new color. It also seems to do what is expected of it properly, where others almost get it all done right.

Coupled with the red exterior is a black interior with heated white seats that is as striking as the outside. The front seats are comfortable with a decent amount of side support. You aren’t going racing in a CX-5, unless there’s a new class we haven’t heard of yet, but it’s nice to have that support for more sedate driving. Around the dash and doors is tasteful wood trim.

At 187 horsepower and just under 20 pounds per horsepower, there’s good oomph from the 2.5-liter four under the hood. Since our tester was the GT trim level with all-wheel drive, the power reached the wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine is very quiet most of the time, except under hard acceleration. And the combination of good sound insulation and tire choice allows little road noise to intrude into the cockpit.

The driver and front passenger face a nicely designed dash with a heads up display that has some interesting choices. For example, besides showing your speed, it also lists the speed limit on the road you’re traveling and a stop sign icon appears when you’re near one. I think the icon appears too late for serious action, but in my neighborhood there are several stop signs that are obscured by foliage, so any help in that direction is good.

The infotainment screen seems as if it was plunked down on the top of the dash. It’s in a good location and it’s clear, but it looks as if there might be a way to retract it in to the dash if it isn’t being used. I didn’t find one. The eight options on the screen are controlled with a knob on the center console. There are audio, home screen and nav choices with buttons on the console that are refined with the knob. 

Audio does require a learning curve, but it isn’t too long. We found the sound quality to be excellent, although some of the teenagers who drive by my house might carp about the more subtle bass levels we choose.

Front passengers have the requisite pair of cupholders, plus room for water bottles in the doors. There’s a deep center console/arm rest with 12-volt and two USB outlets. 

Rear seats offer good leg room. There’s even room for large drink cups in the rear doors. The pull-down arm rest has a pair of cupholders, heated seat controls and a small console for mobile phones. The rear seat backs fold easily to create a large flat cargo area. Two methods are used to lower the seats; a lever on the back of the seats themselves or seat releases in the cargo area. You open the rear hatch using the key fob or a button on the dash. Of course, you can raise or lower it manually as well. 

For safety, the CX-5 has a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross traffic alert  plus advanced front air bags, front and rear side air bags, lane departure warning that vibrated the wheel and “smart city brakes.”

There are few vehicles that I enthuse about as much as the Mazda CX-5. I’m not sure if it was love at first sight because of the color and redesign, or the fact that it’s a darned good vehicle.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate

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