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  • 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

    Posted on July 5th, 2017 ninarussin

    Redesigned compact crossover with enhanced performance

    By Nina Russin

    2017 Mazda CX-5

    2017 Mazda CX-5

    Mazda’s redesigned compact crossover builds off the original formula as a practical, yet fun-to-drive vehicle with new performance, active safety and convenience features. The base front-wheel drive model starts at $24,045 excluding destination. Nothing in that price range can out-class it. The CX-5 is a fuel-efficient, peppy vehicle with exceptionally good ride and handling with an interior versatile enough to meet the needs of buyers with active lifestyles.

    The top-of-the-line Grand Touring all-wheel drive model starts at $30,695. Standard convenience features include keyless start, 19-inch alloy rims, heated side mirrors, LED headlamps, fog lamps and daytime running lamps, leather upholstery, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, eight-way power driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bose audio system, Bluetooth interface, heated front seats, navigation and more.

    Options on the test car add a cargo mat, special exterior color, cargo area cover, driver’s seat memory, six-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, heads-up display and windshield wiper deicers. Final MSRP is $34,085.

    Test drive in Phoenix, Arizona

    2017 Mazda CX-5

    2017 Mazda CX-5

    At the height of the Phoenix summer, temperatures in the valley often climb into the one-teens. This week they reached 120 and beyond. I was curious to see how the CX-5’s drivetrain and air conditioning system would do in such extreme weather.

    The drivetrain was an absolute win. A 2.5-liter engine rated at 187-horsepower with 185 pound-feet of peak torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission does a wonderful job of providing power off-the-line as well as excellent fuel economy: up to 29 miles-per-gallon on the highway. Mazda’s Skyactiv technology utilizes enhancements throughout the rolling chassis ranging from high-compression engines to active grille shutters to garner the best fuel economy possible while remaining invisible to the driver.

    2017 Mazda CX-5

    2017 Mazda CX-5

    While the car’s air conditioning compressor probably works fine under more normal conditions, it was not up to the task of cooling down the interior in extreme heat. When I utilized the automatic mode, the car was uncomfortably warm. The only fix was to turn the fan on the highest setting: not especially comfortable either but at least cool. Not having spoken with the engineers, my guess is that the compressor is on the small side to maintain good gas mileage. The larger the compressor, the more drain on the engine.

    Steering response, suspension and braking are all wins. Engineers boosted the chassis’ rigidity through-the-use-of high strength steel. That combined with new torque vectoring technology gives the CX-5 excellent handling, with all-wheel drive sending engine power to the wheels with the best traction. Unlike some competitors, Mazda equips its compact crossover with a four-wheel independent suspension. Four-wheel disc brakes stop the CX-5 in firm, linear fashion.

    2017 Mazda CX-5

    2017 Mazda CX-5

    The heads-up display gives the driver essential information about speed and traffic signals in the windshield, making it easier for him to keep his eyes on the road.

    A standard rearview camera projects a wide-angle view to the back of the car when the driver shifts into reverse, eliminating blind spots around the rear pillars and under the rear glass. Radar cruise control maintains a preset following distance, so owners can enjoy the fuel economy benefits of cruise control in dense urban traffic.

    Visibility around the perimeter is good. Blind spot monitoring illuminates LED signals in the side mirrors when vehicles in adjacent lanes pass through the driver’s blind spots. The Mazda system works very well, with no ‘false’ signals at when the driver stops in a double-wide left turn lane.

    Engineers did a good job of minimizing engine, road and wind noise intrusion to the interior, so passengers can easily converse on the highway or enjoy the standard audio system.

    Versatile interior

    With seating for up to five passengers and a fold-flat second-row seat, the CX-5 works well for small families as well as buyers with active lifestyles who need interior space to stash bicycles and other large gear. Keyless entry saves the driver for fumbling for the key fob after dark, while a power liftgate makes it easier to load up the back. The car’s low lift-over height will appeal to smaller drivers.

    I found the power driver’s seat easy to adjust with ample lower lumbar support for longer drives. Climate and infotainment controls are easy to reach from either front seating position and intuitive to operate.

    The Bose surround-sound audio system produces excellent sound quality. I listened to the local classical music channel (HD), and was impressed with the quality of the sound for acoustic instruments: something that tends to get corrupted by compressed digital files.

    With the rear seats in place the CX-5 has plenty of room for luggage, groceries and small camping equipment. With second-row seats folded flat the cargo bay is large enough to stash a road bike with the front wheel removed.

    Standard safety

    The Mazda CX-5 comes with six airbags, antilock brakes, traction and stability control, hill start assist, daytime running lamps, tire pressure monitoring, rearview camera with rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, lane departure alert and assist and 24-hour roadside assistance.

    Mazda builds the CX-5 in its Hiroshima, Japan assembly plant.

    Like: A stylish versatile compact crossover with a peppy engine and excellent fuel economy.

    Dislike: Air conditioner could not keep the car cool in extreme heat.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Mazda
    Model: CX-5 Grand Touring AWD
    Year: 2017
    Base price: $30,685
    As tested: $34,085
    Horsepower: 187 HP @ 6000 rpm
    Torque: 185 lbs.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 23/29 mpg city/highway

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