BEHIND THE WHEEL: Redesigned 2017 Mazda CX-5 is all about comfort and safety


By Rita Cook

The Mazda CX-5 has always been a top performer in the brand’s lineup. Now with an all new design in 2017 it has taken the compact crossover SUV market to an even higher level of perfection.

The new improvements offer a number of additions to the already existing head turner. Consider the fact that CX-5 design has upped the styling and luxury with a more defined touch inside and out. It is important to note however, that even with the redesign the dimensions on the CX-5 do remain the same.

The competition for the 2017 Mazda CX-5 includes the Honda CR-V SUV, Toyota Rav 4 and the Ford Escape.

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 is offered in four trim levels the Sport, Touring, Grand Select and Grand Touring. All the trims come equipped with front-wheel drive, but you do get an option for all-wheel drive.

The features that come on all the CX-5 trims are the seven-inch touchscreen with Mazda’s Connect infotainment system, a backup camera and a 40/20/40-split folding backseat that reclines.

On the Sport trim you also get LED headlights, cloth upholstery, four speakers, Bluetooth and two USB ports.

The next trim level up is the Touring, which will give you more creature comforts like keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats and simulated leather upholstery with a six-way power-adjustable driver seat. There are six speakers and four USB ports and you can opt for the driver assistance features that include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

For the Grand Select trim there are 19-inch wheels, automatic turn-swiveling headlights, moonroof, power liftgate, automatic wipers, leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, auto-dimming mirrors, Bose audio system and a full navigation system.

The highest trim level on the CX-5 is the Grand Touring and it integrates all the features from the other three trims while adding more safety features like adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and mitigation, lane assist and automatic high beams.

There are additional packages for the various trims too depending on your needs. For example on the Grand Touring you can add a heated steering wheel and rear seats.

Under the hood the trims for the CX-5 are all equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder non turbocharged engine. You get 187 horsepower with 185 pound feet of torque with this engine.

In regard to CX-5 safety, last month the Mazda team announced the 2017 Mazda CX-5 had joined the Mazda lineup as a top safety pick. The compact crossover SUV earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) “Top Safety Pick+” designation in part due to the fact that various trims come equipped with front crash-prevention and specific headlight options. This distinction allows Mazda the bragging rights to be the only full-line automaker able to make such a claim.

In fact, the CX-5 has been awarded as Top Safety Pick every year since its debut in 2012. Cx-5’s standard Smart City Brake Support and the effectiveness of its standard LED headlights were both instrumental to CX-5 earning top scores in the latest, strictest additions to IIHS’s safety criteria.

So not only can you drive with ease knowing the CX-5 can keep you safe, but keep in mind this vehicle also includes the proactive safety and i-ACTIVSENSE driver-aid technologies in 2017 too. On the redesign these technology features include the Mazda Radar Cruise Control with close proximity warning, Lane Keep Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition, to help ensure a safe and confident drive.

Other safety features that you will find on the CX-5 are a variety of airbags from the driver air bag to passenger, rear, side head, rear head, side and rear body air bags. There is 4-wheel ABS as well as 4-wheel disc brakes and wheel drum brakes. Add to that front disc/rear drum brakes, child safety locks, integrated turn signal mirrors, front and rear tow hooks, traction control, an emergency trunk release and auto-leveling headlights and safety is pretty well covered.

As for the interior, the knobs and dials are easy to use and the user-friendly screen is controlled by touch. The materials used inside are soft to the touch and whether you have opted for the cloth trim variety or the higher end leather you will find an upscale feeling. Take note the Touring and Grand Touring trim levels have French-stitched padded armrests.

There is plenty of room in the front seats, but the backseat does present a challenge for tall passengers. It might also be hard for a third person to sit in the middle in the backseat.

The cargo area is not oversized, but can hold several suitcases. There is also more space when you fold the rear seats down. The cargo cover is retracting and attached to the hatch as well.

The storage bins around the interior are adequate with pockets in the doors for small items and cups or bottles. The storage space in the middle console is deep and there is a second storage space in front of the gear shift where smaller items can be stored.

Mazda owners can expect a nice comfortable ride behind the wheel of the 2017 Mazda CX-5. The noise levels even on the highway are moderate. The seats are firm and comfortable and the front seats offer side bolsters. In the back seat the reclining seats for passengers are a standout.

The overall handling when driving is impressive and you can expect a firm ride that instills driver confidence. Acceleration is not as quick as the competitors offer, but turning is easy and when taking quick turns and sharp curves you will do it with ease.

And for the price starting at $24,045 you get roughly 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway, which is not bad at all. In fact, with the Mazda’s lightweight feel and the efficient SKYACTIV Technology wrapped in the elegant KODO—Soul of Motion design the CX-5 is a safe bet on the road and when it comes to your pocketbook.

For more auto tips and information follow Rita @RitaCook13.