Reviews

2017 Mazda CX-5 Introduction

The Mazda CX-5 crossover is redesigned for 2017, quieter and better looking inside, and slightly more stylish outside. Too many details to mention, so many small things improved. Mazda goes about improvement properly and effectively.

The 2.5-liter engine is tweaked and retuned, now mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission (the manual has been dropped), with front- or all-wheel drive.

And there’s a high-mileage 2.2-liter turbodiesel coming later in the year, to compete with the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox diesel, GMC Terrain, and the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. It could be a race in rarified air between these four, to 40 mpg.

The revised 2.5-liter engine makes 187 horsepower, just three more horsepower than before, with 185 pound-feet of torque. Mazda says it’s sharper. We agree that the performance is sharp, plus the steering is precise, probably partly because the chassis is stiffer, with more high-strength steel. But maybe more because the 2017 has Mazda’s brake-based torque vectoring system that shifts torque to outside wheels in corners. In fact, it’s the most fun we’ve ever had in a compact crossover, having tested competitors including the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Subaru Forester.

The 2017 model is about 100 pounds heavier, all of that weight coming in sound-deadening material. It’s fairly small, even for a compact, with a wheelbase of 106.3 inches and overal length of 179.1. It has less room inside than competitors like the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue.

Fuel mileage is 24 miles per gallon city, 31 highway, and 27 combined with front-wheel drive, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The new CX-5 hasn’t been crash-tested yet, but last year it was a Top Safety Pick+ of the insurance industry’s IIHS, and this year it has stiffer roof pillars.

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