Reviews

2017 Mazda CX-5 Walk Around


The CX-5 is the most eye-catching crossover its size on the road. It doesn’t look boxy at all. It quietly screams style, especially in white.

The changes for 2017 are subtle. The front pillars are pushed back and inch, and the shoulders reach back farther. The grille gets mesh to replace chrome bars; it’s a rounded trapezoid that’s bold but not in your face, reaching to the LED headlamps. More improvement in the looks from thinner black cladding, and smaller rear taillamps.

The CX-5 pulls off the formerly impossible, to make a crossover look like it’s moving when it’s standing still. There’s a slim chrome boomerang under the windows to accelerate the flow. Mazda’s lead designer in America, Julian Montousse, gets a byline. He calls his approach purity through intensification.

Interior

The CX-5 interior closely follows that of the grander CX-9. Little things like the cleaner lighting, improved steering wheel, and the shift lever moved back two inches closer to a natural position for the driver’s hand. But mostly it’s the newfound silence. The cabin is as quiet as a Lexus. This is Mazda’s response to owners’ complaints about noise and harshness in the prior CX-5. Nasty road noise is gone, zapped, smothered with attention, and 100 pounds of insulation.

There’s a little more shoulder room in the rear, thanks to a slightly wider track. The rear doors open wider. And thanks to scalloping in the back of the front seats, there’s enough legroom for a six-footer in the rear, although three of them might get a bit tight. The rear seat reclines, another feature new for 2017. Behind the rear seat, there’s 31 cubic feet of storage, and 60 cubic with the rear folded flat. That’s a bit less than competitors including the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Subaru Forester.

The pushed-back A pillars allow better visibility from the driver’s seat, and better ergonomics because the armrests could be raised to a more natural position.

The 7.0-inch touchscreen sits atop the dash, a bit too far away, and reflects smudges. There’s also a controller in the center console, an infotainment knob, but it’s a bit hard to grip. The touchscreen resolution is sharper in 2017, but the infotainment system remains finicky. Things like like programming presets or entering destinations take more touches than they need. In general, Mazda’s takes a Spartan approach to infotainment.

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