Mazda CX-5 best-seller crossover remade for Generation 2.0

2017, Mazda, CX-5

Mazda's all-new 2017 CX-5 -- a 5-door and 5-seat crossover utility vehicle in the compact class -- represent a second generation for the Mazda best-seller.

Mazda's product designers devised a more rigid chassis for the vehicle with a lower center of gravity. Stretched front/rear tread width, wrapped the unibody structure in a chiseled and edgy sheet metal package, filled the passenger compartment with more delicate materials like Lux Suede and optional supple leather, then honed the powertrain to a direct-injected SKYACTIV-G engine that boosts output yet delivers high-scoring fuel economy figures.

Mazda produces the 2017 CX-5 hatchback wagon in three trim grades (Sport, Touring, Grand Touring) with each available in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive traction mode and packing a punchy SKYACTIV-G 4-in-line engine plus a smooth SKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed electronic automatic transaxle with manual shift mode.

The 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G 4-cylinder engine -- outfitted with dual overhead cams and variable valve timing -- musters 187 hp at 6000 rpm with 185 lb-ft of torque at 3250 rpm.

EPA fuel economy figures for the 2.5-liter engine in front-wheel-drive configuration climb to 24 mpg for city driving and up to 31 mpg on the highway. Add optional all-wheel-drive traction, and the EPA numbers come to 23/30 mpg (city/highway).

With the electronically controlled AWD system, various sensors at the wheels direct control modules to automatically distribute the engine's torque between front and rear wheels as warranted by pavement traction situations. All power flows to the front wheels when driving on dry pavement, but when traction degrades on wet or icy surfaces, the intelligent system can divert up to 50 percent of the power to turn rear wheels and stabilize the vehicle.

Mazda stocks the CX-5 with vital independent suspension elements (front MacPherson low-friction struts and a rear multi-link) then adds the electronic G-Vectoring Control proactive stability control system to enhance handling, along with Dynamic Stability Control.

The 2017 CX-5 appeared long and broad but planted snuggly on wheels that run up to 19 inches in diameter. Its overall length clicks over 179 inches, and the wheelbase stretches to 106.2 inches.

Sleek aero styling seems lean and aggressive with swoopy exterior lines spread across a broad structure and bulbous arched fenders protruding beyond a short roll of the front hood to articulate low-profile tires (base 17-inch 225/65R17 all-season or top-trim 19-inch 225/55R19 all-season) mounted on aluminum alloy wheels.

The aggressive prow houses a chrome-ringed pentagonal grille and integrated signature wing plus narrow headlight clusters with adaptive front-lighting system and auto-leveling bi-xenon lamps standard on top-trim CX-5 Grand Touring. A raked windshield flows over the roofline that tapers toward a curt hatchback tail, seeming like a sporty coupe due to the muted outline of rear cabin doors.

The passenger compartment contains sculpted front seats, and a 3-seat rear bench split 40-20-40 into fold-flat sections. The aft cargo bay, accessible via tail-side liftgate, includes 30.9 cubic feet of stow space with rear seatbacks up but expands to 59.6 cubic feet with rear seatbacks down.

CX-5 Sports edition comes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, variable intermittent windshield wipers. A pushbutton starter, air conditioning, cruise control, black cloth fabric seat upholstery. Power controls for windows and mirrors and door locks, plus the Mazda Connect infotainment kit with Commander control and a 7-inch color touchscreen display with AM/FM/HD radio, a backup camera, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a pair of USB ports.

CX-9 Touring model piles on more gear like auto-leveling LED headlights, Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry, Blind Spot Monitoring. Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, dual-zone climate controls, heated front seats, 6-way power controls for the driver's seat, leatherette seat surfaces with Lux Suede inserts, leather-bound steering wheel, and shifter handle, reclining rear bench seat and rear USB ports.

CX-5 Grand Touring adds 19-inch wheels and the adaptive front-lighting system, LED foglamps plus LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers, and heated exterior mirrors, leather seat upholstery, 8-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support and SiriusXM satellite radio service.

Mazda's MSRP figures for the 2017 CX-5 stretch from $24,045 (Sport/FWD) to $30,695 (Grand Touring/AWD).

By Bob Plunkett

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Images of the 2017, Mazda CX-5

2017 CX-5 side view at night
2017 CX-5 side view at night
2017 CX-5 instrument panel
2017 CX-5 instrument panel
2017 CX-5 front row
2017 CX-5 front row
2017 CX-5 rear taillight
2017 CX-5 rear taillight