2017 Mazda CX-5 Review

Written by Anqoinette Crosby

2017 Mazda CX-5 Overview

The 2017 Mazda CX -5 crossover sport utility vehicle exudes an ultra hip and modern vibe. With looks more upscale than utilitarian, I was initially reluctant to take it out during a heavy rainstorm to see the soulful Melba Moore in concert at a jazz club. As my friend and I were going back and forth about it, the clouds parted. Anxious to hear Melba, we decided the worst had passed and made a mad dash for the Mazda

Ten minutes into the 20-mile trek, the clouds unleashed an absolutely torrential downpour. A traffic mess rapidly ensued as cars swerved to avoid what appeared to be lakes of standing water on the George Washington Parkway. This is when the utility portion of the CX-5’s mission statement kicked in. While the storm hammered away outside, the Mazda mastered the dicey driving conditions flawlessly.

Happily, my CX-5 GT was blessed with Mazda’s predictive all wheel drive. The system actually “reads” the weather (yes, the system knew it was raining). It also evaluated the surface upon which the CX-5 was traveling, the speed at which it was moving and even whether it was going uphill or downhill.

Once it made those determinations, power was apportioned to the drive wheels accordingly—without any input from me, other than what I would normally do when driving a car. Knowing we had that added layer of safety working for us alleviated what could have been a lot stress on my part.

The CX-5’s more conventional safety features also made a huge difference that night. The rain-sensing windshield wipers were especially useful, as was the intermittent rear wiper, which kept the liftgate’s window crystal clear—even with all of the spray coming up from the road. Plus, freed of constantly adjusting the wipers, I could keep a firm, two-handed grip on the leather-wrapped steering wheel.

But wait, it got even better. The CX-5 GT took the safety quotient up yet another notch. Lane departure warning really came in handy because it was hard to see the lines in the blinding rainstorm. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a rear-view camera, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning were provided as well.

On the passive safety front, every accomplished driver knows seats are hugely important. The remarkably supportive eight-way power-adjustable leather-upholstered sport seat kept me perfectly positioned to see everything and its embrace provided a lot of reassurance. I do wish there were an option for ventilation though. On the hot and sticky summer days I spent with the Mazda, I missed the refreshing coolness of vented seats.

Still, the elegant cabin is both spacious and airy, helped in part by the large moonroof’s ability to admit an abundance of natural light during daylight driving. The Bose surround audio system enveloped us in sweet music while the heavens encircled the Mazda in a deluge of precipitation.

A seven-inch touchscreen provided ready access to music selections and made setting our destination exceptionally simple. I really loved the fact the interface gave me a choice of using it as a touchscreen, or effecting inputs with a rotary controller. There are times when a dial is more precise than touch, particularly on bumpy roads.

Power comes from a hearty 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission routed power to the drive wheels. Fuel economy for the all-wheel drive CX-5 is rated at 23 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway. The engine was smooth, flexible and did an admirable job of setting the CX-5 into motion—and keeping it there.

This was instrumental in the way the Mazda drove like the driver’s oriented machine it truly is. Handling was very confidence inspiring and despite its size, the CX-5 was very responsive. Mazda has a reputation for building fun to drive cars and this was well reflected in the road manners demonstrated by my 2017 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD test car.

Mazda’s product team kept day-to-day utility firmly in mind too. The power liftgate (added to the CX-5 for 2017) became my new best friend as I loaded and unloaded groceries, packages and garden plants during my time with the handsome sport utility vehicle.


Folding the 40/20/40 split reclining backseat almost doubled its cargo capacity from 30.9 cubic feet to 59.6. This allowed me to spread things around the cargo compartment neatly, rather than stacking things on top of each other.

By the way, Melba sang beautifully that evening. My friend and I exchanged knowing glances and almost laughed aloud when she launched into “Stormy Weather”. If you ever get a chance to see her in an intimate jazz club setting, you’ll be glad you went, regardless of the weather.

Pricing for the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD starts at $29,395.

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