The 2016.5 Mazda CX-5 is the new mid-year update to a little SUV.
The very look of the CX-5 reminds the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The vehicle delivers a sort of purity of purpose along with appropriate and focused driving dynamics.
Under the Hood
The Mazda CX-5 comes with a SkyActiv four-cylinder engine with a capacity of 2.5 liters. It produces a power of 184 hp and generates a torque of 185 pound-feet. The powertrain is mated to a six-speed automated transmission. The drivers will also have a choice of either a front-wheel drive or an all-wheel on-demand drive, the latter being very useful in the regions which have four distinctive seasons. A speed of zero mph to 60 mph can be reached in a range of 8 seconds. Though it is not the best, it still provides a comparatively good fuel economy of 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, with a combined 26 mpg, for the all-wheel drive model, which is on par with its competition with Ford, Toyota, and Honda. The front-wheel drive gives an EPA estimate of a combined 29 mpg.
A Sports FWD trim level that is equipped with a six-speed manual transmission is mated to a comparatively smaller SkyActiv engine of 2.0 liters capacity that generates a torque of 155 hp and a torque of 150 pound-feet and makes it more of a low-cost option.
The steering which is direct and responds in the right way to the inputs by giving a fun feels to drive around during stable maneuvers. The suspension is overall very firm, compliant, and communicative except in the case of severe potholes.
Apart from being an affordable entry-level crossover, the Mazda CX-5 is strong and a compact SUV contender. The rear seats stand tall, which is on par with its competitors like the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. There is no real penalty for the occupants in the second row even when they are on long trips. When the accommodation space is folded, the CX-5 offers a total cargo space of 64.8 cubic feet.
The Mazda Connect navigation and infotainment systems, like the technology of the powertrain and the chassis, lives right at the center of the dashboard of the CX-5 SUV with the perfect fundamentals. There is touch-sensitive central color display screen which can be accessed only when the vehicle is stationary. But otherwise, while driving, it can be controlled by a physical knob that is present on the console to minimize distraction. Apart from the simple telephony, audio playback, and navigation, there is not much strength to the Mazda Connect technology. The Mazda Connect also has some tech-free options where it can be connected to the Web through integration with a few selected phone apps that are limited mostly to listening to music.
However, the major drawbacks of the Mazda Connect are that it lacks the most useful and popular technologies like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or MirrorLink. The absence of the Android Auto comes as a huge surprise since Mazda has been a loyal technology partner of Google right from the time the software was launched.
The standard driver aid features include standard monitored blind spot for the Grand Touring and a standard rear camera for almost all the models with automatic transmissions except for the Sports FWD. There are auto-leveling LED headlamps, which steer along with the front wheels to help in illuminating curves and also an optional technology package that adds a Smart City forward collision mitigation braking with detection of pedestrian technology. The i-ActivSense package sums up the Grand Touring’s collection of the all the advanced driver aid systems which come along with a radar adaptive cruise control, active high-beam headlights, warning for lane departure and other enhancements to the front pre-collision system which helps in warning the driver if the vehicle is following very closely.
Although the Apple CarPlay and the Android Auto are not available, the fundamentals of the SUV including its fuel efficiency, affordability, and an abundant amount of passenger and cargo space gives the Mazda more of a pass when it comes to the other baggage of the modern driving experience. That being said, the small iconic SUV CX-5 from Mazda inspires confidence by offering a pleasurable and is easy to approach.