By on March 15, 2017

2017 Mazda CX-5, Image: © 2017 Seth Parks

2017 Mazda CX-5

2.5-liter four-cylinder SKYACTIV-G engine (187 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 185 lb-ft torque @ 3,250 rpm)

Six-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic, front/all-wheel drive

24 city / 31 highway / 27 combined (EPA Rating, MPG, FWD)

23 city / 30 highway / 26 combined (EPA Rating, MPG, AWD)

Price: $24,985–33,465

Prices include $940 destination charge.

Mazda wants you to know its 2017 CX-5 is more than just another compact crossover. Not in terms of size, power, or price, but in its transcendent experience. Media introductions are often an exploration into the esoterica of automotive design, and this launch is no different — except for a refreshing dose of substance sprinkled over a focused, if understated, redesign.

Compact crossovers recently eclipsed full-size trucks as the largest automotive segment. And right on cue, CX-5 is Mazda’s best-selling vehicle, accounting for 38 percent of its U.S. sales last year. Not only that, but it was Mazda’s fastest nameplate to earn one million sales worldwide. It’s thus no shock that as important as this little ute has become to Mazda, its first generation lasted just five years. Nor is it a surprise that its well received first generation is followed by an evolutionary and not a revolutionary second gen, with a diesel on the way to further extend its reach.

If it ain’t broke, tweak it.

The all-new 2017 Mazda CX-5 does not present a radical departure from the outgoing first generation. And in true Mazda form, the new model may be an inch wider, but it sits atop the same 106-inch wheelbase as the first generation. Its proportions and rear-leaning stance are amplified by revised A-pillars, which are pulled rearward 35 mm. The exterior styling is beyond familial, but more complex surfaces, narrow LED headlights, and a forward leaning, concave, three-dimensional grille provide a sharper, more self-assured presence.

2017 Mazda CX-5 Interior Trim, Image: Mazda

The interior is more thoroughly revised to the eye than the exterior, but previous-generation CX-5 owners will feel right at home — controls are where you left them. However, materials and execution have moved from segment competitive to near luxury. This CX-5 interior, with its high-quality soft touch materials is on par with Volkswagen Tiguan and head and shoulders above the hard plastic obsessed Mercedes GLA. Interior styling is mature and effectively represents Mazda Premium, the company’s new motto for quality engineering, superb craftsmanship, and eye-catching style. It may not quite feel like an Audi inside, but its mainstream competition will undoubtedly take note.

Not only does the interior look and feel good, it’s rich with content. Apparently, that’s the way Mazda customers like it. The range topping Grand Touring (GT) trim accounts for almost 50 percent of CX-5 sales. And although trim inflation is an industry-wide phenomenon, the CX-5’s $27,000 average transaction price places it among the highest transacting compact crossovers in a segment thick with competition.

The GT includes Full-speed Mazda Radar Cruise Control, with is capable of bringing the vehicle to a complete stop. Both front perches get power and heat. There’s driver’s side memory, a heated steering wheel, and an unobtrusive head up display (known as Active Driving Display) with Traffic Sign Recognition, blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, and more. The rear seats recline, split 40/20/40, and the outboard positions get heat. A power liftgate and rearview camera are also available. And a 7-inch touch screen with 10-speaker Bose sound round out CX-5’s class stretching interior.

2017 Mazda CX-5 Interior, Image: Mazda

We got about 60 miles of mixed San Diego city, freeway, and back country driving to experience Mazda’s middle child. But the CX-5, positioned between the CX-3 and CX-9 in Mazda’s lineup, is neither neglected nor lacking ambition. It provides predictable, refined comfort. Acceleration is adequate, but one would not complain if an optional engine delivering more power were available. All U.S. market CX-5s presently get Mazda’s 2.5 liter SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder delivering 187 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm for front-wheel-drive models and at 4,000 rpm for all-wheel-drive CX-5s. In front-wheel drive, the CX-5 is rated at 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg highway. AWD notches economy down to 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. A diesel will be available later this year.

Engines and fuel economy are remarkably similar to the segment leading CR-V, RAV4, and Rogue. Both the Toyota and the Nissan offer 2.5-liter normally aspirated four-cylinders, while Honda offers both a 2.4 liter four and a 1.5-liter turbocharged four. The CR-V earns the best fuel economy with its 190 horsepower 1.5-liter turbo at 27 mpg city, 33 mpg highway with all-wheel drive. The transmissions in these products may be their most significant powertrain differentiators. The Honda and Nissan have continuously variable transmission, while the Toyota and Mazda both use conventional six-speed automatics. If you need a racier setup than any of these, try the turbocharged 2.0-liter Ford Escape with 245 horsepower.

2017 Mazda CX-5, Image: © 2017 Seth Parks

All U.S. bound CX-5’s get Mazda’s SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic transmission. Refreshingly, not only is it a conventional automatic with six real forward gears, but it’s tuned to hold each one longer in spirited driving. Sport mode is even more reluctant to up- and down-shift. It’s an aggressive tune for a crossover, but it makes for more confidence-inspiring passing on twisty two-lane highways and suits this little CUV’s exuberant character.

Mazda’s i-ACTIV AWD is available across the three-trim range. This is a fully autonomous AWD system designed to deliver traction in all road conditions while protecting fuel economy. It operates almost exclusively in front-wheel drive, but transfers power where needed when variations in wheel speed are detected. We encountered neither snow nor ice during the San Diego launch. On loose dirt and gravel, its operation was invisible. There are no traction modes, nor is there a low range, but the CX-5 would almost certainly be a capable winter companion with the right tires.

Then there is Mazda’ new G-Vectoring Control (GVC), which is standard across all CX-5s. When combined with the extreme lengths Mazda went to quiet the cabin, as well as its 15 percent stiffer chassis, GVC adds a confident, refined dynamic to the driving experience. G-Vectoring is software that monitors a variety of systems and inputs, such as throttle and steering angle. Based on some algorithmic magic, G-Vectoring then manipulates ignition spark and other operating parameters to deliver a smooth, predictable driving experience. It’s all part of Mazda’s quest for Jinba Ittai, or horse and rider as one.

2017 Mazda CX-5 Driving, Image: Mazda

Does it work? Yes, but identifying the impact of GVC is like wine tasting. Listen to the sommelier, read the tasting notes, thoughtfully sip, then strain to identify the details. Can I find the burnt almond and dew soaked rye? You should be able to, but the key is in the totality of your encounter. By all means, look for the linear throttle response, feel the detail in the intuitive correction-free steering, and absorb the naturally progressive braking. It’s all there and the refinement stacks up well versus up-market competitors.

When you test drive the CX-5, you should relax, turn off the stereo, roll up the windows, and let the yammering salesman know you just want to drive. The most effective way to underline the subtleties of GVC is to drive CX-5 back to back against any of its 15 or so rivals and learn by differentiation.

The CX-5 is easy to drive. Of course it is. It offers an elevated ride height, instinctive controls, decent visibility, and an automatic transmission. But it’s more than that. The driving position is centered directly behind the steering wheel and the seating is comfortable. It tracks straight and true on the freeway and gear changes arrive when anticipated. On back roads, its 3,600-pound girth is evident as it leans through corners, yet it remains predictable and compliant, communicating to its driver as the limit approaches. Accelerating out of corners, the 2.5-liter four tells you it’s working hard and its tune is not exactly sporting. A four-door Miata it is not, but it is a more willing back road companion compared to other compact crossovers.

2017 Mazda CX-5, Image: © 2017 Seth Parks

CX-5 comes in three appellations, starting at $24,045 for a Sport, extending to the Touring, then Grand Touring. A GT with Premium Package will set you back $32,525, plus $940 destination fee. Mazda’s compact crossover is now better positioned to compete in a segment in transition from double-digit growth to maturity. The new CX-5 may be a dimensional doppelgänger for the outgoing model, but the automaker made 698 improvements, according to Mazda, enabling it to label this an all-new product and not a midlife refresh.

Whatever you call it, the 2017 Mazda CX-5 is a material and emotional improvement over 2016, and worthy of your consideration.

[Images: © 2017 Seth Parks, Mazda]

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83 Comments on “2017 Mazda CX-5 First Drive Review – Less is More...”


  • avatar
    dusterdude

    Is that the Mexican Border Wall in the last picture ? ( haha.. )

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    You said that Mazda went to extreme lengths to quiet the cabin, but didn’t say what these were nor how well they actually work. Nor was wind noise mentioned, another typical Mazda bugaboo. I think noisy cabins hold back what are essentially excellent vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      zoomzoomfan

      I have read another review/first drive of the new CX-5 and it lists the NVH improvements as “Mazda’s engineers obsessively examined every nook, cranny, corner, and crevice to sniff out noise and eliminate it. Gaps were filled, insulation was injected, seals were added, air was redirected, glass was double glazed, and carpet replaced plastic coverings.”

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Yes, an NVH comparison to the mentioned competitors would really put the improvements in perspective.

      • 0 avatar
        zoomzoomfan

        That same review I read compared the new CX-5 to the new CR-V and said the CX-5 is definitely quieter. I would link to it but I am not sure if that’s frowned upon on here or not.

        • 0 avatar
          philadlj

          A tinyURL/bit.ly link without the “http://” is probably fine.

          • 0 avatar
            zoomzoomfan

            tinyurl.com/hfdv7ws

            :)

            “The new CX-5 is indeed incredibly quiet, even on San Diego’s notoriously loud corrugated concrete freeways. It is quiet for a Mazda – a brand previously known for the exact opposite – and the entire segment. Even the fairly quiet 2017 Honda CR-V we drove on the same freeways on the way to San Diego couldn’t match it.”

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      The 2017 CX-5 is quiet. And yes, Mazda engineers absolutely obsessed over NVH, both in their offices and at the media launch. We got about a 45 minute presentation on it. It was interesting. And their efforts were effective. It stacks up well on NVH versus premium competitors, much less mainstream options.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I am glad this has been resolved. Another bugaboo from some of the B&B about Mazda laid to rest. Just like comments in the past about exterior design, interior quality, fuel economy, screen size too small – all resolved by Mazda with either their current Sky-active approach since 2012 or with updates (such as the screen size).

        • 0 avatar
          Chocolatedeath

          Next up ,,,backseat space

        • 0 avatar
          sutherland555

          It’s amazing how fast Mazda has turned their product line around since Ford dumped them 9 years ago.

          • 0 avatar
            legacygt

            For nearly a decade, Mazda has had one of the best cars in the following segments (compact car, small CUV, three-row CUV and arguably mid-sized car). The only thing that is missing is sales. Not sure why they can’t move more of their cars, given how good they are.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            @legacygt

            Mazda has had 2 things wrong limiting sales:

            1. Incentives/Average Transaction prices. As a company and dealer network they haven’t put the cash on the hood like Toyota or the domestics do.

            2. Dealer network. Mazda doesn’t have the market penetration geographically, nor are their dealerships nice, at least if the 2 closest to me are any indication (I live in the DC suburbs).

            Those 2 are the main reasons. Firmer suspensions as a consequence of sporty handling, and lack of sound insulation don’t help, but people primarily vote with their wallets and Mazdas are harder to buy and cost more than their class-competition.

            I would also add on the compact side – the Mazda 3 has the smallest back seat in its class, which is a problem for any buyer who uses it as a primary vehicle, or at least has back seat passengers regularly. I’m 5’10” and I would loathe sitting behind myself in mine.

      • 0 avatar
        philadlj

        That’s interesting to hear. With “Corvette interior sucks” and “Mustang needs IRS” dealt with, “Mazdas are noisy” was one of the last persistent “autonags”.

        “Mazda’s infotainment screens look dumb” and “Can’t see out of the Camaro” are still alive and well, however.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I like it. As small-ish CUVs go, I think this is the best looking one. If I can pry the steering wheel of the 2006 Pilot out of my wife’s hands, the CX-5 is somethings I am sure she would like. Right now, as a Honda guy, I am very disillusioned with their product. Aside from the Accord, they have nothing I like.
    If Mazda manages to offer the new diesel across the trim levels and not just in the most expensive GT, for a decent bump in price of course ( not 4,000 extra) this can really be at the top of my list. The wife got used to a V6, she will feel the difference of a smallish , normally aspirated 4 cyl, but the diesel with its torque will fool her.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      My in-laws just got one last month, albeit a 2016 because a) my MIL didn’t want to wait for the new ’17s to come out, and b) she liked the look of the ’16s better.

      My father-in-law did the shopping/testing process for everything in class and liked the CX-5 head and shoulders over the CR-V and RAV4. He said it actually felt like it had heart compared to the blandness of the others. This was unprompted by me, and he doesn’t read car magazines. All my MIL did was pick the color.

      As for the Accord – I’m cross-shopping all kinds of sedans right now for myself. The Accord Sport SE is almost perfect for what I want with the leather and heated seats, but the lack of CarPlay kills it. The worst part to get those otherwise you need an EX-L and pay an extra $5k plus lose the manual transmission in the process.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Yes, the Accord sport was number one on my list when I was looking for a car. I test drove a Mazda 6, Mazda 3 hatchback an Accord Sport and an HR-V. This was at the very end of 2015 so the Accord SE did not exist. Just the sport. My criteria was simple. It must have a six speed manual. The Mazda 6 drove great but felt too snug and cocoon-like. The Mazda 3 was great in the front seat, better than the 6, but extremely tight in the back seat. The Honda Accord Sport looked nice, drove nice but some cost cutting inside over the EX left me very disturbed. It only has a 4 speaker radio and no AC vents for the back passengers. Also in 2015 only two colors were available for manual. Black and some sort of charcoal gray. No AC vents for the back passenger in a rather large black sedan is recipie for complaints in Florida. Sadly, the Accord Sport didn’t cut it. The Honda HR-V was surprisingly room and felt like it was well put together but it felt underpowered and very loud at highway speeds. I commute 48 miles each way so that droning noise would have driven me to insanity.
        I was really unsure what to get. I went to a Toyota dealership and even looked at a ( Scion back then) Corolla hatch back. I liked the inside but the dealer laughed at me when I told him I would like to test drive a manual. He said only if I place a deposit he will get one for me. Of course, I got out of there and told them not to call me ever.
        I resigned myself to driving my Ridgeline which I loved, but was wrecking havoc on my wallet due to gas costs and my 100 miles per day commute. Fast forward two months in 2016 and found a 2014 Corolla S with a six speed manual, loaded ( navigation, sunroof, back up camera, 6 speakers stereo, key less start/entry, 17 inch wheels, LED low beam lights, climate control). The car had only 9k miles on it but the dealer couldn’t unload it being a manual. A bit of negotiation and I got it for 14k and being certified it came with 4 free oil changes also and a bunch of extra warranty as part of the price.
        I have 40,000 miles on it now, one year later and it has been a great vehicle. Very roomy inside, almost freakishly large back seat for a compact. It is a bit dull of course but great for my commute.
        Once in a while though, I see a white Honda Accord Sport and I get some ideas…

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          I hear you. Manual isn’t a requirement for me, but it would be a nice to have. Truth be told my wife would prefer I got an auto.

          My requirements are simple: fun, heated seats, (p)leather, and can fit a rear facing car seat easily. Rear vents are a plus. I keep feeling like I’ll end up in a Mazda 6, even though the road noise in my 3 has turned me off of the brand to some extent. It checks all of the boxes at what ends up being the most reasonable price.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I wonder if they changed the three things that kept me from buying one last year. The tiny sunroof. The floor mounted accelerator pedal, and the fact that I couldn’t get the two tone colored interior with the only exterior color I liked.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      I would love to address all three of your concerns. But I can only definitively address one. Mazda has switched to floor hinged gas pedals across all its products, globally. They identified the more progressive nature of throttle inputs enabled by the floor hinged unit as the reason. They decided the improvement was more valuable than the additional cost.

      • 0 avatar
        carlisimo

        Bleh. I’m having trouble adjusting to the floor-hinged throttle pedal in my 2016 Mazda3 – it doesn’t let me heel-and-toe the way I was used to.

      • 0 avatar
        N8iveVA

        I test drove with a friend that drove it first and then we switched. I immediately noticed and hated the feeling, while the friend never even noticed the difference from a “swing arm(?)” type pedal.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      THey typically have small sunroofs in Mazdas so I would say no.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      I vastly prefer the floor mounted pedal, but then again I won’t be heel and toeing anytime soon.

  • avatar
    make_light

    This looks hot. Mazda seemingly can do no wrong. And now if they’re pairing quiet cabins with their gorgeous designs, it deserves to destroy the competition. I can’t imagine even considering a CRV or RAV-4 when this is out there. But people will I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Well it’s still a bit of a laggard in the cargo capacity department: 30.9 cu ft to the new CRV’s 39.2 cubes (which is just crazy for a compact CUV I might add), or the Rav4’s 38. I’m guessing that difference translates to seat-down total measurements as well.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        The Rav4 is veeery spacious inside (it should be, its dimensions are bigger than most CUVs in its class). I’m surprised the CR-V now exceeds it, but what Honda does with their seats is magical. The HR-V’s configurations are fantastic.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    “Acceleration is adequate”. Is that Mazda-speak for “slow”? Because isn’t the CX-5 and Mazda6 supposed to be slow? Tell us please.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Acceleration is adequate”

      I don’t know about “slow”, but being “not fast” is a Mazda hallmark.

      • 0 avatar
        SuperCarEnthusiast

        So true, it goes counter to the first ad motto which Mazda change it to mean handling not performance! I still trying to like Mazda but am neutral!

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      Adequate acceleration means it’s average for the segment. My seat of the pants 0-60 estimate is 7.7 – 8.0.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Certainly no slower than the RAV-4 or many other CUV’S. very few people buy the Forester XT or Escape 2.0T. The segment’s typical buyer is happy with 170-190hp and Mazda are right in there.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      It’s “roughly the same as every other competitor.”

      We all know Mazda doesn’t do HiPo engines, but their standard fare should be more fun than everyone else’s.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Because isn’t the CX-5 and Mazda6 supposed to be slow?”

      I see this with surprising frequency and I don’t agree. The Mazda 2.5 is an overachiever. 7-7.5 seconds for the Mazda6, 7.7 for the outgoing CX-5, both with automatics. That is well above average for the base engines in their segments. They’re only slow by virtue of not having a higher output optional engine.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      Reported acceleration times seem average but it sure felt somewhat slow to me. The pedal travel felt odd to me too with what felt like little pedal travel followed by a “detent” that you had to push through to get it to kick down a gear.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Anyone know if a manual is offered outside of NA? Not sure Jinba Ittai was really intended to refer to sedating the rider, and strapping him crosswise across the saddle, leaving the horse in charge. Although doing so technically does render the two more as one.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      No. Because the number of people who get all indignant about losing a manual option because “muh driving dynamics” but also actually went out and bought one when it was an option was essentially 0.

      • 0 avatar
        sitting@home

        On the current CX5 you can only get a manual with a 2.0, FWD, the lowest trim and in one of two shades of grey (by comparison the slushbox comes in 8 different colors, 3 different trims, two different drivetrains and the 2.5 standard).

        I don’t really call that an option.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        5% of 40% (CX-5 share of Mazda sales of the new one?) is still 2% of total sales. There’s gotta be trims of other models selling less than that. And besides, Zoom-Zoom! Which is not Japanese for neither “boring” nor “too incompetent to figure out what to do when the number of pedals gratuitously overwhelm number of feet.”

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I believe one is still offered in Canada with the smaller 2.0 engine. Lack of a manual should not hold back the CX-5.

    • 0 avatar
      Bimmer

      In Canada you can get a stick shift but only on FWD 2-litre engine. 1 option package is available. Not sure about colors.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I’ll be interested if the diesel actually makes it to the U. S. and if it does, what the take rate will be.

    • 0 avatar
      eighttrackmind

      The diesel has already appeared in the dealership vehicle locator system, so it is coming for MY17 in the US. I’m trying REALLY hard to talk my wife out of a used CX-9 and into a diesel CX-5 for our upcoming purchase.

      • 0 avatar
        xtoyota

        The CX9 is really a great looking car but it has one big problem…
        Heat and air conditioning is VERY poor for the CX9..
        At the Chicago Auto show I asked the Mazda rep. if there is a fix for it and he said no…..not till the next version come out
        I hope the 2017 cx5 works better

  • avatar
    sutherland555

    As an avowed Mazda fan, it’s good to know they’ve hit a home run with the new CX-5. If I were to sell my soul and buy a CUV, this one would be it. This vehicle right here is probably the main reason why Mazda is doing any decent business in the US right now.

  • avatar
    BlueEr03

    “Compact crossovers recently ‘eclipsed’ full-size trucks”

    Ah-ha, I see what you did there.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Aside from, perhaps the luxury dealership experience, I wonder why you’d buy a GLA-Class, instead of this Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      ITs the badge sir…some dont mind knowing that they dont have the best when in their minds the best wears a certain badge….content be damned.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      GLA is an abomination. Cannot believe Mercedes put their badge on it. I would absolutely guide any consumer to the CX-5 over the GLA, even if their prices were identical.

  • avatar
    BlueEr03

    Perhaps I overlooked it, but did they finally add in Android Auto or is the infotainment the same as last year?

    • 0 avatar
      a5ehren

      It doesn’t appear to be present now, but it sounds like it’ll be a software upgrade later in the year:
      https://www.cars.com/articles/mazda-to-add-android-auto-apple-carplay-capability-1420694439589/

      • 0 avatar
        BlueEr03

        Oh that is awesome to know! Their current system (as do many manufacturers) leaves a lot to be desired and having Android Auto is definitely a big selling point.

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    When I drove the 2016 CX-5 last year, I realized that while it compares well to other crossovers, for the price, I’d rather have a Golf Sportwagen. That’s likely only more true now with the Alltrack on the market.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      That is a solid cross-shop. I’d be hard pressed to decide between CX-5 and the VW wagon twins. Neither will be towing or going off-road, so I’d probably hedge toward the Sportwagon for its driving dynamics. That said, CX-5 offers a dynamically composed package. Might just come down to an intangible preference.

      • 0 avatar
        stevelovescars

        And the available manual transmission in the Sportwagon/Alltrack.

        I drove a regular wagon with 4matic (automatic) and thought it was a comfortable and roomy package for less than the base price of a FWD CX-5. However, a few years ago I drove a CX-5 GT and thought it was a very nice package that punched above its weight in luxury feel and dynamics. With the changes described here, particularly to NVH, it should be even better. But it’s still a lot more expensive than the Golf, but the VW does have a rougher ride and more noise, I’d say.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I would say the CX-5 wins that comparison for being more reliable and spacious. Of course having a company release a diesel without cheating is icing on the cake!

  • avatar
    legacygt

    I though that GVC was all about tiny, imperceptible steering adjustments but this review says it adjust ignition spark. Any insights?

    It is nice to see a reviewer introduce a comparison to a Mercedes in a Mazda review of interior quality. I also read a review where the Mazda’s throttle response was compared favorably to Porsche. Truly objective reviews should feel comfortable going outside the traditional definitions of class and price point to make meaningful comparisons. The point here seems to be that much about this Mazda (besides maybe the badge) would satisfy customers of much more expensive vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      sutherland555

      I certainly think it looks better than some much more expensive vehicles. Mazda’s current designs are a model of restraint and elegance in a world of WTF outlandish car designs.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      legacygt – Sounds like you are ready for more on GVC. Here you go, in Mazda’s words:
      The all-new, Mazda-exclusive, technology uses engine timing to control chassis dynamics, leading to smoother, more accurate steering inputs. This results in greater confidence and control for the driver that the car does exactly what you want it to with every minute turn of the steering wheel or touch of the throttle. The introduction of GVC is another example of Mazda’s never-ending quest to enhance the
      Jinba Ittai —meaning “horse and rider as one”—driving experience, one that puts the driver as the priority in the design and development stages.

      Eight years in the making, this industry-first technology exemplifies Mazda’s design philosophy, where careful thought and consideration was given to developing a technology that would help realize smooth, predictable and efficient movement. While it will largely go unnoticed to the vehicle occupants, GVC will undoubtedly make any driver a better one. The car goes where the driver simply expects it to go, resulting in increased driver confidence and enhanced peace of mind.
      Purely a software control system, GVC adds no weight to CX-5, implementing throttle input and steering angle sensors, among other features, to decide when to reduce torque in an instant’s notice.

      When the technology was being developed, initial thoughts were to have the vehicle use the brakes, but this method was deemed too slow to respond and unnatural-feeling to the driver and passengers. Engineers learned that the subtle amount of “braking” needed to create a greater sense of stability—about eight pounds of pressure to the front end of the vehicle—could be achieved by reducing ignition spark, thereby effectively producing the tiniest amount of engine braking
      without the driver and passengers ever noticing. The result increases CX-5’s front-tire contact patches, which aids in steering stability and turn-in when using the throttle. Ironically, the worse the traction conditions are, the better the technology works, regardless of the driver’s skill level. So whether it’s driving in a straight line at high speeds, traversing winding roads or traveling at everyday low speeds, GVC provides a stronger sense of unity between driver and car, and provides passengers with a greater sense of comfort and
      security.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        This is the kind of talk that makes me love Mazdas. They put so much more care and thought into their work. I wish it was rewarded with better sales, but there’s only so much that can be done about their lousy dealer network.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        I think they are on to something.

        Two years back, I installed a Throttle-Tamer on my Kawasaki 650 Ninja. It had a very real effect on handling, curing the tendency of even small throttle changes to upset the suspension in turns. Now, granted, a motorcycle isn’t a car, but modulating power smoothly is connected to not feeling out-of-sorts when cornering.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Wonder if the added complexity of tuning this properly for a the small percentage who desires a manual, is part of the reason it’s no longer offered.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    “identifying the impact of GVC is like wine tasting. Listen to the sommelier, read the tasting notes, thoughtfully sip, then strain to identify the details. Can I find the burnt almond and dew soaked rye?”

    You are mixing wine tasting with beer tasting (almond and rye). Time to cut you off. No drinking and test driving!

    Mazda has long ago nailed driving dynamics, so the best news here is the improved interior and the reduction in noise. Indeed, like a fine wine, Mazda is improving with age.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      You are absolutely right WheelMcCoy. I did call out the wrong identifiers. Thanks for setting me straight.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I’d be the worst beer taster.

        “This one tastes like beer. A+.”

        “This other one also tastes like beer, but a little different. 10/10.”

        After a few tastings, the subtle differences would begin to elude me.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    As good as this may be I think Mazda has it a bit backwards on this one. Crossovers need good and abundant power. All that jinba attai stuff doesn’t matter while you’re slogging up a grade with your family and luggage, or looking to make a pass on a two lane road. For me a Sportage SX or stretching to a stripper RDX sounds like a better deal. If I want to be overwhelmed with road feel through the controls I’ll hop on my motorcycle. Weird objective for a crossover.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Most people buy the ~170-180 hp versions of their compact crossover. Mazda’s 170-180 hp version is quicker than most competitors. The handling emphasis Mazda places on their cars is certainly at odds with the lack of a high-output engine, but its right in line with most of its competition.

      • 0 avatar
        nvinen

        When my wife and I were shopping for a new car for her, we ended up getting her the 2.0t Escape because we felt that the CR-V, CX5 and 4-cylinder RAV4 were just too underpowered. I drive her Escape regularly and I would describe its acceleration as adequate. Personally, I would feel scared merging into heavy freeway traffic with a much lower power/weight ratio than 150hp/tonne (the Escape is around 160). I think it would also struggle up hills when fully loaded with significantly less power.

        • 0 avatar
          zoomzoomfan

          I understand the power complaints on paper, but most crossovers shuttle their occupants back and forth to work, Wal-Mart, Target, and the mall. At least, that’s what ours (a 2013 CX-5) does. Power isn’t necessary. At least not huge amounts of it.

          Our CX-5 even has the 2.0 with just 155 HP and it has never felt inadequate to us with daily driving. We even drove it through the Smoky Mountains in 2015 and didn’t have any trouble. Just held lower gears for a bit and we were good to go.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Most people don’t care about driving dynamics either, so the CX-5’s trump card doesn’t really matter to them.

        @zoomzoomfan adequate is a subjective and individual definition. My wife’s Rabbit, with the same 150HP, more torque and significantly less weight, is what I would call adequate. Personally, I would like more than “adequate” if I can afford it, so the CX-5 doesn’t pass muster.

        And if the 2.5 is like the 2.0 in the 3i rental I had, no freaking thanks. I loved the interior of that thing, but the engine was a dog. I can’t imagine that engine saddled with another 400-600lbs, it would be glacial… in my opinion. I do think the diesel would alleviate most of my gripes with the performance… these are not the kinds of vehicles you want to have to rev out to get power.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I know you don`t like Mazda’s for the extra 0.5 kinda implies the 2.5 inst` the same as the 2.0
          The power is the same as you get in a CRV or RAV-4 – neither of which I see you criticizing, or having poor sales. This whole “not enough power” is just another excuse to criticize. Glacial – is just a stupid comment since a 7-8s 0-60 time is hardly bad.
          The diesel will give a more powerful option. I would love to see the 2.5 turbo, we will see (not that it helps the Forester XT sales wise).

    • 0 avatar
      SuperCarEnthusiast

      Mazda now is in reactive mode! They just want to be equal to the competition but never be better then the competition in terms of offering performance, only on the handling portion. They refuse to offer the CX-9’s engine as an upgraded engine choice for the CX-5!

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Reactive and not wanting to be better – they offer a more stylish, higher quality and better driving vehicle. They are comparable on price, fuel economy (without reverting to turbos or CVT’s) and space. Home run.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I like it.

    On paper, the interior dimensions are most impressive, as is the fuel economy.

    Finally, a Mazda I could consider (and fit into).

  • avatar
    prisoners

    My wife and I really loved the 2016 when we looked at it. Ended up buying a Cherokee Limited because the dealer gave us significantly more on our trade-in. Truthfully I slightly preferred the Mazda but the Cherokee is nice too. It’s bigger, has more power (we bought the V-6), and is nicely equipped. Stickered for more but the added trade-in allowance made the out-of-pocket expense virtually identical.

  • avatar
    new2000car

    I think they used a dog’s snout as the inspiration for the grill. It is cute, unlike the current Lexus abominations.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Call me nuts, but I can’t seem to find a “Build and Price” feature for the 2017 on the Mazda site…just 2016.5.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Not up yet – they should have the build function up if reviews are out. I am surprised they didn’t call this a 2018. Glad they moved away from their habit a few years ago of doing the new model year in Q1. Like the 2014 Mazda 6 out in January 2013.


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