2017 Mazda CX-5 Revealed In Los Angeles - It's Been A Good Five Years

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
2017 mazda cx 5 revealed in los angeles it s been a good five years

Nearly five years after the first Mazda CX-5 became an instantaneous success for Mazda North America, the automaker has revamped its best seller. Revealed on the eve of the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2017 Mazda CX-5 should have little trouble capitalizing on the momentum created by the oft-praised crossover.

In 36 of the last 45 months, year-over-year CX-5 volume has increased, a striking achievement given the Mazda brand’s struggles to earn mainstream market share in the United States. Mazda brand sales are down 8 percent in the U.S. this year.

But the CX-5 is another story; the bright light at a brand where the midsize car is ignored, the biggest and smallest crossovers are niche products, the compact is fast fading, the subcompact and minivan have both been extinguished, and the most famous product is the brand’s least common product.

Tonight’s 2017 Mazda CX-5 reveal is hugely important to Mazda, as nearly four-in-ten sales in Mazda’s U.S. showrooms are generated by the brand’s surprisingly fun to drive CR-V fighter.

“We will aim at the level of art here. This is our target,” Mazda design boss Ikuo Maeda said tonight during an extensive design-oriented presentation leading up to the CX-5’s reveal, free from the subject of engineering. Emphasizing Japanese aesthetics, design awards won by recently introduced Mazdas, and a wide array of objects that inspire Mazda design, Maeda fostered high expectations for the new CX-5.

Does it live up to the hype? Is the new CX-5, in the words of Maeda, “car as art?”

Good looks alone clearly don’t sell Mazdas in North America. Just look at the Mazda 6 and Mazda CX-3’s limited demand for evidence. But adding greater visual expression to the already popular CX-5 would be another matter altogether.

This redesign certainly modernizes the five-year-old CX-5’s style, but it is largely an evolutionary move forward. Unmistakably a CX-5, this latest Mazda neither looks “all-new” nor does it appear to be yesterday’s car.

We reported on rumors yesterday that the revamped CX-5 would be made available with a diesel engine, and Mazda’s media release seems to confirm that the 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D will be brought to the U.S. market. The 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter four-cylinders from the previous CX-5 will continue.

The CX-5’s body is 16 percent stiffer. G-Vectoring control already seen in the updated Mazda 3 makes its way into the CX-5. Mazda lowered the center of gravity by nearly half an inch, lowered the beltline for better visibility, and raised the console to allow for a shifter that — oh, I can’t help it — falls more readily to hand.

Mazda also promises a quieter CX-5 after road noise complaints were prevalent in criticism of the outgoing model.

Sales of the new CX-5 begin in Japan in Febuary. Global launches will follow shortly thereafter.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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  • Turbo_awd Turbo_awd on Nov 16, 2016

    If they made a Mazdaspeed version of this, I'd be VERY interested. Take the kids, and still have some fun. Doesn't need 400+ HP - ~300 would be fine, with really good brakes/manual that can go to the track. Sort of like a 4-seater Miata. Yeah, I know it would lose to the Miata at every turn (pun intended) on the track. So what? I'm not a hardcore racer - I just want to go to a few HDPE events to get a feel for the track and not blow up my car, but still have a fun daily driver. Most of my driving these days is kids to school, 1-2 times a week to work (I telecommute a lot), trips around town, and then road trips. We have the '15 T&C for big vacations (it can hold more stuff than the '05 LGT), and taking lots of people. But, for most things, the LGT can serve just a well, and it's more fun. But there's not obvious replacement. If they were still making an STI hatch with the increased rear legroom, I'd probably already own it. And no, the FXT isn't in the running - I want a manual this time around, not a CVT.

    • 05lgt 05lgt on Nov 16, 2016

      If you crack that LGT replacement nut say something to a fellow puzzled shopper. I'm leaning used Lexus GS AWD, but ... NO MANUAL!

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Nov 16, 2016

    Mazda has the brand to pull off a poor man's Macan. The style is there with this, as is the engine from the CX-9. Do they focus group potential products and this isn't something that tests well? It seems a natural extension of the MazdaSpeed and Miata history to include a CX-5 sport in the lineup. It would be an SQ5/Macan competitor for $25k less.

    • See 6 previous
    • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on Feb 26, 2017

      @James2 I think Mazda promise the 2.2L diesel back in 2012 for the U.S. marketplace and it has to be use in a vehicle or two here. The CX-5 is the logical choice - the way Mazda see it! Offer the 2.5L Turbo would be the consumers choice for the CX-5, but MazdaUSA would have use the diesel engine in some other models and that would hurt the egos of top management since it been a struggle for 5 years and counting for their precise diesel to get approval! LOL! It all political at this point! MazdaUSA knows everyone wants the 2.5T engine option in the CX-5!

  • Statikboy Those tires are the Wrong Size.
  • Mustangfast I had an 06 V6 and loved that car. 230k trouble free miles until I sold it. I remember they were criticized for being too small vs competitors but as a single guy it was the right size for me. I recall the 2.3 didn’t have a reputation for reliability, unlike the V6 and I4. I think it likely didn’t take off due to the manual-only spec, price tag, and power vs the V6 engine and the way it delivered that power. It was always fun to see the difference between these and normal ones, since these were made in Japan whereas all others were flat rock
  • VoGhost Earth is healing.
  • ToolGuy "Having our 4th baby and decided a camper van is a better use of our resources than my tuner."Seller is in the midst of some interesting life choices.Bonus: Here are the individuals responsible for doing the work on this vehicle.
  • MaintenanceCosts Previous owner playing engineer by randomly substituting a bunch of components, then finding out. No thanks.