By on November 15, 2016

2017 Mazda CX-5 LA auto show introduction - Image: Mazda UStream screenshot

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.

2017 Mazda CX-5 soul red crystal - Image: Mazda USA

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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42 Comments on “2017 Mazda CX-5 Revealed In Los Angeles – It’s Been A Good Five Years...”


  • avatar
    tnk479

    This plus a MX-5 RF makes for a fun pair of vehicles for a reasonable price.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    They lowered the beltline? On a newer model?!

    • 0 avatar
      Nostrathomas

      Hopefully the start of an industry trend. Now if they could also start reducing the size of the rear pillars, we might actually be able to see out of our vehicles again.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      C’est la Mazda. Improve where it still counts. Leave the rest to oneup eachother down diminishing returns curves where it no longer does.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I can’t believe it either. Might have to test drive the new CX-5 once the diesel appears. I test drove a 2016 Sport model and it wasn’t all that impressive to me. The stupid beltline and the wheezy engine didn’t help.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I don’t like it already

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants

    Mazda’s front ends all look as though they’d accept a host of handy vacuum attachments.

    And with that size of an opening, they’d really suck!

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    We will have to see what that diesel is about. Otherwise I’m still holding out for the CX-7. I don’t want the girth of the CX-9, but I’m also thoroughly turned off by the nasally, wheezy, clattery Skyactiv-G engines. If I’m going to have an engine that clatters like a diesel I might as well have an engine that pulls tree stumps like a diesel too. But an “SUV coupe” with a little more back seat room and the big 2.5 would be perfect.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    It looks like it’s squinting.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    Overall, the design is more successful on the CX-9 than it is here. It’s funny though that the CX-5 is such a successful model given that it’s in the segment with the CR-V which is really great. I’m more surprised that Mazda’s other models (Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-9) don’t sell better because they are really standouts relative to offerings from Toyota, Honda, Ford, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      I think Mazda’s sedan problem is Ford. The 3 and the 6 basically play in the same style-conscious, driver-friendly, higher-priced league as the Focus and the Fusion, and without the big dealer network or Ford money on the hood, that’s a tough row to hoe.

      And they just don’t have the backseats to compete as pure family sedans. I have no love for the Corolla or the Sentra but their ability to swallow child seats and return 30+ mpg is impressive at the price point.

      I think the CX-5 is Mazda’s best product, non-Miata division.

    • 0 avatar
      Ashy Larry

      I don’t agree that the Mazda get the better of comparable offerings from Toyota, Honda etc. Especially in regards the CX 9. The CX9 feels like an unfinished gem. It is gorgeous and handles like a sporty car, with an amazing interior quality that blows away the Highlander, Pilot and Explorer. But it lacks ventilated seats and a rear entertainment system in any trim, even the highest level Signature trim (No RES? In a family crossover? What product guy made that boneheaded decision?) It’s collision detection system is widely reported to be way too sensitive and AC performance seems subpar. And even though it just came out, no CarPlay or Android Auto is available. And early reports are the turbo 4 (like most turbo 4’s in big cars) struggles to meet its good-on-paper EPA mileage ratings. And it’s cargo capacity is notably less than the competition.

      I love the way Mazda approached the new CX9 in getting so many core areas right and yet they whiffed on some other important details.

      All of that said, I love the look and feel of the car and unless a Hemi Durango sucks me in, it has a great chance of being my next car.

  • avatar
    kogashiwa

    These are really popular around here, which is good because it’s the only compact crossover that doesn’t look like an amorphous blob of sadness.

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

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

    They said the same thing about the 2017 Mazda6, but when I test drove a 2017 two weeks ago it was still unacceptably loud.

    • 0 avatar

      They’ve been fixing this more through clean-sheet designs, in all honesty. The only vehicle they’ve gotten truly quiet has been the CX-9. I’m hoping that, given that this was a clean-sheet design, they’ve done just as well here.

      • 0 avatar
        notwhoithink

        That’s good. I just can’t express how disappointed I was with the Mazda6. Such a great looking car, great features, great handling, so comfortable, but loud and somewhat underpowered. I could have overlooked the underpowered, but not the loud. Hopefully they do a clean sheet re-design in a couple years and tack on a turbo.

        • 0 avatar
          chiefmonkey

          I’ve been leasing a 2016 Mazda6 for about a month now: seems to me the car suffers from a very bad case of drive-by-wire blues. It wasn’t really noticeable during the test drive but gosh does this thing hesitate. I’m hoping once the car learns my habits or whatever it will go away, but am not optimistic.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Adding lightness without adding loudness is a neat trick. Mazda is making some pretty cars for this day and age. Too bad they’re loud and slow. It’s a different strategy, zagging while others zig, and it’s not working at all well.

  • avatar

    Tell the customer you’re the brand that delivers a premium driving experience, but drop the Speeds and saddle the new 6 with an anemic engine. Dump your energy into your crossovers, since them’s the breadwinners, which is no surprise, due to market forces and considering you’re cutting your sedans off at the knees.

    This brand doesn’t know what it wants to be.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    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.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “It would be an SQ5/Macan competitor for $25k less.”

      Brand matters to those customers.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      A guess: Mazda’s engineering philosophy of designing the whole car for efficiency probably makes engine swaps less feasible. If the car is built ground-up for the 2.5, then using the 2.5T might require more rejiggering than they can afford given that it would sell about a half dozen units.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Sam, fair point. They’re also a brand focused on fun to drive, and it’s acknowledged that except for the Miata, Mazda vehicles are just mid pack with regard to power. That’s not consistent with branding.

        The current 0-60 time is just under 8 seconds. Seems to me if they targeted the upper 6 second mark, they would have a more profitable trim option available. Kind of like what Ford has done with the high trim Fusion.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam Hell Jr

          Well, to extrapolate further, they might be waiting on the CX-9 to get the world re-acquainted with a $50k Mazda before they start rolling out hi-po trims.

          Also, you have to think there’s a North American 2.0T in the works, right?

          It suddenly occurs to me I’ve spent a not insignificant amount of time pondering Mazda’s business plans.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        Pre skyactive models had fairly easy aftermarket swaps to higher power FoMoCo engines. You may be right on the newer designs though.

      • 0 avatar
        James2

        When the CX-9 came out a Mazda engineer said the 2.5 turbo would fit in the 6 and CX-5, so… what’s their excuse now?

        • 0 avatar
          SuperCarEnthusiast

          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!

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