Track Drive: 2017 Mazda CX-5


The name Mazda usually doesn’t conjure up the image of a compact SUV but rather cool hatchbacks and the Miata. Nevertheless, after taking the 2017 CX-5 out on the track, perhaps one should.

When approaching the CX-5, it looks like the mother of the Mazda 3 hatchback and the bodyguard of the Miata. It definitely has the Mazda KODA – Soul of Motion lines and stance, just in a compact SUV from.

Cabin Check

The cabin isn’t huge in the sense that it is not a big ol’ all-American full-size truck, minivan, or SUV. But it does a great job of creating a comfortable compact with plenty of headroom, plenty of soft-touch details and an eye-catching black and white palette. The color combo gives the cabin a classy feeling. The lines and fit of the cabin are solid with strong horizontally layers reminiscent of the layers of a canyon perhaps.

The middle stack and console are wide and tall. A person in the six-foot and up club might find the legroom limiting to the point of rubbing their knee and making them cramp. Interestingly though, there is plenty of headroom so if the car will primarily be driven by someone below 6-feet, even with 6-foot and up passengers, no problem.


The rear seats are comfortable and contouring, but only for two. The middle seat is a throwaway only suitable for a child on a short trip and for passenger’s purses and tablets the rest of the time.

The media system is not intuitive, at least for me. I couldn’t get it to change on the steering wheel or find a way to easily scroll through the stations while driving. I’m still not sure how the steering controls work.

Zoom Zoom Handling

Handling is the bomb dot com. My main thought while driving around the track was if I had kids, THIS. It’s super responsive to the point of feeling touchy, which is nice compared to the sometimes numb feeling from over strong electronic steering on SUVs. It definitely brings the Zoom Zoom of the Miata to the SUV form. A fun car for the parents pre-midlife crisis Miata.

All trims come standard with Mazda’s SkyActiv-G 2.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing 6-speed automatic transmission. It’s good for 187-horsepower and a fuel economy of 24-city and 31-highway mpg. All trims offer AWD for an additional $1,300 and 2-mpg less on the highway.

Standard safety features are Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), SkyActiv ultra-rigid body and chassis, and LATCH child safety seat tethers. Blind Spot Monitoring comes standard on the top two trims. Meanwhile, a package adds Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, Smart Brake Support, and High Beam Control to the Touring trim and comes standard on the Grand Touring.

The base Sport starts at $24,985. Touring starts at $26,855 and offers two packages; the safety Touring I-Activsense Package for $625 and the Preferred Equipment package for $780, which adds all the bells like a moonroof and Bose Audio. Grand Touring starts at $30,335 and offers a Premium Package for $1,830 to go all out with heated rear seats and steering wheel, Activ Driving Display with Traffic Sign Recognition, and windshield wiper de-icer.

Feature Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick Photo
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