With the 2017 model just around the corner is the 2016.5 CX-5 still relevant? I took one for a week and drove took it on a road trip to find out.

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First introduced back in 2012 the CX-5 has been an amazing CUV for a lot of people. Selling over twenty-five thousand units in 2016 just shy of the Mazda3 by two thousand units it’s Mazda’s 2nd best selling vehicle and it’s clear to see why. This segment has been growing for a while now and there are more and more people looking towards a small CUV rather than a sedan or hatchback.

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Looking at the overall vehicle the CX-5 had it’s mild refresh back in 2016 with slightly revised exterior and interior but overall it’s still very similar. Comparing to the CX-3 the CX-5 is a bit more dated with a more curved front end rather than the new Kodo design language. But it still looks great with the front headlight design smartly integrating led daytime running lights. Off to the side, the signature Mazda curves are present on the doors sills. The overall body is not overly designed by any means so it incorporates some beautiful curves and lines. With some plastic body cladding on the fenders and the bottom of the doors, it helps reduce body dings and chips from rocks that might come.

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Powering this CX-5 is Mazda’s Skyactiv engine, with 2.5L and 4 cylinders it produces 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. It’s more than enough to get this people-mover down the road however it can strain a little when it’s fully loaded. Enabling Sport mode will let the 6-speed auto hang on to the gears just a bit longer before shifts and if needed there’s even a manual mode to take full advantage of the engine’s power. Behind the wheel, the CX-5 drives like a Mazda should. It’s planted with a well-weighted steering. The CX-5 is one of the best driving CUVs around, most other options out there have heavily boosted steerings or soft rides.  The CX-5 really takes it’s own and it’s a true compromise, sadly it’s one of those things that you have to experience to understand but after driving a CX-5 and hoping into a other CUVs will be quite upsetting.

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The interior was upgraded in 2016 with plush leather and soft-touch plastics everywhere. Inside the CX-5 is nicely laid out with a nice 7” touch screen in the middle to control the car’s mute-media functions unlike newer products it’s nicely integrated into the dash rather than looking like a tablet that sits on top. The main media control is through the controller on the centre console in other Mazda’s this works really well, in the CX-9 and Mazda3 it falls right in the palm of the driver’s right hand. However, in the CX-5 it’s a bit too far back for my liking, especially with the cup holders where they are. Every time I reach of the controller my right elbow is pointed back and it’s a bit out of the way, for shorter drivers this is affected even more so. But other than this little quirk the interior is put together pretty well, the controls on the HVAC is easy to use and the silver knobs although are plastic they have a nice metallic feel to them.

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In the back is a nice bench in which the rear passengers can enjoy, the CX-5 rear seats are raised comparing to the front enabling a better view out. With ample of head and leg room, road trips are made easy in the CX-5. Unlike a lot of its competitors, the CX-5 GS and GT trims rear seats can fold down 40/20/40 which makes carrying long items much easier. With the sides, seats still up the middle can fold flat to carry long items like skis, lumbar or even a TV. Behind the rear seats, there is 34 cubic feet of space which is more than adequate for strollers or anything you wish.

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With three trim levels to choose, GX, GS and GT trim. I would suggest the GS as it comes with all the amenities one would need. It gives the CX-5 the more powerful 2.5L engine comparing to the 2.0L making 155hp that was standard in the GX. A Sunroof which is always a welcome option, a rearview camera, heated seats and backup camera are also included. The GT model adds 19’s wheels, BOSE audio system, leather seating surfaces and standard AWD.

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Overall the CX-5 is a wonderful car for anyone that’s looking for a CUV, with the availability of AWD and safety features like lane keep assist and forward collision mitigation braking. The CX-5 is safe and feature packed with an amazing driving feel. If you have a growing family, thinking of children the CX-5 would be great and an amazing fit into your family needs. Even if you’re single and you like to go up to ski or snowboard the CX-5 will surely get you there with comfort. It’s designed for a huge market section so no matter what you are into. As long as it fits the CX-5 is a solid contender and best of all with the 2017 model coming soon I’m sure the 2016.5 will be on sale making the price just a bit more attractive. Best yet during my time with the vehicle I was able to average 7.8L/100km, and only requiring regular it can also save at the pump.

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