For 2017, the CX-5 is all new or at least that’s what Mazda is saying. With a new more bold styling it’s edgier than before and it adds to that athletic feel that Mazdas has deep in their heart and soul.

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From the sides, the CX-5 has minimal changes. However, out in the back, it now incorporates Miata like taillights which stretch across the brand’s lineup.

Looking at it, it’s easy to say this is one of the better looking CUVs in the market especially with those swooped back LED headlights.

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Inside the CX-5, it offers near-luxury levels materials through-out the cabin. Everything is soft to the touch and with either leather, wood or aluminum on most surfaces. Even the trim rings on the air vents feel like it’s out of a high-end German automaker.

But it’s starting to show it’s age. With the infotainment system lacking Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, it lags behind its competitors. But that doesn’t mean the system is bad in any way. It’s functional and directed by a knob that rests a bit too far back in the centre console it’s easy to navigate the system’s menus. The 7″ screen is also touched capable however, it only activates when the vehicle is not in motion to allow for ease of data entry.

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For the front occupants, the seats are power adjustable and heated allowing for plenty of adjustments and comfort levels no matter the circumstances.

This tester also has the luxury package which allows for the contrasting seating surfaces. They are amazing to look at however it’s easy to stain with a pair of jeans. But for those who are looking for a more practical colour, black is also offered.

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For the back, there’s plenty of room for 3, the outboard passengers are treated with heated surfaces with controls in the centre armrest. Legroom is sufficient for most, and the seats do have a slight recline feature allowing for more comfort.

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Behind the seats, the CX-5 offer a decent amount of luggage space. However, comparing to some of the other offerings in this class the floor is higher than liked. But it is one of the few cars that offer 40/20/40 split folding rear seats to allow for larger and longer items through. With the GT trim, a power liftgate is offered but it has to be activated via button rather than a kick under the bumper like some.

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Once behind the wheel of the CX-5, it’s immediately known that Mazda engineers have designed this small utility vehicle for fun. The suspension is tight and handling is nimble for the size. Powering the CX-5 is a 2.5L Skyactive 4 cylinder which hasn’t changed from previous years. A lesser motor is offered in the base GX model with 155hp while in the Gt trim the 2.5L engine puts out 187hp and is sufficient for this platform. No, it doesn’t have the same pull as Ford’s EcoBoost but it does have a very linear powerband and great throttle response. Merging on the highway and zipping in the city the CX-5 never felt out of breath or lack of power. In terms of efficiency, the engine returns with 11L/100km in the city and on the highway, it was able to get 8.5L.

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Overall the CX-5 is a vehicle designed for the driver in mind. It’s not here to win over the competition by compromising. It’s a no-nonsense verdict for the enthusiasts. Those who are searching for a balanced package will look at the CRV, an economic-minded buyer will look at the Rav-4 Hybrid. But this CX-5 is for those who value driving and interior feel above all else.

 

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Big thanks to Mazda Canada for allowing me to drive the CX-5 for the past week.

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