Mazda’s segment defining CX-5 may not be its official flagship, that would be its new CX-9 big brother, but it has been at its forefront, leading the rejuvenated company’s charge to worldwide success. It hasn’t been too long since its 1st generation debut in 2012 which began its relentless, multiple award-winning onslaught on the compact crossover market. There has been no cloud of mystery as to why the Mazda CX-5 has been so successful. Mazda may have gambled with the use of modestly powered powerplants, but they sure did not hold back anywhere else with the encompassing mantra of emotion, design, and efficiency.
From the consumer’s point of view, we got a very value-packed high-quality product with the longest list of desirable standard equipment in the market combined with the engineering to exploit every last ounce of metal. One of the very best features that Mazda has created with the CX-5 and the Miata (MX-5) is the fact that predecessors are not orphaned. This not only affects resale values but also does not penalize car buyers who had purchased the older generations. Very few car manufacturers can pull off that hat trick with enduring success. We are one of these buyers; we still have the original 1st generation model and its face-lifted diesel variant in our C! Fastfleet. And after thoroughly reviewing this test unit on these pages, we ordered and have taken delivery of two 2017 CX-5 Sport units to add to our fleet.
The only compact crossover in my eyes that can possibly unseat the CX-5 is the all-new Honda CRV entering our domestic market by the time you read this. I’m not too keen on the CVT transmission, but the overachieving 190 bhp 1.5-liter turbo, updated from the Civic, promises to be a bit more athletic and more fuel efficient than the Mazda Sport in a comparatively well designed and outfitted package while supposedly offering two extra seats in a tiny third row in a body that is actually still smaller than the CX-5 despite being larger than the model it replaces. Honda is also supposed to be introducing their 160 bhp / 258 lb-ft of torque 1.6-liter turbodiesel variant mated to a ZF 9-speed gearbox to compete against Mazda’s own potent 172 bhp / 310 lb-ft of torque 2.2-liter turbodiesel. Final pricing, fitment, and size requirements, I reckon, will redefine this highly contested segment.
Back to the all-new 2nd generation CX-5, it builds on all the successes of the original. It may still the use basic SkyActiv chassis as before but the suspension was revised, the structure is about 15% more rigid (including the steering rack), significant acoustic measures were further applied throughout the car from the extra seals on the doors, thicker windshield, cabin insulation, and more underbody paneling, all contributing to a much quieter and more refined interior. The new cabin feels tangibly bigger than before because it is. The new body is marginally larger in every proportion and the rear seats now have their own climate control vents. Mazda’s clever G-Vectoring Control that further manages steering response and throttle to help keep the car traveling neutrally works brilliantly and seamlessly. However, for off-road use it can get a bit confused and overactive.
In totality, the new model gets over 250 improvements to go with the handsome updated design inside and out. Some of the key improvements are an even better Bose® audio system, a better 7-inch center control monitor with a much sharper rear camera, much better interior trim with moonroof, the rear seats recline, and the HUD is as good as that of the new CX-9. There is a penalty to all this new goodness, however; about 100 pounds more weight than before. Thankfully, Mazda addressed this by retuning the 2.5-liter to produce a few more horses to help even out the score. The more expensive diesel model gets the adaptive LED headlights which already function fabulously without the extra feature on the Sport along with a powered rear trunk and a couple of additional lane safety measures. Even with the extra weight, I was able to get a touch better acceleration than in the last model. Consistent with Mazda’s ethos of driver connectivity and enjoyment, the new Mazda CX-5 Sport handled as well as before but with a more comfortable environment.
Specification – 2017 Mazda CX-5 Sport AWD
Engine: Inline-4, 2488 cc, dohc 16V, VVT & S-VT with i-stop, 6-speed AT
Max power: 187 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Max torque: 185 lb ft @ 4000 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 7.9 sec.
Top Speed: 210 km/h (130 mph)
Fuel Mileage: 23 mpg City / 29 mpg Highway
Price as tested: PhP 1,895,000.00 (Soul Red Crystal test unit color costs an additional P22,400.00)
C! RATING 10/10
+Better looks, more standard features, HUD, 10-speaker 250-watt Bose® Audio, G-Vectoring, over 250 improvements.
-Oddly feels a touch reluctant off-road.