2017 Mazda CX-5

2017 mazda cx-5 – DOC693424

The Mazda CX-5 debuted for the 2013 model year as a new contender for models that were well established in the market, including the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Toyota Rav 4, among others. Needless to say, the CX-5 had a lot to live up to if it was to be successful in the compact SUV/crossover market. It carried on unchanged for a couple of years, failing to meet expectations with sales below the 100,000 mark for 2014 while competing models like the CR-V saw sales in the range of 350,000 examples. As such, Mazda decided it was time for a facelift for the 2016 model year, but it changed very little on the outside and saw only minor updates inside. With 155 horsepower on tap from a SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter or 184 horsepower from a 2.5-liter, the CX-5 isn’t exactly a slouch, either. So, it must be something about the design that is holding it back, and as the story goes, Mazda is preparing the next-gen model that will debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.

For now, we have very little to go on with nothing more than a teaser image of the side profile of the next-gen model. Be that as it may, we can still make out a few things that we can expect for the next-gen, 2018 model. For now, we know that it will expose the next evolution of Mazda’s “KODO” design language and should sport some of the cues found on the RX-Vision concept. Mazda is set to pull the sheets of this baby on November 16th during the first press-only day of the L.A. Auto Show, but until that happens let’s dive on in, take a look at what we know now, and speculate a little on what we’ll see in the near future.

Exterior

Mazda has said next to nothing aside from confirming that the next-gen model will debut in L.A. this year and that it will take the “CX-5’s KODO – Soul of Motion exterior to a new level.” Of course, that’s a lot of fancy PR talk to get you and I all excited, but is there really anything to be excited about? Let’s take a look at the teaser to find out.

(Side-by-side of teaser and current model side profile)

The most noticeable thing that really pops out is the roof line. It looks like this next-gen model will have a little more bubble to the roof above the front passengers and a little more slant in the rear, a feature that has become increasingly common of the last couple of years. The rear end looks like it takes on the same general shape, but looks to be slightly more rounded. We can’t make out the layout of the side windows, but Mazda made it a point to accent the waistline with that hockey-stick-shaped chrome stripe at the waistline. This lends little to the imagination, however, it does show us that the rear quarter window will be shaped at least a little different with the rearmost point set a little higher than on the current model.

Hopefully, for Mazda’s sake, they did enough to entice buyers into showrooms, otherwise, the CX-5 might not survive to see a third-gen model

Down below, it looks like that upper body line that runs almost parallel with the waistline will carry over, however it looks like it may differ a bit below the front windows. The concave formation on the lower doors has been lowered some and doesn’t seem to arch upward as much in the rear. The side skirts apparently get a fancy little chrome strip to add a bit of flair to the side profile. Things like the side view mirrors and door handles look to carry over largely unchanged. The taillights are also smaller and thinner and don’t wrap around the rear quarters nearly as much as they do on the current model.

Looking toward the front end, I don’t see an incredible amount of change until you get up to the headlights. The fender itself comes off as relatively smooth, but toward the nose, we can see the next-gen CX-5 clearly has a new, sleeker set of headlights. Originally coming to a point high on the fender, these taillights look to be vertically challenged in comparison. The headlights should be thinner and sleeker like the rear lights and may even be recessed into the front end just a tiny bit. More importantly, it looks like the hood will be a little more aggressive with the sharp body line on either side much more exaggerated that before. The changes seem to be rather thin as far as what we can see from the side, but Mazda could have done a lot to the front and rear that we haven’t seen yet. Hopefully, for Mazda’s sake, they did enough to entice buyers into showrooms, otherwise, the CX-5 might not survive to see a third-gen model.

Interior

Mazda CX-5

As is the usual case when we get teasers like this one, the interior might as well be classified, and any related knowledge is reserved for those within the Mazda family. When Mazda revised the CX-5 for 2016, the biggest change inside came in the form of a new center console and a heavily revised center stack that even included a soft-touch leather surface surrounding that rather small infotainment screen. I don’t expect to see too many changes inside, considering Mazda doesn’t seem to know how to dive into new designs all that well. The dash will get some refinement and maybe a flatter look. Hopefully, the entry-level model will get a larger infotainment screen because that small screen on the current model isn’t exactly visually appetizing and there was clearly room for something much larger. The HVAC vents will take on a new shape with new garnishing, and the HVAC controls will likely change a bit.

I expect to see a new, sleeker looking steering wheel to go with a new instrument cluster that includes at least a 4.5-inch TFT screen in the middle. Seat designs should change mildly, but I wouldn’t expect too much outside of this. Any other changes inside will be rather minute, but the new shape of the roof will likely mean more headroom for front occupants while the headroom in the rear may drop a little. Then again, Mazda could lower the position of the rear seats a little to make up for the extra grade to the slope of the roof. What do you think? Are there other changes you would like to see? Is there anything Mazda could do to make the interior more appealing? Take a minute to leave a comment for us in the section below.

Drivetrain

Mazda CX-5

Mazda has made very little progress in the way of developing or bettering its current engine lineup. Even models like the 2017 Mazda 6 have carried on with that 2.5-liter SkyActiv engine. With that said, I wish Mazda would come up with something new, but I’m expecting to see the same 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter Skyactiv engines make their way into the next-gen model. I highly doubt that those engines are maxed out as far as output performance goes, so – with any luck – Mazda will at least revise them to make a little bit of extra power. The current model produces 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet with the 2.0-liter SkyActiv and 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet with the 2.5-liter. Power output could probably easily be increased to 180 ponies for the entry-level 2.0 and closer to 210 for the 2.5-liter. For now, we just have to wait. On a side note, it’s quite possible that the new CX-5 will get Mazda’s new Torque Vector ing Control system that is found for the first time in the Mazda 6 . It provides integrated control of the engine, transmission, chassis, and body, making for a better ride all the way around.

The Competition

Considering the CR-V comes standard across all ranges with 185 ponies and 181 pound-feet, it’s pretty easy to see why customers would consider the Honda over the Mazda. Furthermore, the Honda also gets similar fuel economy, matching the CX-5 at 27 mpg in the city and 29 mpg combined, but gets an extra mpg for highway driving, garnering 35 mpg to the CX-5’s 34. The 2.5-liter CX-5 gets the same ratings in the city and on the highway in FWD form but only gets 33 mpg on the highway while the AWD variant suffers by two mpg in the city, five mpg on the highway, and three mpg combined.

When it comes to the Ford Escape, customers are able to choose between a 1.6-liter, 2.0-liter, and 2.5-liter. Output for the 1.6 comes it at 178 horsepower and 184 pound-feet while the 2.5 offers 168 ponies and 170 pound-feet of twist. The 2.0-liter comes with an awesome 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet blowing the Honda and the Mazda out of the water on the power front. Fuel economy of the Ford isn’t the greatest with an average of 22-to-23 mpg in the city and 28-to-32 mpg on the highway depending on how it is equipped.

Pricing

Pricing is a complete mystery right now, but knowing Mazda, it will want to be compensated for the work it put into the CX-5. The current model, which Mazda is marketing as a “2016.5” model, starts out at $21,795 for the entry-level model. The mid-range, Touring trim comes in at $25,215, while the Grand Touring model starts out at $28,570. Pricing will likely increase to $22,500, $26,000, and $29,300, respectively.

Competitive Pricing

Mazda actually has a little bit of an advantage on the pricing front depending on where you look. But that could all change if pricing increases with the next-gen model. Right now, the CX-5 is $200 cheaper than the Ford Escape in entry-level form, but significantly more expensing in mid- and range-topping forms. The CR-V is priced a little more across the board, but with five different trim levels, you can step up a level and pay less than going with the mid-range CX-5. Same thing for the near-range topping CR-V EX-L for a few hundred less with similar equipment to the range-topping CX-5.

Competition

Ford Escape

Ford Escape

The Ford Escape has some experience under its belt. It’s been around since about mid-2000 when it was introduced as a 2001 model. It has since evolved twice, with the most current generation coming into play for the 2014 model year. With that said, we’re expecting the Escape to get a facelift sometime in 2017 for the 2018 model year, but with this kind of time frame, we won’t see a fourth-gen model until 2020 or later. Offered in three trim levels, the Escape is just a touch more expensive than the CX-5 in entry-level form, while the mid- and range-topping models are cheaper.

Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V

The CR-V might be a little more expensive compared to the CX-5 and Ford Escape, but it has the advantage because there are five trim levels to choose from. This means that there’s literally a flavor for just about anyone. With Pricing ranges from $23,845 up to $32,195, which could be considered a bit much for a compact SUV. On the positive side, however, that Touring is equipped from the factory with just about anything you could want in a modern SUV or Crossover.

Conclusion

Mazda CX-5

It’s hard to draw a proper conclusion about the next-gen CX-5 with nothing more than a teaser image to go by, so we’ll reserve final judgment for a little while. If you’re in the market for a compact SUV, your options are plentiful, and you could spend the better part of a week shooting from dealership to dealership trying them all out. Assuming the CX-5 continues on with the same attitude and basic pricing structure, it will be a good bargain buy as long as it has what you need in the long run. Otherwise, you may be better off stepping into one of the lower-mid-range or higher-mid-range CR-V models which carry pretty similar pricing to current models and will likely be right on par if Mazda does increase pricing marginally as I’m expecting. We’ll be getting more information closer to the next-gen’s reveal, so stay tuned for updated information.

LOVE IT

  • Next-gen model could bring significant change
  • Mazda has the potential to make the CX-5 a strong competitor
  • KODO design language is fairly attractive

LEAVE IT

  • Will probably have the same old underpowered engines

Press Release

The all-new Mazda CX-5 will make its world premiere at the upcoming 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Mazda has refined all aspects of its award-winning compact SUV’s design and technology to deliver new dimensions of driving joy. For example, the carmaker has taken the CX-5’s KODO — Soul of Motion exterior to a new level, honing the car’s beauty and imparting a formidable combination of sophistication and strength.

Mazda will hold a press conference at 12:50pm (PST) on 16 November, the first of two press days. The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public from 18-27 November.

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