$19,639 - $25,006

2017 Mazda CX-5 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Mazda CX-5 was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 9.1

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 features incredible performance for an SUV, with sporty handling and a comfortable ride. While the CX-5's engine isn't overly powerful, it's sufficient for daily driving. Fuel economy estimates are a little above the class average.

  • "In the past generation's tests, we raved about the CX-5's class-leading confident handling, intuitive driveline response, and competitive acceleration. To be clear, the 2017 version is even better." -- Motor Trend
  • "… much of the driving experience can't be matched by a competitor. The previous CX-5 was arguably the driver's choice in the segment and version 2.0 sends the ball further downfield." -- Autoblog
  • "Mazda also made a long list of updates to the steering, chassis and throttle mapping (including the addition of G-Vectoring Control), but I won't subject you to a recap. Instead, I'll simply say this: Before the updates, the CX-5 was the best-driving vehicle in the compact SUV class, and that remains true. It stays incredibly flat in corners, the transmission is almost telepathically responsive, and the steering feel and weight are spot-on." -- Cars.com

Acceleration and Power

The redesigned 2017 CX-5 comes standard with a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. A manual transmission is no longer available. The CX-5 gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. With optional all-wheel drive, it gets 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Those estimates are a little above average for the class.

The CX-5 has adequate acceleration in most situations and can be enhanced through a Sport driving mode. Some rivals, however, offer more-powerful turbocharged engines.

  • Yet, as dynamically enjoyable as the CX-5 remains, it still isn't quick. It again makes do with a merely adequate naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four, even as many competitors have adopted smaller yet more powerful turbocharged engines. At least the 2.5-liter is now standard, as is a snappy six-speed automatic transmission. (Last year's base 2.0-liter engine, along with its manual-transmission option, is no more)" -- Car and Driver
  • At sea level, the CX-5 proved sprightly and had no trouble accelerating onto fast-moving freeways, especially after activating the Sport driving mode. At elevation, the engine felt winded when asked for maximum acceleration or passing power, almost begging for a turbocharger to help it cope with the thinner atmosphere." -- New York Daily News
  • "The throttle is also absolutely spot-on, the direct result of the same sort of painstaking fiddling that went into those door handles. The delay between what your foot does and how the engine reacts is quite literally impossible to detect by humans (there was another scientific study about that too), and since the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder is au naturel, it never has to deal with the sort of lag inherent to the turbocharged engines found in many competitors." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

The 2017 CX-5 has incredibly athletic handling and is simply a fun SUV to drive. Steering is precise through curves, and the CX-5 rides smoothly over rough pavement and bumps in the road. Front-wheel drive is standard in all CX-5s, and all-wheel drive is optional.

  • "Find a canyon road with plenty of curves and the Mazda will keep the smiles coming. The redesigned CX-5 still delivers the same rewarding experience as the old one with sharp steering response and agile handling. The crossover's sport mode really wakes up the transmission and if you're in sixth gear, it instantly drops to fourth. On undulating backroads, the gearbox will hold the gear you need and refrain from either upshifting or downshifting, which could upset your concentration or more importantly, the chassis. It's clear Mazda's engineers spent days driving on roads just like these." -- Autoweek
  • "We tested a top-line Grand Touring model, and it rode quite well on its 19-inch low-profile tires (the 'low-profile' part sometimes making for a slightly rougher ride; other models get 'taller' 17s), handled nicely, and was very quiet over bumps and on the highway." -- Consumer Guide
  • "What remains above the segment standard is the way the CX-5 moves down the road. Mazda told us the goal in tuning the new CX-5's suspension was for it to match the old one's athleticism. Where many other crossovers lean and flop, the Mazda carves a cleaner path with well-controlled body movements and genuinely sprightly handling. Keen to smooth out a ride that was previously on the firm side, Mazda says it now allows softer initial bump and body-roll compliance from the front dampers by reducing the units' friction. It also fits hydraulic bushings to the front lower suspension arms. Both tweaks introduce a newfound suppleness to the CX-5's ride quality, with the wheels cycling quickly over or into lumps and cracks in the road without tossing the body around." -- Car and Driver

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