2016 Mazda CX-5 VIDEO REVIEW
2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD VIDEO REVIEW by Auto Critic Steve Hammes
A restyled front end with LED headlights painted in a uniquely hued Sonic Silver, an updated center stack and console design featuring the MazdaConnect infotainment system plus the addition of the iActiveSense suite of safety electronics highlight what’s new about one of Mazda’s hottest sellers; the 2016 CX-5 SUV.
The Mazda3 and CX-5 make up the lion’s share of company sales accounting for 7 out of every 10 Mazdas sold. And though the CX-5 will never compete on volume with the likes of the CR-V, its solidness as a small sport-utility allows it to play the role of David against a gaggle of Goliaths.
When the CX-5 arrived on the scene 3 years ago it looked great but was underpowered. Mazda quickly fixed that by putting the larger 2.5-liter engine in all but the base Sport model. And that’s when the CX-5 really started to hit its stride leading to this 2016 Grand Touring model which now comes better equipped to take on the likes of the CR-V Touring and Ford Escape Platinum. The CX-5 still hangs its hat on the infusion of Mazda racing DNA by skewing more driver-oriented but it’s the addition of all the other stuff that makes it a more likeable small SUV.
The KODO design, as Mazda calls it, still looks fresh and the styling updates give it an even more polished and modern look including these imposing new 19” wheels. And I love the Sonic Silver Metallic paint; 1 of 2 new choices this year. From a driving and occupant perspective, Mazda has further refined the interior with seats designed for better comfort and snugness, lengthened rear seat bottoms and a 10% reduction in cabin noise when traveling at highway speeds. Some previous ride harshness has been ameliorated with tweaks to the suspension and overall, the 2016 CX-5 imparts a welcome step-up in quality and refinement.
The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder SKYACTIV engine makes 184 horsepower and comes paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, doing a gratifying job of balancing enthusiastic driving with fuel efficiency. Its combination of a non-turbocharged engine and traditional automatic give it an edge in drivability plus this all-wheel drive model returns a legit 26mpg combined. A new sport mode affects the gearing to extract more zoom-zoom from the experience. With a tuned driving feel and appreciable handling, it speaks to the very fiber of Mazda’s being.
MAZDA Connect can be controlled via touch, knob or voice and looks a bit rudimentary without any kind of OnStar-like connection service though is relatively easy to navigate with a fine package of features. I’d put it in the next tier of systems after the industry leaders from Chrysler, Hyundai and Kia.
Once you opt for the Grand Touring model you can add the Tech Package for about $1,500 which bundles the navigation system, adaptive LED headlights which pivot in the direction of travel, matching LED foglights, rain sensing wipers and Smart City Brake Support that automatically brakes the CX-5 in slow speed conditions if it senses a collision is imminent. For $1,500 more, i-ACTIVESENSE adds in radar-based cruise control, lane departure warning, Smart Brake Support which works at higher speeds to prevent collisions and auto high-beam control. Blind spot monitoring, a back-up cam, and rear cross traffic alert are already standard. This comprehensive suite of safety electronics takes the MSRP of the Grand Touring AWD from $30,350 to $33,840 as tested.
Concerning cargo room, the CX-5 has levers in the back to drop the 40/20/40 rear seats but it requires some wrangling to make them drop flat. With them down, there’s 65 cubic feet of cargo volume, about 5 feet less than in the CR-V. The rear seats neither slide nor recline yet provide comfortable spaciousness. A nifty cargo cover attaches to the rear hatch glass.
Honda may sell 3 times as many CR-Vs as Mazda sells CX-5s but in terms of desirability, the playing field is arguably even.