Danielle Assenheimer

Spunk: 2016 Mazda CX-5

Originally launched in 2012, Mazda’s CX-5 was the first model to embrace Mazda’s KODO design language. The Mazda CX-5 has been refreshed for 2016. Mazda has made a number of improvements to hold its place as a frontrunner in the crossover market. In the competitive world of crossovers, it means nothing short of their A-game will do. Mazda hopes a trend of smaller, continuous improvements, over the model life will keep the CX-5 relevant.

Mazda CX5 2

Mazda kept the exterior design clean and simple.  For 2016, Mazda has created a bolder and more athletic look with a new front grille, redone headlamps, rear combination lamps featuring an LED lighting signature, a new 19-inch wheel design and a few additional body colors. The 19-inch wheels are a sharp new option that compliments the design over the standard 17-inch wheels. Vitality and dynamism are key components to the KODO design, according to Mazda. In terms of the CX-5, this means a front end with presence, a more athletic stance, and pushing the A-pillars back to give the appearance of a more compact cabin. Our tester came in Soul Red, an extra cost option with the new 19-inch wheels. The CX-5 has a great urban flair with an updated exterior that doesn’t go unnoticed.

Mazda CX5 4

If you think the exterior is nice, wait until you check out the interior. The 2016 Mazda CX-5 exudes quality and functionality at its best. The two-tone parchment and black leather interior is eye-catching and the contrast stitching finishes the look. MAZDA CONNECT, their exclusive infotainment system has a German-like feel given the center console placement of the control knob. It’s a functional system. We only experienced slight trouble with the navigation system; its 3D feature was cool but wouldn’t always zoom in enough to make the directions clear. New safety tech has also been added to the new CX-5. It now has available blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, collision-mitigating braking and speed-adjusting radar cruise control as part of the i-ActivSense Package.

Who wouldn’t want a crossover SUV that drives like a car? The Mazda CX-5 is one of the most agile SUVs out there. For 2016 there are two powertrain options—the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G direct-injection gasoline engines. Mazda also offers a six-speed manual transmission, which is quite uncommon in this segment. Our tester came with the optional 2.5-liter engine providing 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. During our week with the CX-5 we managed an acceptable 25 mpg combined. With AWD, it’s rated 24 city, 30 highway with a combined rating of 26mpg. In terms of ability, it was adequate but far from lively.  Even in sport mode, it felt sluggish. However, what it lacks in speed it makes up for in handling. The CX-5 feels precise and corners with confidence; you would hardly know you were driving an SUV.

Mazda CX5 5

Mazda believes in continuous improvement with the CX-5, and its a smart approach. It prevents the need of big overhauls and keeps the CX-5 relevant in a market that is constantly changing. The 2016 Mazda CX-5 offers the latest technology such as their SKYACTIV-DRIVE which allows the driver to change drive modes and MAZDA CONNECT, their infotainment system that provides a number of customizable features. It’s the first vehicle in Mazda’s lineup to adopt both SKYACTIV technology and KOD. It will be interesting to see what’s in store next for this innovative SUV.

-Danielle Assenheimer

2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD
$29,470
Soul Red paint $650
Grand Touring Tech Package $1,505
i-ActivSense Package $1,500
Cargo Mat $60
Rear Bumper Guard $100
Retractable Cargo Cover $200
Door Sill Trim Plates $125
Destination Charges $880
As Tested MSRP $34,140

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