Mazda would like you to believe the 2017 CX-5 is all new. It isn’t. This latest version of the compact crossover SUV is, for the most part, mechanically identical to the vehicle that first arrived on our shores as a 2013 model.
Riding on an updated version of the same platform as before, the CX-5 sees the biggest changes in its exterior and interior styling. Outside, the crossover wears the latest evolution of Mazda’s Kodo design language, including a striking (and massive) grille up front. Chrome detailing surrounds the lower portion of the new maw and merges with the lower portion of the headlights.
Aside from its mug, the rest of the 2017 CX-5’s design is much tamer. The front fender lines flow into the doors in a way that’s reminiscent of the smaller Mazda CX-3, a thick chrome piece defines the lower portion of the CX-5’s window line, and the A-pillars are now pushed slightly farther rearward. At the rear, the changes are so minor as to be insignificant.
In spite of its new body panels, exterior dimensions are largely the same. Sitting on the same 106.3-inch wheelbase as its predecessor, the new CX-5 sees a minuscule growth spurt of 0.4 and 0.1 inch to its overall length and width, respectively. Mazda, however, claims that the vehicle’s center of gravity has been lowered, which should make the already fun-to-drive CX-5 that much more of a thrill to pilot.
Inside, an updated cabin shares design details with the larger Mazda CX-9, while the rear seats gain a new reclining function, available seat heaters, and HVAC vents located at the rear of the center console. Other new features include a 4.6-inch color display in the gauge cluster as well as a head-up display. A lower beltline should improve upon the current CX-5’s excellent visibility. Interior dimensions are said to be much the same as before; however, the new CX-5’s packaging does result in a slightly larger cargo hold.
Power for the new CX-5 comes courtesy of Mazda’s familiar 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque in the current model, as well as a new-to-our-shores 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. The latter will be available in late 2017. Currently available in non-U.S.-spec CX-5s, the engine shovels out approximately 170 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque in its most powerful form. No matter the engine, a six-speed automatic transmission is expected to be the sole gearbox offered, while Mazda’s trick G-Vectoring Control, a system that improves steering response by gently reducing torque to the drive wheels on initial turn-in, is added to the mix. We’ve been told that the 2.0-liter engine from the last CX-5 won’t be offered here this time around; we have heard, however, that the six-speed manual transmission (which was exclusive to the 2.0-liter) may still be offered.
Although the 2017 Mazda CX-5 may not be completely new, that’s not a bad thing. Given our appreciation of the current CX-5’s smooth ride, lively dynamics, and comfortable and ergonomically friendly interior, the latest model’s fresh looks and revised technologies may be change enough for one of our favorite compact crossovers.