When you think of small crossover SUVs, the first thing that doesn’t come to mind is sporty and fun to drive. Most families buy an SUV for its cargo carrying ability, five door utility, all-weather capability and family friendly seating configurations. The Mazda CX-5 breaks the mold and delivers driving dynamics that could make this small SUV a game-changer for Mazda.
This past weekend we test drove the top of the lineup, 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD. ($29,470)
What’s New for 2016
The 2016 Mazda CX-5 receives a refresh with minor exterior styling tweaks, improved interior materials, revised suspension tuning, added sound insulation and an updated infotainment interface. New optional features include LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert and lane departure warning.
Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity is now standard.
CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Options
The 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD ($29,470) is the top of the lineup and this tester came with the optional GT I-ActiveSense Package for an additional $1,500. That includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic high beam headlight control. The Grand Touring Tech package ($1,505) features a navigation system, LED headlights, LED running lights, LED foglights, LED combination taillights and an auto-dimming rearview mirror and Smart City Brake Support.
Total MSRP with options and destination $34,140.
The CX-5 cabin has a simplicity to it that is highly attractive. It comes with a modern design that includes lots of soft touch materials that are high in quality. The Grand Touring model comes with more luxury items like leather sport seats, heated front seats and power everything!
It’s easy to find just the right driving position with its 8-way power driver’s seat and tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
The gauges are easy to read and the new 7-inch color touch screen infotainment system is much improved, although we did struggle figuring out how to change the radio station.
In the back, families will like the spacious seating and extra legroom in the CX-5. The rear seat can accommodate three kids and it features an innovative folding mechanism. On the Grand Touring, that lowers the seat bottom before folding the seatback on top.
This provides a near-flat load floor. With the seats up, there is 34.1 cubic feet of cargo space.
With the seats folded flat, there’s 64.8 cubic feet of cargo carrying ability.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The CX-5 Grand Touring comes equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with sport mode.
The CX-5 AWD models get an EPA estimated 24/30 city/highway 26 combined fuel mileage.
We test drove the new CX-5 up into the mountains of Colorado where the altitude and steep hills are a good proving ground for the small crossover. We pushed the 2.5-liter hard up I-70 and felt it was a bit underpowered. However, for most families who will use it on the flat, the CX-5 has plenty of power for that and most other driving situations.
In the city, the SUV handled like a much smaller vehicle and has a sporty character. For the commute, the driving dynamics are better than any other small crossover.
In tight mountain curves, the CX-5 has superior cornering ability for a vehicle in this class. The steering, brakes and suspension are all tuned for sport over comfort. The CX-5 is sporty and rates high on the fun to drive meter!
On the highway, the Mazda has a smooth comfortable ride and compares well with others in this segment. The six-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly and the Sport Mode allows the driver to experience those times, when more spirited driving is wanted.
What sets the 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring apart from the crowded small crossover field is its driving dynamics. The CX-5 offers a fun-to-drive personality with its precise steering and sporty handling.
The CX-5 features all the things families are looking for: comfort, utility, cargo carrying ability and good fuel mileage.
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