• Car Review

2017 Mazda CX-5 Review

By Autolist Editorial | September 2, 2020

Quick Facts:


  • Sporty, best-in-class handling.
  • Near-luxury interior in higher trims.
  • Fresh redesign, added polish to an already great option.


  • Lacks the power of turbo competitors.
  • Better interior space in 2017, but still behind the competition.
  • Average gas mileage.

Would we buy one? Yes.

Vehicle Type: 4-door, 5-seat compact crossover.

Price Range: Pricing for the base Sport model Mazda CX-5 begins at an MSRP of $24,985, the mid-tier Touring model starts at $26,885, and top-tier Grand Touring trim starts at $30,355. Prices include destination charges, but no optional equipment.

Powertrain: All Mazda CX-5 models are powered by a SkyActiv 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine making 187 horsepower.

A 6-speed automatic transmission handles shifting in both standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive.

Competitors: Honda CR-V, Jeep Cherokee, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Rogue, and Volkswagen Tiguan.

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Overall Score: 7.7/10

Safety Features: 7/10


Standard safety features on all Mazda CX-5 models include front and side airbags, stability control, rear view camera, and Smart City Brake Support, which can automatically apply the brakes to avoid low-speed collisions.

More safety equipment is available on Touring and Grand Touring trim level CX-5s. This includes rain sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

The IIHS awarded the 2017 Mazda CX-5 a Top Safety Pick+ when properly equipped. In IIHS crash tests, the CX-5 received the highest Good rating, however the NHTSA rates the Mazda CX-5 only 4 of 5 stars due to rear seat, side impact results.

Value: 8/10


The Mazda CX-5 Sport trim offers quality value at a reasonable price. It comes equipped with air conditioning, keyless entry, and push button start, along with other tech and safety features mentioned elsewhere in this article.

The CX-5 touring trim adds standard dual-zone climate control with rear vents, heated front seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, power adjustable driver's seat, and leatherette upholstery.

Top-of-the-line Grand Touring Trim includes a sunroof, leather seats, and makes many optional features available. For a near luxury experience at a compelling value, select the Premium Package which adds a heated steering wheel and rear seats. It's not just about the features though; the design, materials, and quality in the Mazda CX-5 feels above the rest of the class, while pricing is in line with the competition.

Tech Features: 8/10


A 7.0-inch touchscreen runs the infotainment system on all trim levels of the Mazda CX-5, which is Bluetooth and hands-free voice control capable. Other standard tech includes a 4 speaker audio system, 2 front seat USB ports, an auxiliary jack, and HD Radio. Even the base Sport trim can be optioned with a built in navigation system, a feature often reserved for higher trims.

The middle-tier Touring trim adds 2 additional speakers, 2 USB ports for rear seat passengers as standard features, and opens up an optional Bose 10 speaker sound system, and power liftgate. In Grand Touring trim, the Bose audio system and power liftgate become standard, as well as satellite radio.

Practicality: 7/10


Mazda worked hard to make the new CX-5 more practical than the outgoing model. That includes true fold-flat rear seats, and more rear seat adjustment. The Mazda CX-5 also has more storage spaces throughout the cabin to hold personal items.

The Mazda CX-5, though improved, still trails class leaders in rear seat legroom, and overall space. Though, with 30.9 cubic feet of space behind the seats, and nearly 60 cubic feet with the seats folded away, the CX-5's fun to practicality ratio is actually quite solid.

Styling & Design: 8/10


Mazda fully redesigned the interior and exterior of the CX-5 for the 2017 model year. The exterior has a larger grille with a bit of a forward tilt, for a very aggressive look, complimented by newly designed LED headlights.

Inside, the Mazda hits above its class with one of the best designed and most refined interiors available. Mazda also made several changes including more sound deadening and new door seals, to bring cabin noise down to luxury levels of quiet. The interior is well thought out, and as previously mentioned, feels near-luxury. One mark against the CX-5 is its slightly cramped backseat, not as roomy as many in the compact SUV segment.

Driving Experience: 9/10


The Mazda CX-5 delivers best-in-class handling. The suspension is well tuned to deliver a smooth ride, but also genuinely great steering. Mazda's G-vectoring Control uses tricky tech to deliver sporty, almost carlike, levels of precision.

Aside from handling, the 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder engine is slightly underpowered, especially against turbo options in the segment, making the Mazda CX-5 feel slow in a straight line. Reviewers like the crisp shifting of the six-speed automatic, a bright spot especially when compared to competitors with a CVT.

Fuel Efficiency: 7/10


The Mazda CX-5 gets an EPA estimated fuel economy of 31 mpg highway, 24 mpg city, and 27 combined mpg in standard FWD trim.

When optioned with AWD drivetrain, the Mazda CX-5's fuel economy drops lightly to 29 hwy mpg, 23 city, and 26 combined.

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