2017 Mazda CX-5 SUV Review

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 is quieter and more comfortable yet still fun to drive.
4 star edmunds overall rating
by Jason Kavanagh
Edmunds Editor
The Mazda CX-5, introduced for the 2013 model year, gave the world of small crossover SUVs a new dynamic benchmark. Not because it was the fastest of its kind, but because its routine handling and steering exhibited nuance. It was simply a crisper and more satisfying crossover to drive than rivals such as the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. And it didn't come at the expense of utility because the first-generation CX-5 had competitive amounts of room and cargo space. For the redesigned 2017 CX-5, Mazda has kept all of this intact while also giving this small crossover a more refined and upscale feel. This year's CX-5 is more comfortable and quiet to drive on the highway. Mazda has also upgraded the cabin materials, and the result is downright beautiful. Additional convenience features have been added, especially for the range-topping Grand Touring trim, which has proven especially popular among CX-5 trim levels. Notably, forward collision warning with automatic low-speed emergency braking is now standard on all CX-5s. Before, it was optional. Overall, we're impressed with the 2017 Mazda CX-5. It's a more grown-up compact crossover than its predecessor, yet it doesn't cede any ground in its hallmark driver-centric nature. If you're looking for a small, affordable crossover that feels as if it should cost considerably more, the 2017 Mazda CX-5 is a good first stop.

what's new

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 has been fully redesigned. Though its dimensions haven't changed, it's smoother and quieter to drive. Other improvements include sharper styling, a more upscale cabin and some new features. Its engine and automatic transmission are largely carried over, though last year's manual transmission is no longer available.

we recommend

Don't be fooled by the Sport billing of the base CX-5 trim level. It's no more sporty than the rest of the CX-5 range. The sweet spot is the Touring trim: It retains the 17-inch wheels (which we like) of the base Sport model and adds many comfort and convenience items. We'd leave it at that. The Preferred Equipment package has a sound system that will appeal to audiophiles but includes a sunroof, which takes away some headroom. Go for the all-wheel-drive model only if you frequent slippery conditions often. It's a great system but costs extra and takes a minor toll on fuel economy.

trim levels & features

Mazda offers the 2017 CX-5 crossover in four trim levels: Sport, Touring, Grand Select and Grand Touring. All have front-wheel drive and offer all-wheel drive as an option. The sole engine choice is a non-turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder (187 hp, 185 lb-ft of torque), which is mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard equipment includes keyless entry and ignition, a 7-inch touchscreen, a backup camera and a 40/20/40-split folding backseat that reclines.

Sport models are the base variant. In addition to the above, the Sport comes with 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, cloth upholstery, a four-speaker sound system, Bluetooth and two USB ports. It's not quite bare-bones, but if you want anything beyond this, you have to step up to the next trim level.

Touring models add a pretty big dose of comfort items that most buyers will find appealing. Included are full keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats with lumbar adjustment and simulated leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-way power-adjustable driver seat, two additional speakers and two more USB ports. It also receives additional driver assistance features such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Two option packages are also available.

The Grand Select variant goes even further in the luxury direction, adding 19-inch wheels, automatic turn-swiveling headlights, a moonroof, a power liftgate, automatic wipers, leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, auto-dimming mirrors, a premium Bose audio system, a navigation system and satellite radio. The Grand Touring includes all of the above, along with additional standard safety features that include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and mitigation, lane keeping assist and automatic high beams. An option package for the Grand Touring adds a heated steering wheel, heated outboard rear seats, a head-up display and a power front passenger seat.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our Full Test of the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring (2.5L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.0 / 5.0


4.0 / 5.0

Acceleration3.0 / 5.0
Braking3.5 / 5.0
Steering5.0 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0
Drivability3.5 / 5.0


4.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.0 / 5.0
Climate control4.5 / 5.0


4.0 / 5.0

Ease of use4.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.5 / 5.0
Driving position5.0 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.0 / 5.0
Quality5.0 / 5.0


4.5 / 5.0

Small-item storage5.0 / 5.0
Cargo space4.0 / 5.0


edmunds rating
Mazda's penchant for handling prowess is alive and well in the CX-5. If your commute involves any twists or turns, you might not consider any other crossover. Just don't expect to get anywhere fast; the CX-5 thrust is ultimately meek when you really push it. Otherwise, it's an easy car to live with.


edmunds rating
The 2.5-liter provides underwhelming acceleration from a stop or while moving. Overtaking on the highway requires some planning. A sprint from zero to 60 mph on our test track took 8.7 seconds, quick against rivals with similar engines. However, many vehicles in this class offer upgraded engines.


edmunds rating
It's easy to bring the CX-5 to a smooth stop with the moderate pedal firmness and predictable brake effort. It took 121 feet to stop from 60 mph, an average stopping distance in this class.


edmunds rating
Steering is weighted a bit heavier than in most crossovers, reflecting the CX-5's sporting intentions. It's never difficult to turn, however, and parking lot maneuvers are executed with ease. A slight buildup of effort at higher speeds helps you know exactly where the wheels are pointed.


edmunds rating
This is where the CX-5 excels. Since it's sharp and communicative, you can take corners at speeds greater than rivals without squealing tires or feeling as if you're out of control. The car is unfazed by quick left-to-right transitions. This is the best-handling small crossover. No doubt about it.


edmunds rating
The transmission doesn't immediately jump into the highest gear possible under moderate acceleration, which helps with everyday drivability. It's reluctant to downshift, waiting until you really give it the beans. In Sport mode, the transmission hangs onto gears until you totally back off the gas.


edmunds rating
The CX-5 has a comfortable cabin that most people will find quite pleasant. Noise levels are low and the climate control system excels. A few minor annoyances — a ride that's firm and a rear bench with little thigh support — keep it from being the ultimate passenger-friendly vehicle.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The front seats are shaped well and envelop the body comfortably, though the side bolsters squish to the side during hard cornering. The rear bench is flat on the bottom, which might make long-distance driving uncomfortable for rear-seat passengers. However, the rear seatback can now recline.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
The suspension setup that makes the CX-5 a world-class handler also gives it a ride quality that is firmer than what you'll find in other compact crossovers. However, midcorner bumps barely faze the CX-5, and it never feels floaty. Road imperfections are dealt with immediately.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
Noise isn't an omnipresent issue; wind and tire noise is really only evident at highway speeds. Even then, you won't have to raise your voice to talk to passengers. Engine noise is apparent from moderate to heavy acceleration. Sport mode hangs onto gears, prolonging the raucous note.

climate control

edmunds rating
The dual-zone automatic climate control system works well to keep temperatures constant, aided by the Touring's rear air vents. Heated front seats are toasty in the highest setting, and the heated steering wheel warms quickly. Controls for the rear-seat heaters are awkwardly located in the armrest.


edmunds rating
The cabin is very much driver-oriented, with excellent visibility and a superb driving position (the short center console and wide gap between the brake and dead pedals are a boon for tall drivers). It's slightly less friendly to backseat passengers since there's less room than in some rivals.

ease of use

edmunds rating
All controls are within the driver's reach. The center display loses touchscreen ability while the car is moving (it's controlled by an easy-to-use knob near the shifter) and doesn't wash out in sunlight. The driver armrests aren't tall enough to rest your elbow and still grip the steering wheel.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
Step-in height is a couple inches taller than that of most cars in this segment, but most people will find it easy to enter the CX-5. The tall doors mean you don't have to duck. Exiting is also simple, though passengers sitting behind tall front occupants might have to scrunch their legs to leave.

driving position

edmunds rating
The driver's seat offers a lot of vertical adjustment, from low-slung (for a crossover) to bury-your-head-in-the-roof. The front of the seat bottom raises fairly high, offering plenty of support on long-distance drives. The steering wheel also offers a nice range of tilt-and-telescoping adjustment.


edmunds rating
The CX-5 feels spacious up front, and there's enough headroom for tall folks all around even with the sunroof. Rear passengers might feel cramped by the sculpted outboard seats, which also make it difficult for an adult to sit in the middle. Rear legroom is a little tight.


edmunds rating
An elevated driving position, tall windows and narrow pillars make this an easy car to see out of. The exception is in the three-quarters view; the window is a bit smaller than those of competitors but provides a decent view to limit blind spots. Standard backup camera provides a high-def rear view.


edmunds rating
There's not a single cheap-feeling trim piece in the CX-5 Grand Touring. All materials, from the leather upholstery to rarely used switchgear, feel expensive. The only disappointments are the malleable side bolsters that rub against the center console in turns. Everything else is exceptional.


edmunds rating
Cargo area is a little small for the class, but you still get the capacity expected from a crossover. The rear seats fold nearly flat at a pull of the remote release latches. The cargo cover is cleverly attached to the hatch, so you don't have to bend over and shove items in. Seats fold 40/20/40.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
Storage spaces abound, with every door sporting spacious pockets with water bottles cutouts. The center bin is deep but not especially wide, though there's a secondary bin in front of the shifter for extra storage. There's a shallow tray inside the rear armrest complete with USB ports.

cargo space

edmunds rating
The cargo area is a bit smaller than in competitors, but we were able to fit two large suitcases without impeding rear visibility. The loading height is a little taller than many in this class, and the door opening height is a little shorter. We dig the nifty retracting door-mounted cargo cover.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
Four slots on the outboard seats allow access to the LATCH anchors. It's easy to push past the slots, but the anchors are inset a bit. The tethers on the seatback are easy to reach, even with the cargo cover in place; push down on the plastic tab that keeps stuff concealed to access the tether.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.