2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring Review

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] The best handling affordable CUV in America? Yup.

    [​IMG]Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – July 26, 2016

    2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring (GT) AWD - $29,470 to start while offering owners a 24/30 mpgUS city/highway rating. Our weekly drive is priced at $33,935 as driven.

    Proving how in demand this CUV is, TrueCar is showing a maximum discount of just $1,500 on the East coast and just $1000 in the Midwest and the West coast. This is during an era where full-size Pickups and CUVs can be found with $6k to $12k on the hood!

    As a primmer to the 2016 Mazda CX-5s details, last month 63 percent of Mazda’s CUVs - includes the CX-3, CX-5 and CX-9 – incorporates Mazda’s i-ACTIV All-Wheel Drive systems. I will not be using that attribute in 80 to 100 degree temps currently being experienced in the Midwest currently however.

    Adding to the CX-5s advanced AWD hardware is the fluid KODO “Soul of Motion” design language. It looks fast when parked and to this day, Mazda’s vertical 5-point grille tied into the aggressive wrap around lenses and very angular lower chin spoiler is one of if not the best looking automotive face in the business.

    The 2016 refresh brought a new grille and fog light surrounds.

    2016 Mazda CX-5 Exterior


    The CX-5 with YTD sales of 51,611 vehicles has displaced the long sales leading 3 as Mazda’s number one seller in the U.S.. A trend seen across many marques. See the Mazda June 2016 Sales Down 3.8% with 26,188 Vehicles Sold sales report for more detail.

    From the 2016 Mazda CX-5 Mild Refresh and Pricing Announced story, the exterior, interior, appointments, excellent ride and handling dynamics, and safety features were all improved. So much so that my wife was/still is considering one to replace her own aging 03 Acura MDX. Why? How about much better looking exterior/interior, a more solid build, better ride and handling qualities, far more modern amenities, safer, easier to drive, and on top of all that, over $10k less than she paid for the MDX almost 13 years ago!

    Another comparison is the 03 MDXs 98.5 cu. ft. of passenger volume is down from the 2016 CX-5s 102.3 cu. ft. spec! Cargo Volume shows an advantage for the MDX at 44.4 cu. ft. vs. the CX-5s 34.1 cu. ft. but as an empty nester, the almost unusable 3rd row and extra 10 cu. ft. of cargo was not going to be missed.

    2016 Mazda CX-5 Rear Cargo Volume

    Very useable cargo volume.​

    More to the point, driving and parking the larger exterior footprint MDX for little to no gain in utility or comfort in Southern California has proven to be a detriment time and time again. She has yet to pull the trigger…

    So what does $33k buy you? This week’s ride without any additional options starts at $29,470 and includes 19” alloys, power sunroof w/ shade, rain sensing front wipers, heated power mirrors with integrated signals, leather seats, heated front seats, wheel and shift knob, audio, CC and BT wheel controls, 8-way pwr driver’s seat, proximity key, dual zone auto climate, 9-speaker BOSE audio w SAT, 2 USB ports, 12V port, 7” high res center display with rear view camera and 40/20/40 split rear seats.

    On the safety front, the 16 CX-5 arrives with front, side and side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), ill Launch Assist (HLA), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Blind-spot Monitoring (BSM) and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

    Regarding its safety, the IIHS awarded the 2016 CX-5 its highest Top Safety Pick+ rating. The Government’s NHTSA Crash tests regimen rated it 4 stars of a maximum 5.

    2016 Mazda CX-5 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Crash test Rating


    2016 Mazda CX-5 NHTSA 4-Star Crash test Rating


    And then the fun stuff. In addition to the base Grand Touring CX-5, this one also included a cargo mat ($60), rear bumper guard ($100), roof rack ($275), and door sill plates ($125).

    Packages include:
    • GT-iActiveSense pkg. ($1,500) w/ radar Cruise Control (RCC), Smart Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Auto High Beam
    • GT Tech pkg. ($1,505) w/ NAVI, Smart City Brake, LED DRLs, LED Rear combination, Fogs and Adaptive LED headlamps
    All told, the as driven price incl. a $900 D&H charge is $33,935.

    July 26th, 2016 Mazda CX-5 GT as equipped above TrueCar Price Report


    A small note about the LEDs. The smaller CX-3 was rated by the IIHS as having the best headlights in the compact CUV segment with many brands falling far short. The same rating agency moved the CX-5s down a notch – possibly doing with higher height and more oncoming traffic glare- with a marginal rating but in practice, Mazda lamps have always proved to be superior to competitors and these adaptive LEDs are no different. Yesterday at dusk my mom commented that both lane markers were illuminated better than anything she has seen before and she also noticed the auto high beams dimming well before an oncoming car had turned onto the road or far in front whether coming or going. I would say these are the best lamps I have seen since the HIDs in the 09 BMW 335d we experienced on an overnight between Chicago and NY. Great cut off, the adaptive steers the light where you are heading and the light is so white it is better than daylight. Simply put, everyone including the Europeans and their super HIDs/LEDs need to catch up to the LEDs that Mazda provides on the GT trim with the Tech pkg.

    2016 Mazda CX-5 Interior

    Particular effort went into improving the interior quality with improved materials and more sound insulation. Since our last drive of the CX-5 back in 2013, a new electronic parking brake replaces hand brake, the center console, dashboard and armrest designs were updated.

    The upright seating of the CUV adds more comfort but the short front seat bottoms and short seat track to keep some leg room for rear seat passengers will hamper taller driver’s finding an optimal seating position for maximum comfort. While the seats are heavily bolstered, the foam seems to be of a softer design allowing them form to my shoulders and back better than our previous drives of the CX-5.

    The redesigned rear seats include a longer lower cushions for a more relaxed seating position.

    Inside it is also a bit quieter. Thanks for that Mazda!


    The Command Controller is also one of the best I have experienced in a modern vehicle. SO much so that I rarely reach for the touch screen display or control knobs. My wife being 9” shorter and the seat moved up has to reach back to control the same. Perfect for me, not so perfect for her.

    The 7” screen and its GUI is intuitive and easy to use but the NAVI GUI appears to be a generation behind the latest Garmin systems in other OEMs.

    The Audio is good but not blow me away great. I have heard better mid-trim systems in cars costing a lot less.


    2016 Mazda CX-5 Chassis

    At Mazda, Driving really does matter. Whatever low friction, geometry driven and highly tuned front and rear suspension magic is just damn good. Steering is not so light to be toy like but provides decent on-center feel and confident higher torque input at higher speeds. The only improvement I would like to see is a lower ratio rack as I find myself correcting with wheel inputs to keep it on my path while driving down the Interstate.

    The CX-5s darn near patented smooth, flat ride was improved with a new structure for the front and rear dampers and optimizing the bushing shapes for the front lower suspension control arms.

    I still do not know why Hyundai/Kia and Toyota have not yet hired the Mazda tuning team to fix their own low price offerings ride and handling traits. Not that they are bad, just they are not Mazda good.

    2016 Mazda CX-5 Drivetrain

    My personal favorite 155 hp 2.0L I4 is only available on the base Sport trim with the slick shifting 6-speed MT. That leaves the very powerful yet understated 184 hp and 185 ft-lb of torque, direct injected 2.5L I4. It is loud on first start from the outside due to those high pressure injectors ticking away but inside, muted solace is standard fare.

    I will be doing a top off to top off calibration drive to come up with an offset but after the 150 miles I have driven so far, throttle tip in is smooth and predictable and straight line performance is far beyond anything I would ever use.

    2016 Mazda CX-5


    That about does it for this excellent midsize CUV offering. And my wife? We are looking at the Tucson ECO due to its superior pricing and efficiency capabilities but deep down I know she wants the CX-5 instead.
  2. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    I really like the CX-5 and look forward to cross-shopping it when I get more serious about the car search. The Tucson with its little 1.6 turbo looks good to me as well for the same reasons but I'm not sure I want to deal with a dry plate DCT in daily traffic. I'll be interested in seeing what you make of the Mazda on the FE front.
    xcel likes this.
  3. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    Why do we have no hybrid drive or even gas-turbo engines from Mazda? It's a good looking SUV/CUV and I'm sure it handles beautifully, but they're not keeping up with their competitors in the engine dept.
    xcel likes this.
  4. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    I disagree. True they don't have a hybrid and their diesel will never pass US emissions regs without cheating. However, I don't think that downsized/turbocharged engines are the panacea for mainstream vehicle FE that we might have expected before they arrived en masse a few years ago.

    For example, a Tucson Eco AWD is rated only 1mpg better across the board (25/31/27) compared to a CX-5 AWD (24/30/26) despite the N/A engine being nearly a litre larger and being down one gear. A 2.5L Outback beats them both at 25/33/28 and that thing is still port injected! As far as the real world is concerned, I can tell you after 18 months with my first small turbo/DI engine that these are much more sensitive to how you drive them. High boost pressure and load requires a richer mix to prevent knock resulting in higher brake specific fuel consumption at power. (I only get the best out of this one if I bring my A-game, otherwise it's about as good as the larger engine that it replaced.) The average Joe racing from light to light isn't doing much better with a small turbo than he would with a well-sorted N/A engine such as Mazda builds, and may actually be worse off in some circumstances.

    But, if a small turbo engine is what you want, Mazda appears to be heading that direction anyway. The new CX-9 uses a 2.5L turbo that may be more advanced than its more established competitors. They're doing clever things with the turbo to produce a ridiculous 310lb-ft of torque despite the engine's relatively modest (for the vehicle class) 227-250hp rating depending on fuel grade. I'm sure Mazda will bring us more of that if they think it makes sense to do so. Then again, compare the Mazda's 21/27/23 rating to a 3.5L V6 Pilot with its 9AT at 19/26/22 in AWD trim. Honestly, I think the average consumer is benefiting from turbocharged torque output and drivability more than FE. (I would expect the likes of Wayne to do much better in turbocharged Mazda however.)

    I guess all I'm saying is be careful not to demand progress for progress's sake. Demand it if it is really better but don't discount the latest and greatest of what looks like "old" technology.
    xcel, RedylC94 and BillLin like this.

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