| Dean Kassim |
MAZDA has been acclaimed worldwide for its dynamic design, responsive driving feel and excellent environmental and safety performance.
Its previous-generation CX-5 was the first Mazda to shepherd in the ‘KODO’ design language and SKYACTIV powertrains, and this new model very much continues that theme. At the front, skinnier headlights are supported by chrome strips running across the bottom of the now wider grille, while the car’s profile and rear are refreshingly simple and clutter-free – a design characteristic Mazda calls “advanced toughness”.
At first glance, the new 2017 Mazda CX-5 might still look like its predecessor, but dig deeper below the surface of initial impressions, and you will find that substantial changes have indeed been made: The new CX-5 is in fact now both longer and lower than the outgoing model.
Despite its much-publicised touchups, the 2017 Mazda CX-5 is not entirely new, and 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 reviewed technologies is more than enough change already.
Mazda CX-5 Programme Manager, Masaya Kodama commented on the new model, “Our dream is to create an emotional connection with customers and become an essential part of their lives. We have worked to strengthen the feeling of connection between car and driver, creating human-centred cars that operate in harmony with human sensibilities.”
Mazda in Japan recently gave me the opportunity to test drive the car at its proving ground, the Mine Circuit.
The test drive was divided into three categories: Circuit Course, Jinba Ittai, and G-Vectoring Control (GVC) Experience.
The words “agile” and “pleasure” came up the most in reviews given by my fellow colleagues during the test drive. Mazda has placed emphasis on the G-Vectoring Control (GVC) during the test drive and advised drivers to be seated properly while driving so as not to cause their bodies to tense up.
So what can be said of the driving experience? Well for starters, the new CX-5 was really comfortable for both driver and passenger, even when cornering at speed.
As for driving uphill, the new car’s acceleration is really responsive – even the 2.0L model travels up slopes easily. You can barely hear any noise from the engine.
Kodama and his team also worked to minimise cabin noise. Sound-absorbing materials have been used for this purpose. After drive testing the old and new CX-5s, I found that the new model seemed quieter and more refined.
For the new CX-5, every aspect of performance had been further polished to provide a truly pleasing experience to not only the driver, but also all riding in it. Mazda’s efforts in improving the new car, in terms of refinements to the powertrain and handling, ride comfort and quietness, has resulted in a car that is not only lively in terms of performance, but also a joy to drive.
The chassis of the CX-5 had always been meant to be in the spotlight, with outright performance being a lower priority. Power for the new CX-5 comes courtesy of Mazda’s familiar 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, which yields 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque in the current model.
Mazda said that the new CX-5 has also evolved their award-winning KODO: Soul of Motion design language to appeal to its drivers’ senses. “Refined Toughness” is now the keyword, with the three pillars of “mature physique”, “elegant form”, and “fine fit and finish” serving as the basis of the new CX-5’s exterior and interior design.
With a stylish interior design and features made from high quality craftsmanship – from the leather seats to the intuitive controls in the driver’s cockpit, the new CX-5 truly delivers a sensational and pleasurable driving experience.
All in all, the 2017 Mazda CX-5 is a straightforward car, but Mazda has done a great job in transforming the simple into an excellent, yet not overly sophisticated piece of machine.