High expectations for the 2016 Mazda CX-5.
This is a review and it’s going to be biased. Here’s why. I loved the 2016 Mazda CX-5. Let me just get that out of the way, upfront. This way, as you’re reading, have in the back of your mind that I fell in love with this vehicle on the very first day. And maybe I’ll convince you to feel the same way.
I expected to like the Mazda CX-5 after I fell in love with the Mazda 3 earlier this year. It was sporty and fun and cleverly designed on the interior but just a wee bit small for me and my large family of three.
Okay, it wasn’t too small for me or my family because we don’t need a lot of space. We don’t play heavy duty sports requiring a lot of gear. But we do travel. And if it’s a road trip, we need room for the three of us, our bags, and our dogs. And if we’re going somewhere by plane, we still need the room for all of our luggage.
But let me just be honest. I like big cars and I cannot lie. Since 2000, I’ve had no less than three crossover/SUV type vehicles and while sedans are a nice change of pace, I miss the ease of the cargo space for a larger vehicle.
The best of both worlds
Here’s where the Mazda CX-5 offered me the best of both worlds. In the Grand Touring package, which is how my CX-5 came equipped, the cargo space is a comfortable 34.1 cubic feet or you can fold all of the rear seats completely flat for a luxurious 65.4 cubic feet. IKEA, here I come!
While my short trip to Walmart doesn’t really show you the full capacity of the cargo space, it was more than adequate for every day shopping and seemed easily capable of those weekend runs to Home Depot. I loved that you could even choose to fold the rear armrest flat if you simply needed extra space for a longer item.
As for converting it from upright to flat? It was as simple as pulling a lever and watching the seats fall.
I loved the ease and versatility of the cargo space.
But, Fadra, you say, you already said you didn’t need a lot of space in your life so why else do you love the Mazda CX-5?
Great question. Glad you asked. Because, while I love the exterior design (it looks like a stretched Mazda3) and the roominess of the interior, it’s the technology upfront that wins me over every time. Mazda, for me, has the easiest and most user-friendly cabin out there. Let me show you what I mean.
At first glance, you might notice that the dashboard doesn’t look terribly complex and the windshield is rather large. What I see is that it’s easy for a short girl like me to have complete visibility while driving and easy access to the controls without having to take my eyes off the road.
As is the trend with many cars these days, a lot of the controls can be managed on the main screen situated in the center of the console. From the driver’s seat, I could easily access the screen and the environmental controls.
But what I loved most is that I could also do it with my right hand with what Mazda calls the “multi-function commander control.” I think I like that. COMMANDER CONTROL!!
While you can still use the touch screen, I prefer the commander control, which allows you to scroll through the options on the screen with the twist of a wheel and make a selection simply by pressing the wheel. You’ll also find push button shortcuts for commonly accessed functions like music, navigation, and home. For me, this is the most user-friendly design I’ve seen out there; it emulates the movements of a computer mouse, something that is second nature to many of us. Additionally, it reduces the amount of time and energy I have to take away from keeping my eyes on the road.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. You find luxuries like USB connections and memory card slots.
Heated seat (a must for me).
Electronic parking brake (which I hated at first but now I’ve come to love).
And a full set of controls on the steering wheel.
But the bottom line for me is that it’s pretty and roomy (and pretty roomy) both inside and out.
What We Loved
- Outstanding value
- Safety features like blind spot monitoring, dynamic stability control, traction control system, rear cross traffic alert come standard on the CX-5
- The commander control gives amazing usability to the driver
- Rear seats fold completely flat with the ease of a lever
- With the Grand Touring Tech package, the vehicle is nicely equipped with a navigation system, LED headlights, adaptive front lighting, and smart city brake support
- Average fuel economy is estimated at 26 mpg; for city driving during the week I got approxmately 19.8 mpg
What You Need to Know
- The CX-5 is available in four trims, including a manual transmission (a rarity these days!)
- Pricing starts as low as $21,795; as equipped, the 2016 CX-5 Grand Touring AWD that I reviewed had an MSRP of $32,340
- No third row is available but this car comfortably seats 4-5 passengers
This vehicle was provided for a one week test drive in order to facilitate this review.