PAS S ING LANE I CHARL E S DONALDSON 2016 MAZDA CX-5 Athletic and Bold! I was talking yesterday with a young woman in her late 20s and the next vehicle on her shopping list was either an SUV or Crossover. She wanted to be free to take off camping or on a road trip with confidence, knowing she could handle most terrains. Women, and quite honestly, I too, enjoy the extra seating height that you get with SUVs and Crossovers. That said, let’s not forget the extra versatility and cargo capacity. One excellent choice in this very competitive market is the 2016 Mazda CX-5. The Mazda CX-5 is heading into its fourth year and for 2016, this Mazda has been slightly updated with styling improvements and touches of refinement. Some of the changes for 2016 include a new grille, new 19” alloy wheel design on the Grand Touring trim, electronic parking brake replaces hand brake, and Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio on the Sport model. The mid-size crossover segment is crowded with fellow classmates including the Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4. For 2016, the Mazda CX-5 is featured in three trim levels: Sport ($22,083), Touring ($25,400), and Grand Touring ($28,316). The Sport is now equipped with the SKYACTIV-G 2.5L engine that replaces the 2.0L on the Sport automatic transmission FWD model, where the manual transmission models keep the 2.0L. All other models come with the SKYACTIV-G 2.5L engine and a 6-speed 24 A L I V E E A S T B A Y j u l y 2 0 1 6 automatic transmission. All trim levels come standard with Front Wheel Drive and are available in All Wheel Drive. Only the Sport trim is available with a 6-speed manual transmission. Mazda is known for taking the sporty design elements of its sedans and incorporating them into their crossover vehicles. The CX-5 is no exception with its bold lines and athletic stance, big wheel arches, and a rising window line. The roofline runs similar to the recently unveiled CX-3 model – raised at the front as it melts into the rear hatch. The interior is layered in soft-touch surfaces and premium materials that adorn the cabin. Cloth upholstery is standard; however, real leather is an available option. My test model was the Grand Touring in two-tone white and black with luxury seats. Other manufacturers have a tendency to overload a vehicle with low-end materials like replica wood trim. The CX-5 does not follow this trend which helps contribute to its upscale interior. Mazda upgraded the CX-5’s info-tainment system for 2016, which includes a new 7-inch touch screen. The 2016 Mazda CX-5 seats four adults and one child comfortably. In the back seat, the middle bench is best reserved for smaller individuals. A child might fit best here. Behind the rear seats, the CX-5 can hold up to 34.1 cubic feet of cargo and with the rear seats folded, the capacity increases to 64.8 cubic feet.
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