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What’s Hot: With the exception of some minor updates to the grille made when the vehicle was introduced in February 2015, the CX-5 is basically a carryover. A 2016 5 model was introduced in January 2016 with a few minor content changes. The five-seater compact crossover is available in three trims, with either a front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration.

The base model can be powered by a manual or an automatic transmission, while the other trims are only available with an automatic transmission. The five passenger crossover, with its stylish design that is referred to as the KODA internally, is available with two engines, a 155-and a 184-horsepower engine. This is one of the few crossovers still available with a manual transmission.

We were fortunate to get our hands on the peppier 2.5-liter, 184-horsepower engine that was equipped with many of today’s must-have convenience features. While our vehicle lacked the latest safety driving aids that move toward autonomous driving, a safety package is available for an extra $1500. Those features include a radar-activated cruise control system, a forward collision warning braking system, a lane departure warning system, an automatic high beam headlight system. The $1500 investment also requires the optional technology package, which was on our test vehicle.

The CX-5 also takes on Mazda’s fun-to-drive nature, with its sporty handling characteristics and engaging steering system. The vehicle provides great visibility too, due to its seating height.

What’s Not: Mazda’s product planners in charge of content need to go back to the drawing board to reexamine how they package the CX-5, when compared to their newest and smallest entry, the CX-3 compact crossover.

The base model CX-3, the brand’s new entry-level crossover, was equipped with a standard rear back-up camera and a 6-speaker audio system, while the larger and pricier CX-5 lacked a standard rear camera and had just the 4-speaker audio system on the base model?

Go figure. (To address this issue, the 2016 5 model is now standard on all trims levels equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission). It costs roughly $3,000 to get the latest safety self-driving advancements. Mazda should consider repacking the content, making it more affordable and available on all trims.

 Drive Or Drive By?;  The CX-5, with its prominent signature grille and truck-like height, is one of the most engaging driver-oriented crossovers in its class. Unlike most of the vehicles in the segment, the CX-5 offers a choice of two four-cylinder engines. The vehicle offers a variety of trims and features, allowing the driver to equip the vehicle with everything from basic features to the latest high-tech safety driving advancements.

Competition: Chevy Equinox; Ford Escape; Honda CR-V; Hyundai Tucson; Jeep Cherokee; Kia Sportage; Nissan Juke; Subaru Forester; Toyota RAV4; and VW Tiguan

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $31,665 (base model $22,695)

Seating Capacity: Five

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; electric parking brakes; daytime running lights; hill launch assist; electronic brake force distribution; a stability control system; and a tire pressure monitoring system

 Standard Equipment (Base Sport model): 17-inch wheels; a manual transmission; an automatic off headlight system; a rear roof spoiler; manual adjustable cloth seats; a remote keyless illuminated entry system; a/c with pollen filter; a cargo area light; center console with armrest tray; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and dual (non-illuminating) vanity mirrors

 Standard Equipment (Grand Touring Model): 19-inch wheels; a 2.5-liter, 184-horsepower engine; a clutchless automatic system with shift paddles; a/c with pollen filter; a cargo area light; center console with armrest tray; a 9-speaker BOSE audio system with satellite radio; a 7-inch infotainment screen; a voice command audio system; an automatic dual climate control system; a rear armrest with 2-integrated cup holders; a remote keyless entry system; fog lamps; a blind spot monitoring system with a rear traffic cross alert system; a rearview camera; a power driver’s seat with lumbar support; leather seats; and a leather shift knob

 Optional Features On Test Vehicle: a cargo mat; a retractable cargo cover; roof rack/side rails; door sill trim plates; satellite radio; and a tech package: a navigation system, LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, an adaptive front lighting system, smart city brake support system and automatic dimming mirror

Other Trim Level:

 Sport

Touring

 Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD

 Bluetooth Connectivity: Depending On Trim

 USB Connectivity: Yes

 Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

 Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder/155-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

 Standard Fuel Mileage:

26-city/33-hwy

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.

 

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