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The compact crossover segment has officially replaced the midsize sedan as the vehicle of choice for most buyers. Just take a quick glance at the top sellers each month and the list continues to be infiltrated crossovers, while traditional sedans continue to disappear. At the top of this list, the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V continue to battle it out for the sales crown, but does that mean that they are the best? All three of them have managed to find the sweet spot in terms of space, style and features, but that doesn’t mean that they are the best choice, especially if you want a sportier/ stylish small crossover.

If you’re looking for something a little less boring, a little sportier and more stylish, head on over to your Mazda dealer. The Mazda CX-5 was completely revamped for the 2017 model year and it’s now one of the best in the segment. Why? Keep reading.

2017 Mazda CX-5 Review

Starting with the exterior, the 2017 Mazda CX-5 features a sculpted exterior that’s more stylish than before thanks to Mazda’s latest Kodo design language. It’s elongated hood makes it look less like a minivan, like some of its rivals and its lower roofline could be described as “coupe-like” since were now throwing that description on nearly ever new model in the industry. Park the CX-5 next to the Honda CR-V or Nissan Rogue and its easy too see how Mazda went for a sleeker look.

2017 Mazda CX-5 Review

Inside the interior feels more luxurious than before with a modern design and higher quality materials. We could go on and on about its minimalistic style and comfortable seats, but what you’ll want to know right away is that the CX-5’s interior does feel a bit snug. Blame the lower roofline and long hood. With every seat filled, lets hope that all of your friends like each other, since their shoulders, legs and hips will definitely get better acquainted.

In almost every interior dimension, the CX-5 offers about an inch less space than the CR-V. If being able to haul all your stuff is a priority, you might come up a bit short in the CX-5, which only offers 30.9 cubic feet of space with the rear seat up compared to 39.2 cubic feet in the CR-V. The differences get even bigger once you fold down the rear seat with the CX-5’s cargo space expanding to 59.6 cubic feet compared to 75.8 cubic feet in the CR-V.

2017 Mazda CX-5 Review

Under the hood, the CX-5 gets its motivation from a 2.5L four-cylinder that’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5L generates 187 horsepower and 185 lb-ft. of torque. The setup isn’t going to burn too much rubber, but the powertrain is more responsive than you’d expect. For starters Mazda hasn’t jumped on the CVT bandwagon, which means you don’t have to deal with the dreaded drone that other rivals pipe into their interiors. The six-speed automatic does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Select the Sport setting and the powertrain becomes even more responsive. If you choose the front-wheel drive version, the CX-5 is rated at 24/31 mpg, while all-wheel drive brings those specs down to 23/29 mpg.

2017 Mazda CX-5 Review

Just like every other Mazda it’s not about how much power is under the hood, but how the powertrain and chassis work so perfectly together. Behind the wheel you feel more connected to the CX-5 than you do in other rivals, like the Nissan Rogue. It’s steering is perfectly weighted, there’s not much body roll when the road gets twisty and around town the powertrain can feel a bit zippy. A few more horses under the hood, would be nice, but you don’t really need it. But if Mazda is listening, please offer the turbocharged 2.5L in the CX-5, since who knows when the CX-5 Diesel will ever arrive.

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 may not have the biggest interior in its class, but if your willing to give up a little space for a more engaging driving experience the CX-5 should be at the top of your list.

For the 2018 model year, Mazda has added cylinder deactivation technology to the 2.5L four-cylinder, which automatically shuts down the two outside cylinders at cruising speeds. The 2018 CX-5 is on sale now starting at $24,150.