The compact crossover game is one of inches, and no one dare go the extra mile to alienate potential buyers.
With the 2017 CX-5, Mazda has dropped its base 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and manual transmission in favor of only a 6-speed automatic mated to a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder. That helps explain its massive base price increase over last year's $21,795. With the automatic and the bigger engine, the 2016 checked in for $24,495.
What happened to the stick shift? According to Mazda officials, fewer than 1 in 20 buyers opted to row their own in the crossover, which makes the Subaru Forester the only compact crossover with a third pedal left (caveat: the 2017 Jeep Compass comes with a stick but is a bit smaller).
DON'T MISS: What's new for Mazda: 2017
For base money, buyers get 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, cloth seats, a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment (no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, however), Bluetooth connectivity, keyless ignition, a rearview camera, and a four-speaker stereo. Adding all-wheel drive to the CX-5 Sport costs $1,300 and premium paint options can add up to $595 to the bottom line too.
Stepping up to Touring trim adds leatherette upholstery, a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, dual-zone climate controls, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, rear USB ports, and blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert. Front-drive Touring models start at $26,855 or $28,155 for all-wheel-drive models. A premium package adds to Touring models a 10-speaker stereo from Bose, navigation, power liftgate, and a sunroof for $780. An optional safety package adds active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking for $625—but you can't equip both premium and safety packages on Touring models. Because that's just crazy, apparently.
Opting for the full-boat Grand Touring models gets the premium package and safety package and adds to Touring models 19-inch wheels, real leather, and automatic headlights for $30,355 for front-wheel drive, $31,635 for all-wheel drive. A premium package to Grand Touring models adds a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, and a head-up display for $1,830.
If you're that guy, the most you can pay for a CX-5 would be $34,060 before dealer-added options. But why ruin the rich Soul Crystal Red with pinstriping?