Mazda’s new CX-5 jumped to the top of the small SUV rankings thanks to its improved ride and quieter, more refined cabin.

Step inside and it’s immediately apparent that Mazda crafted a fine interior. Lots of soft-touch bits, detailed stitching, and chrome trim lend it plenty of class. The comfortable, supportive seats are covered with leatherette and suede. We wish Mazda’s convoluted infotainment system was easier to master, and many of us found the dash vents mounted too low for proper A/C distribution.

On the road, the formerly boomy cabin is now quiet and calm. The engine sound gets gravelly at higher revs, but it’s not loud. Mazda has worked wonders smoothing out the car’s ride to the point that it’s now one of the most comfortable in its segment. Handling is nimble and secure.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission make for a responsive and easy-to-drive combo. But the new CX-5 has taken a step back in fuel efficiency, down by 1 mpg to 24 overall, partly due to increased weight. The CX-5 weighs about 155 pounds more than its predecessor, which is like carrying around an extra passenger. But we think it’s a worthwhile trade-off resulting in a more substantial-feeling SUV.

We applaud Mazda for making forward-collision warning with low-speed automatic emergency braking standard.

Read the complete Mazda CX-5 road test.

2017 Mazda CX-5

HIGHS: Ride, quietness, handling, standard forward-collision warning with low-speed automatic emergency braking
LOWS: Low-mounted dash vents, complicated infotainment system
POWERTRAIN: 187-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine; 6-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 24 mpg

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the August 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.