While the big news on Mazda's crossover front is the arrival of the all-new subcompact CX-3, its compact sibling, the 2016 Mazda CX-5, benefits from cosmetic and functional upgrades for the upcoming model year. Beyond the visible changes, the CX-5's mid-cycle enhancements include tweaks to its structure, suspension, drivetrain and driver-assist systems that should serve it well in what's become one of today's hottest and most intensely contested segments.

Sharper looks

The key exterior updates on the 2016 CX-5 are up front, where the grille is more tautly drawn and features an insert with horizontal fins painted metallic gray. An internal restyle of the headlamp elements - including optional LED units with the Technology Package - add even more edge to the CX-5's face, and can be matched with LED combo rear lamps while the Grand Touring gets redesigned 19-inch aluminum wheels.   

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Inside, the 2016 CX-5 gets a major dose of new design, with "evolved" treatments to its dash, center stack and console, a space-optimizing electric parking brake and new trim accents. Revised front/rear seats provide greater comfort and support while upgraded sound attenuation cuts cabin noise levels by 10 percent over the current model. But the most notable updates come in the form of the integration of the Heads-up Cockpit HMI design for the central dash display and the use of a new range of Mazda's i-Activesense advanced safety technologies. These driver-assist features include Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Smart Brake Support, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. 

Dynamic improvements 

No changes are in store for the CX-5's SkyActive-Drive 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter engines or the 6-speed manual transmission that will be available on the front-drive Sport variant. The 6-speed automatic found in all other Sport/Touring/Grand Touring iterations is upgraded with new Drive Selection function that adds responsiveness and is expected to bump up the new CX-5's not-yet-released EPA numbers. The available all-wheel drive system also has been revised for more efficient operation. Already highly regarded for its handling prowess, the 2016 CX-5 also gets subtle chassis tweaks that improve ride comfort and control. 

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 goes on sale in early 2015. Pricing, final packaging and EPA numbers will be released closer to the official on-sale date.

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