Entry Price: $24,045

Price as tested: $33,785

This week, we’re driving the all-new 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring, a compact SUV that has become the second–fastest Mazda vehicle to reach 1 million overall sales worldwide. Delivered with all-wheel-drive (AWD) underpinnings, this roomy five-passenger won’t make you feel “compact” in any manner and features hundreds of new tweaks and upgrades in a new, elegant, design.

Mazda clearly states in its marketing campaigns that its Skyactiv-named technology is still a major consumer advantage. Specifically, Skyactiv is Mazda’s word for a re-engineering process where each component complements the other resulting in supreme efficiency, performance and lower emissions.

Further, Mazda’s continued commitment to its Skyactiv technology creed isn’t just another gimmick born at some New York City ad agency. It’s now dogma for the popular car maker and those who test drive a CX-5 quickly learn of the benefits of Mazda’s Skyactiv engineering belief.

Originally, Mazda CX-5 debuted in 2013 to rave reviews. New for 2017 is a re-engineered suspension along with chassis advancements in G-Vectoring body/ride/handling control. The all-new exterior finds most prominent new headlights and front fascia that leads to a nice aerodynamic design overall, front to rear.

The interior is so roomy you’ll think midsize SUV more so than a compact. You’ll enjoy the standard heated front seats, two-stage reclining split rear seat, rear air conditioning vents, two rear USB ports (four total), Mazda radar cruise control, and available heated leather steering wheel and heated rear seats. Our tester had a $1,830 Premium Package option, which adds the aforementioned latter two enhancements in addition to memory driver seat, five-way power passenger seat, windshield projected active driving display and a windshield wiper de-icer. Overall, regardless of the Premium option, the cabin delivers more impressive detailing, extra storage areas, excellent instrumentation and more color combinations to choose from.

The entry level front-drive Sport now comes standard with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder coupled to a six speed automatic transmission for just $24,045. The next model up the CX-5 ladder is a mid-level CX-5 Touring starting at $25,915 and then the top line Grand Touring at $29,395. If you want the AWD version, add $900 to any CX-5 and you are ready for some off-road adventures and secure bad weather driving. The final tally on our tester is $33,785 retail which includes a $70 cargo mat, $250 retractable cargo cover and $940 delivery. Check your Mazda dealer for current incentives and discounts.

For 2017 CX-5 models, Mazda drops the smaller 2.0-liter four and also eliminates the six-speed manual transmission. Engine specs for the 2.5-four find 187 horses at your disposal and 185 lb. ft. of torque. Fuel mileage for the AWD CX-5’s is quite good at 23 city and 29 highway while the front drive delivers 24 city and 31 highway. For 2017 CX-5 models, Mazda drops the smaller 2.0-liter four and also eliminates the six-speed manual transmission. Engine specs for the 2.5-four find 187 horses at your disposal and 185 lb. ft. of torque.

Underneath, every CX-5 features an independent suspension that results in a very agile and fun to drive vehicle. It’s easy to park and a pleasure on the open highway, and I stress that engineers have again made the interior even quieter than the last year’s CX-5.

Standard features on all CX-5s’are many, but the top line Grand Touring models come standard with amenities sure to impress. Included are blind spot monitoring, rainsense wipers, heated side mirrors, Bluetooth, all the powers, tilt and telescopic, Mazda Connect Infotainment with 10-speaker Bose surround sound stereo, SiriusXM, LED headlights and taillights, power moonroof, 7.0-inch display with rear back-up safety camera, Toyo A36 all season 19-inch tires on alloy wheels, dual zone air, rear 40/20/40 tri-split seat, roof spoiler, carpeted floor mats, leather trim, power driver seat with lumbar, heated front seats and more.

Additionally, the top line Grand Touring features as standard Mazda’s “Smart City Brake Support” that helps prevent fender benders making everything a bit safer when you travel in a CX-5 Grand Touring. Other safety items include rear cross traffic alert, lane departure/ lane keep warning, all the air bags, hill launch assist, dynamic stability control, traction control and four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes.

A “roll-bar like” body-ring structure assures additional security. When you package all these safety items together, Mazda hopes to see similar government “Five-Star” overall safety ratings and an IIHS “Superior Rating Safety Pick,” both of which were earned by the 2016 model.

Mazda engineers continue to develop more efficiency from smaller cubic inch engines, transmission gearing and AWD underpinnings that result in excellent performance and enhanced fuel mileage. Mazda’s communications officer, Dean Case, continues to emphasize that the build philosophy Mazda delivers to its millions of CX-5 consumers is developed on the nation’s top road racing courses as Mazda is a major player in several top Prototype classes and many other classes specifically for the popular Mazda Miata … which happens to be the first Mazda to reach 1 million sales.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 106.2 inches, 3,655 curb weight, 15.3 gallon fuel tank, 7.6-inch ground clearance, 2,000 lb. tow capacity and up to 65 cu. ft. of cargo space depending on rear seat arrangement.

Mazda engineers continue to stay ahead of the curve with its new 2017 CX-5. These designers stress that continual development of Mazda’s Skyactiv doctrine is top of mind at all times. The end result is yet another Test Drive Mazda CX-5 “Best Buy” recommendation.

Likes: New design overall, Skyactiv theory, pricing, safety.

Dislikes: Expensive option packages, infotainment learning curve.

— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other GateHouse Media publications. He welcomes reader questions at greg@gregzyla.com.