The CX-5 crossover, Mazda's hottest-selling model, is set to wow shoppers with a complete overhaul when it starts arriving at dealers over the next month. However, enthusiasts may find one key piece missing: a manual transmission. Unlike the previous generation, an entry-level 2.0-liter model with manual has been discontinued.
According to Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown, the manual will no longer be sold in the U.S. It will, however, continue in Canada and Mexico. When asked whether or not a manual would be an option with the new CX-5 diesel set to go on sale later this year, Mr. Brown answered "anything is possible, but not at this time."
The outgoing CX-5 has seen its share of changes. Mazda took the unusual step of making a half-year revision known as the "2016.5 CX-5" in late 2015. First reported by CarsDirect, the update added a backup camera with 7-inch touchscreen to the roster of standard equipment on the entry-level Sport, as well as navigation on Touring and Grand Touring models.
The 2.0-liter manual was only offered on the baseline CX-5 Sport from $22,695 with destination. Ads were able to tout attractive prices as low as $21,795 before freight. For reference, the 2017 RAV4 is priced from $25,870 with destination. Perhaps more important than price, the absence of a manual could come as a shock to some Mazda enthusiasts.
Will most shoppers notice? Maybe not. According to Mr. Brown, the manual CX-5 accounted for less than 5% of configurations that customers ending up choosing. Even the more diminutive CX-3 and three-row CX-9 don't offer a manual here in the States.
The 2017 CX-5 is slated to start at a price point that's $2,290 higher than before with an MSRP of $24,985 with the standard 2.5-liter SKYACTIV engine and six-speed automatic. That said, with a wealth of new tech like standard Smart City Brake Support and the full suite of assistance features available on upper trims, the CX-5 will arguably be offering a lot for the money.
Those accustomed to rowing their own gears may be forced to consider alternatives like the Subaru Forester (from $23,470 with manual) and redesigned Jeep Compass (from $22,090 with manual). Although the new Compass is expected soon, we've spotted Sign & Drive leases on the Forester starting from just $259/month.
If you're anxious to snatch up the outgoing CX-5, you're in luck. This month, Mazda doubled its cashback incentive to $1,000. Owners of the brand can get a $500 loyalty bonus for $1,500 in combined savings. Alternatively, you can opt to finance at 0% APR for 60 months, or lease from as little as $219/month. Offers begin expiring March 31.
Will the absence of a manual influence your next purchase decision? Let us know in the comments.
For more in-depth analysis of pricing and deals, please visit our Deals page.