2016 GT to 2021 GTR: Giggles and Niggles

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2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD
I picked up a 2021 GTR on Monday to replace my 6+ year old 2016 GT. With the state of the used car market right now it just made sense, or that's how I'm justifying it anyway :sneaky: Some thoughts on the differences after a whole 5 days of ownership:

Giggles:

1) Without a doubt has to be the 2.5L Turbo engine! Not that I found the 2.5L in the 2016 to be particularly underpowered, but there were times I would have to hit the kickdown point merging onto highways and the reaction was "You really want to go faster?"..."YES!"..."Ok then. Hang on a sec". I haven't needed to floor it with the turbo engine yet, you ask it to go and it's only too willing. That extra 120+ lb-ft of torque is grin-inducing!

2) Interior changes. Lots more soft touch materials, I can see why the CX-5 is getting favorable comparisons to competitors like the Infiniti QX-50. It has a much more upscale feel than the 2016 did, and that wasn't a slouch either.

3) Bose speaker system. I disliked the wimpy Bose system in the 2016 enough that I replaced all of the speakers with Infinity Reference versions and installed an underseat sub. The 2021 Bose system is a different animal altogether, and I don't feel the need to change anything. It's an excellent system! Never thought I'd say that about Bose.

4) Power liftgate. One of the sore spots for me with the 2016 was the complete absence of a trunk release in the cabin or on the key fob. To go from that to a power liftgate with remote releases in both places is bliss.

5) Cooled seats. I don't tolerate the heat well, so these are a big plus. I'll never have another car without them.

6) Slightly softer suspension. Maybe this is my imagination, but the ride feels just a little softer and more refined without giving up any handling ability. Possibly it does right at the margins, but I don't spend much time there.

7) Quiet. The cabin noise in the 2016 didn't bother me as much as it did some people, but the 2021 is considerably quieter. This adds to the overall feeling of it being a more upmarket / luxury car.

Niggles:

1) Steering wheel skip control. Whoever decided that pressing the skip up/down button while listening to XM channels would control the XM replay feature rather than changing channels should be fired. I spend a lot of time listening to a mix of FM and XM channels in my Favorites list, and to not be able to switch stations from the steering wheel controls is a big step backwards. Hopefully a firmware update will change this if enough people complain. Maybe long press for the XM replay feature and restore the short press function to switching channel?

2) No USB port in the center console area. I had Android Auto installed in the 2016, and the USB port being right next to the center console tray was perfect. The USB ports being in the armrest in the 2021 means storing the phone down in the armrest storage space since the little sliding tray is too small to hold it.

3) The glovebox is tiny compared to the cavernous one in the 2016. I like to keep a first aid kit in the car, and with that in the glovebox there's barely any room for anything else.

4) Lack of individual tire pressure readout from the TPMS sensors. I really don't understand why this is missing now that they switched to internal / direct sensors.

That's all I can come up with for niggles, which given how trivial they are is a compliment to how well Mazda have refined the CX-5 over the last 6 years!
 

yrwei52

2016 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD w/Tech Pkg
Contributor
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Plano, Texas, USA
I picked up a 2021 GTR on Monday to replace my 6+ year old 2016 GT.
Congrats!

3) Bose speaker system. I disliked the wimpy Bose system in the 2016 enough that I replaced all of the speakers with Infinity Reference versions and installed an underseat sub. The 2021 Bose system is a different animal altogether, and I don't feel the need to change anything. It's an excellent system! Never thought I'd say that about Bose.
I’m surprised that you replaced all Bose speakers with Infinity Reference speakers and added a sub-woofer to the 9-speaker Bose system in 2016 CX-5 due to the poor sound quality, but you like the 10-speaker Bose system in gen-2 CX-5? The added tweeters on A pillars is a welcome change, but the spare-tire sub-woofer has a tiny 5” driver, which hardly can serve as a functional sub-woofer.

4) Power liftgate. One of the sore spots for me with the 2016 was the complete absence of a trunk release in the cabin or on the key fob. To go from that to a power liftgate with remote releases in both places is bliss.
Yes, I miss the liftgate release buttons both in the cabin and on the key fob badly! So inconvenient!
 
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2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD
I’m surprised that you replaced all Bose speakers with Infinity Reference speakers and added a sub-woofer to the 9-speaker Bose system in 2016 CX-5 due to the poor sound quality, but you like the 10-speaker Bose system in gen-2 CX-5? The added tweeters on A pillars is a welcome change, but the spare-tire sub-woofer has a tiny 5” driver, which hardly can serve as a functional sub-woofer.
Thank-you for the congrats. Very happy so far!

I'm surprised too honestly, in fact before taking delivery I was already eyeballing Crutchfield for replacements. Between the door woofers and the powered trunk "sub" there's plenty of bass to suit my taste, and the highs are well taken care of with the new A-pillar tweeters. Perhaps I'm just getting old and don't need as much thump as I used to 👴
 
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CX5 '21 GTR
Just did exactly that - exchanged my '16 GT with Tech for '21 GTR. CX5 still is the best option for a driving conscious person.
Lower trims seemed to be not adequate substitution, turbo compensates for the weight it gained during the 6 years of improvements.
Agree on all the giggles, turbo is quite nice and lags less vs Kia Forte I recently rented. Interior is way better vs '16. Bose is much better as well, however I noticed bass setting was set to 9 either by dealer or factory.

6) Slightly softer suspension.

Same impression, I attribute it to the car simply being heavier

7) Quiet.

My impression is that it's doing a much better job silencing the exterior noise, but the sound of the engine is about the same as it used to be in GT '16 (when it was new, it got worse with time)

Niggles:

2) No USB port in the center console area.

I got an aux-to-usb adapter right away so charging is there. I'm storing the phone in a cup holder now, there seems to be a special dip for the cable to go from the console out

3) The glovebox is tiny

Right. Also, user manual is missing cloth cover vs '16. To save space I guess?

That's all I can come up with for niggles

Mine are:

1. Right away you notice how much bigger the keyfobs have become vs '16, bringing zero new features but adding accidental key presses. Why would they do that? I can't carry them in my pants any more

2. In the first five minutes my kid noticed that the rear windows don't go down all the way. I and him believe they did go all the way down in '16, why would they do that? Kids and dogs don't appreciate

3. I loved the looks of the '16 wheels, current ones are not that cool

4. DRLs being headlights is just unbelievable. When you turn headlights OFF you still have them on, I can't comprehend that and looking at the hundreds of messages here I feel like it's going to be quite an adventure...

5. By now you would expect wireless charging and wireless carplay in a higher trim. Shame