Given the unpredictable weather of Vancouver in winter, I find driving around in an SUV most comforting. The raised view and the secure feeling of being behind a larger cabin puts the mind at easy, which has you only worrying about everyone else on the road. However, I am more partial to the easier maneuvering of a sedan. So the Mazda CX-5 Gran Touring, a mid size cross over is the perfect blend of both worlds. And for this 2017 edition, Mazda has made a few changes, improving this year’s model overall.

Starting with the exterior, they have redesigned the front grill, lowered the headlights and fog lights, and pushed back the A-pillar; the result is a wider looking profile with more appeal, when compared to its predecessor. And as we know, how we look behind the wheel is just as important as how we feel behind it.

As for the interior, everything you see and touch is new, using high quality materials. With top notch fits and finishes, it reminded my partner of an Audi in design, but keeping with the Mazda nuisances. Overall it looked fantastic, “truly a class above his competitors”, he declared. Elegant when coupled with the fact that the cabin is practically sound proof. You are able to disconnect and enjoy a smooth ride given how peaceful it is within the cabin while driving. A nice benefit when dealing with sloshing water raining down, and the gridiron screeches and honks.

Since this GT model is at the top of its line it comes equipped with many bells and whistles. The power driver’s seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a proximity key, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure-warning and lane-keeping-assist system, automatic headlights, automatic high-beams, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, premium audio, and a navigation system. Pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. Every modern amenity you have grown accustom to and look for in a new vehicle purchase, plus a few more to have you feeling like you have been missing out. You don’t have to worry about turning on your head lights or flicking your wipers on with the first drop of rain. To have a more intuitive car, has us one step closer to self-driving vehicle.

Under the hood, the CX-5 is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5L inline four, producing 187hp, and mated to a 6 speeds automatic transmission. The torque is mostly distributed to the front wheel, but up to 50% of the power goes to the rear when needed; making the cross over capable in all weathers and all terrains. A car you get drive in all seasons.

The chassis is 15 percent stiffer than its predecessor, and thanks to some other tweaks to it and the steering rack; you get a precise and rewarding feedback from your steering, while not sacrificing on the comfort of your ride. Great for long distance drives or ones where you are in a stand still with construction.

In conclusion the Mazda CX-5 is a very enjoyable SUV to drive, with great exterior styling and a quiet interior. Both halves bestow the driver with a sense of luxury, along with all the tech and safety features, to make it one of the best in its class. Thanks for the opportunity Mazda, this was drive to remember.