Mazda is not the biggest player in the automotive world, and financial markets don’t shudder when the company introduces new vehicles. And Mazda is fine with that. The company just keeps rocking along building vehicles that connect with people.

Mazda gets only about two percent of global market share, “But you don’t need bulk to be successful in this business,” according to Robert Davis, senior vice president of special assignments for Mazda North American Operations.

Davis said Mazda focuses on building cars that evoke an emotional response from buyers. Now, the company wants to progress into a more premium brand.

Two of Mazda’s newest vehicles – the CX-5 and the MX-5 – are poised to give the company a head start toward that goal. Mazda designers instill KODO (Soul of Motion) design into vehicles, making them look as though they’re moving even when they’re standing still.

2017 CX-5

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 is a compact SUV with a comfortable cabin and good fuel economy from a 187-horsepower SKYACTIV 4-cylinder engine. The CX-5 is one of Mazda’s best sellers, and it’s the second fastest Mazda to reach 1 million units sold (behind the Mazda3).

The CX-5 is all new for 2017, and Mazda says more than 250 improvements were made to the vehicle.

Powering the CX-5 is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that develops 187 horsepower and sends 185 lb.-ft. of torque to the front wheels. Mazda’s I-ACTIV AWD is available. The transmission is a SKYACTIV 6-speed automatic.

Improvements to the 2017 CX-5 include standard LED headlights on all trims, an available power liftgate, rear HVAC vents, rear heated outboard seats and dual 2.1-amp rear-seat USB charging ports for tablets, two-stage reclining rear seats, full-speed Mazda Radar Cruise Control and available 10-speaker BOSE sound.

The CX-5 also has a dynamite new heads up display system that projects vehicle information on the windshield. The displayed information looks like it’s hovering just in front of the hood, which means the driver’s eyes can stay focused on the road while looking at the information. For my money, Mazda’s Active Driving Display is the best on the market.

The 2017 CX-5 is EPA rated at 24 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg combined. Pricing for the base Sport trim starts at $24,045, the Touring starts at $25,915, and the Grand Touring starts at $29,395.

2017 MX-5

The 2017 MX-5 is Mazda’s iconic little two-seat roadster available with a soft top or a power retractable hard top. First introduced at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, the MX-5 reached one million sold last spring.

The MX-5 doesn’t change dramatically for 2017, but the MX-5 Retractable Fastback is all new.

Both MX-5 versions offer a sporty, affordable and fun ride with the sky as a roof. The roof of the MX-5 RF retracts in just 13 seconds.

The rear-drive MX-5 is powered by a 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder engine that develops 155 horsepower and 148-lb.-ft. of torque. Transmissions include a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual. There are three MX-5 models: Sport, Grand Touring and Club. The hard top is available in only the two upper trims.

With the automatic transmission, the 2017 Mazda MX-5 is EPA rated at 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The starting MSRP is $26,395. The MX-5 RF with the automatic transmission gets the same EPA mileage and starts at $32,285.