2013 CX-5 New Car Test Drive
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is a totally new five-passenger compact crossover utility vehicle. Defined by the Honda CR-V for the past 10 years, the rapidly expanding compact utility vehicle category includes the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Kia Sportage, Subaru Forester, and Ford Escape.
The Mazda CX-5 distinguishes itself with sleek styling, excellent fuel economy and agile handling. It looks great and it's more fun to drive than the other CUVs.
Perhaps most notable is its fuel economy: CX-5 gets an EPA-rated 26/35 miles per gallon City/Highway with front-wheel drive and 6-speed manual, 26/32 mpg with front-wheel drive and 6-speed automatic, 25/31 mpg with all-wheel drive and automatic. Mazda claims the CX-5 gets the best fuel economy in its class and the best fuel economy on the highway of any SUV. And it runs on Regular gas.
Designed from scratch, the Mazda CX-5 represents a fresh set of design computer algorithms, with underpinnings and technology Mazda intends to adapt to future vehicles. The new CX-5 is slightly taller than the CX-7, which the CX-5 replaces. Mazda is expected to stop importing the CX-7 into the U.S. in the not too distant future.
The new Mazda CX-5 is larger than it looks. Overall length, width, and height measurements of the CX-5 are nearly an inch larger than those of the new 2012 Honda CR-V. However, at 106.3 inches, the CX-5 wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than that of the CR-V, an advantage for the Mazda in terms of ride quality.
Curb weight promises to be another Mazda CX-5 advantage. With a large percentage of high-tensile steel in its structure, a CX-5 with front-wheel drive weighs just 3208 pounds, according to Mazda, 288 pounds lighter than the minimum for a comparable CX-7, and, more significant, almost 100 pounds less than the equivalent Honda CR-V.
Another Mazda CX-5 distinction versus the Honda CR-V is the availability of a 6-speed manual transmission as well as a 6-speed automatic. However, note that the shift-for-yourself gearbox is available only on the basic trim level with front-wheel drive. CX-5 models equipped with all-wheel drive come with a 6-speed automatic.
The CX-5 is the first total vehicle application of a new engineering approach Mazda calls Skyactiv Technology. One of the more obscure marketing labels in recent memory, Skyactiv is portrayed by Mazda as a total design integration of engine, transmissions, and body shell, but the critical element is the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder Skyactiv engine. Designed for maximum efficiency, the new engine is light, with a number of friction-reducing measures, a new exhaust manifold design, an exceptionally high compression ratio (13:1), and runs on regular unleaded fuel. The engine has already propelled the Mazda 3 compact into the 40 mpg club. Although the CX-5 is a heavier vehicle, the SkyActiv combination of engine, compact transmission designs, and low vehicle weight helps the new crossover achieve excellent fuel economy.
The Mazda engine delivers respectable performance on the road, but the competition offers more powerful engines. The new engine is rated for a modest 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, well down the power charts in this class. Still, if 0-to-60 mph were really important in this class, the CX-7's optional 244-horsepower turbo model would rule.
The CX-5's appeal lies in good fuel economy, excellent road manners, attractive styling, and the now-expected array of telematic features. We found the CX-5 impressive in a number of areas that matter in this category: fuel economy, comfort, versatility, road manners, styling, and safety features. And while acceleration is so-so, the CX-5's agility and exceptionally accurate steering make it entertaining to drive.
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 comes in three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. Each offers a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All models come with the same 2.0-liter engine.
CX-5 Sport is available with 6-speed automatic and front-wheel drive ($22,095) or 6-speed automatic and all-wheel drive ($23,345), and it's the only model that offers a 6-speed manual transmission ($20,695). The CX-5 Sport comes standard with cloth upholstery, manual air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with four speakers, USB, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with remote controls, cruise control, remote keyless entry, power windows and locks, 60/40 split fold-down rear seats, push-button start, rear spoiler with side fins, 17-inch alloy wheels. The optional Bluetooth Audio Package ($400) adds a 5.8-inch color touch screen monitor, wireless cellphone connectivity, and HD radio.
CX-5 Touring ($23,895) upgrades the cloth upholstery and comes standard with the 5.8-inch color display with rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring system, six-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 40/20/40-split fold-down rear seats, rear-seat armrest with cupholders, illuminated vanity mirrors, Bluetooth, HD radio, fog lights. CX-5 Touring AWD ($25,145) adds all-wheel drive. An optional Technology Package ($1185) includes TomTom-based navigation, rain-sensing windshield wipers, high-intensity discharge headlights with auto leveling, auto-off and AFS adaptive front-lighting system, auto-dim mirror with HomeLink, burglar alarm. Another package adds a moonroof and Bose Audio Surround Sound with nine speakers ($1130).
CX-5 Grand Touring ($27,045) and Grand Touring AWD ($28,295) upgrade with leather-trimmed upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bose Surround Sound with nine speakers, Sirius Satellite Radio, power moonroof, eight-way power driver's seat with power lumbar, heated front seats, auto on/off headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, 19-inch alloy wheels. The Grand Touring Technology Package ($1325) adds the navigation system, advanced keyless and start, adaptive HID headlights with auto leveling, auto-dim mirror, HomeLink, burglar alarm.
Safety features on all models include advanced dual front airbags, front-seat side-impact airbags, side air curtains front and rear with rollover protection, anti-lock brakes (ABS), DSC electronic stability control with traction control, and Hill Launch Assist. The CX-5 comes with three-point safety belts for all five positions, with pretensioners and force limiters on front seats, so be sure to wear them. The optional rearview camera can help the driver spot a child behind the vehicle when backing up. A blind-spot monitoring system comes on Touring and Grand Touring models that can help alert the driver to vehicles alongside. Optional all-wheel drive can improve handling stability in slippery conditions.