Reviews

2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring – Surprisingly Sporty

Long-Term Update: Spring 2012 Array Miles to date: 0

Crossovers have become the white bread of the automotive market both for their ubiquity — more than one out of every five vehicles sold last year — and for the fact that they’re more convenient than they are interesting or enjoyable.

The Mazda CX-5 may, at last, be a crossover with some crust to it. The all-new vehicle replaces two aging products — the CX-7 and the Tribute — with a clean sheet design that completely cuts ties with Ford. The result is a great-looking vehicle that nets a segment best combined fuel economy rating of 29 mpg in front-wheel-drive form. It’s also as fun to drive as we’ve come to expect of the company that’s been building Miatas for two decades. Although no one will confuse the CX-5 with the MX-5, our early tests have found the trucklet steers and handles better than some sporty cars. The typical crossover features — 8.5 inches of ground clearance and 65.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded — are present and much appreciated, but don’t define its character.

We thus did not hesitate in making the CX-5 the fifth (!) crossover in our four seasons fleet. We did, however, hesitate over how to equip it. We were sorely tempted by Mazda’s inclusion of a six-speed manual transmission — a very good one, at that. Alas, it’s only available on the most basic model in three colors (black, gray, or silver). Our sky blue CX-5 Grand Touring instead has a six-speed automatic and all the trimmings, including nineteen-inch wheels, leather seats, a sunroof, a backup camera, and a nine-speaker Bose audio system. We also opted for a $1325 technology package that adds a navigation system, HID headlights, and keyless ignition. Just about the only extra we skipped was all-wheel drive. That measure of restraint (barely) kept the window sticker under $30,000.

The CX-5 is quickly establishing itself as more than just another crossover in our parking garage, earning early praise for its well-weighted steering and its refined, premium-looking interior. A journey to Boston within a week of arriving indicates the CX-5 is a comfortable road-trip vehicle, as well, though the 155-hp four-cylinder sometimes struggles to keep up with faster highway traffic.

The CX-5 is more than just another crossover for Mazda, too. It represents the first fruit of a huge product investment for a small automaker that just reported its worst annual financial performance in more than a decade. It can little afford for another of its products to fall to the margins of a competitive segment (see: Mazda 6). Only time will tell if the CX-5 can continue to stand out, especially as we get more seat time in the likes of the redesigned Ford Escape.

Overview

  • Body style: 4-door crossover
  • Accommodation: 5-passenger
  • Construction: Unibody construction
  • Base price: (with dest.) $27,840
  • As tested: $29,165

Powertrain

  • Engine: 16-valve DOHC I-4
  • Displacement: 2.0 liters (121.9 cu in)
  • Power: 155 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Torque: 150 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
  • Transmission type: 6-speed automatic
  • Drive: Front-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy: 26/32/29 (city/hwy/combined)

Chassis

  • Steering: Electrically assisted
  • Lock-to-lock: 2.7 turns
  • Turning circle: 36.7 ft.
  • Suspension, front: Control arm, coil spring
  • Suspension, rear: Control arm, coil spring
  • Brakes f/r: Vented/solid disc
  • Wheels: 19-inch aluminum alloy
  • Tires: Toyo A23
  • Tire size: 225/55VR-19 (99V)

Measurements

  • Headroom f/r: 39.0/39.0 in
  • Legroom f/r: 41.0/39.3 in
  • Shoulder room f/r: 57.5/55.5 in
  • Wheelbase: 106.3 in
  • Track f/r: 62.4/62.5 in
  • L x W x H: 178.7 x 72.4 x 65.7 in
  • Passenger capacity: 102.3 cu ft
  • Cargo capacity: 34.1/65.4 cu ft
  • Weight: 3272 lb
  • Weight dist. f/r: 58/42%
  • Fuel capacity: 14.8 gal
  • Est. fuel range: 429 miles
  • Fuel grade: 87 octane (regular unleaded)

Equipment

  • standard equipment

    • 2.0-liter DOHC I-4 engine
    • 6-speed automatic transmission
    • 19-inch aluminum wheels
    • Rear window defogger
    • Rain-sensing variable intermittent wipers
    • Intermittent rear wiper
    • Automatic halogen headlights
    • Rear spoiler
    • Fog lights
    • Power sunroof
    • Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
    • Cruise control
    • Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity
    • Leather-trimmed seats
    • Carpet floor mats
    • Automatic dual-zone climate control
    • Keyless entry
    • 40/20/40-split folding rear seats
    • 5.8-inch color display w/rearview camera
    • 9-speaker Bose audio system
    • Auxiliary audio jack
    • USB port
    • 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat w/power lumbar support
    • Front and rear center armrests
    • Heated front seats
    • Stability and traction control
    • Hill-start assist

Options

  • Grand Touring Technology package
  • $1,325
  • Navigation
  • Auto-leveling HID headlights
  • Adaptive front lighting
  • Security system
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Auto-dimming mirror w/Homelink

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