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.


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


  • 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)


  • 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)


  • 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)


  • 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


  • 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

We’ve Temporarily Removed Comments

As part of our ongoing efforts to make better, faster, and easier for you to use, we’ve temporarily removed comments as well as the ability to comment. We’re testing and reviewing options to possibly bring comments back. As always, thanks for reading