12 MONTH CAR REVIEWS: 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring - Surprisingly Sporty

May 1, 2012
2013 Mazda CX 5 Grand Touring Front Left View
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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.
2013 Mazda CX 5 Grand Touring Left Side View
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.
2013 Mazda CX 5 Grand Touring Steering Wheel
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

Long-Term 2013 Mazda CX-5 Reviews to Date:

2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring - Surprisingly Sporty
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