12 MONTH CAR REVIEWS: 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring - The Little Engine That Could

June 5, 2012
2013 Mazda CX 5 Grand Touring Front Three Quarter 2
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Long-Term 2013 Mazda CX-5 Update - SUMMER 2012 (1 OF 3)
Mileage to date: 6599
After being smitten with the clean looks of our Four Seasons 2013 Mazda CX-5, we are finding out that the beauty is more than skin deep. The CX-5 is the second car in Mazda's U.S. lineup to gain the automaker's new Skyactiv suite of powertrain engineering, after the 2012 Mazda3. Rather than opting for forced induction and higher final-drive ratios to find efficiency gains without losing performance, Skyactiv works to optimize a known quantity -the internal combustion engine. To up the engine's efficiency by a claimed 15 percent, Mazda increased the little four-banger's compression ratio to an incredibly high 13:1, added direct injection and electronically variable valve timing, lengthened piston stroke by 8.1 millimeters, and reduced internal friction.
The 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder engine is paired with an all-new six-speed automatic transmission in our CX-5 Grand Touring, but a slick six-speed manual is available on the base CX-5 Sport. The only option that our tester is missing is all-wheel drive; but the weight savings may be a boon to the compact crossover, given its modest power rating of just 155 hp.
2013 Mazda CX 5 Grand Touring Front End
Senior editor Eric Tingwall used the CX-5 for a weekend getaway, bringing along two mountain bikes -- one mounted on the tailgate and one on the roof. "I was genuinely concerned that the additional aerodynamic drag of a bike mounted to the roof might be too much to ask of the CX-5's humble 2.0-liter. I wasn't worried about a catastrophic meltdown, but I did have a flashback to the time I mounted six bikes to the roof of my 2003 Mazda Protege5; 70 mph was only possible if you were drafting a semi, and I averaged less than 14 mpg."
That the 300-pound heavier CX-5 has only 25 more horsepower and an additional 15 pound-feet of torque compared to Tingwall's 2003 Mazda did not bode well. However, "over 300 miles -- most of them at 80 mph -- I averaged about 27 mpg, with a bike on the roof."
He gives partial credit for this achievement to the six-speed automatic. "I had been worried that maintaining 80 mph would result in a constant shuffle between fourth, fifth, and sixth gears. If anything, the CX-5 is slightly reluctant to downshift, as if the car is trying to sweet-talk you into a slower pace." Associate web editor Ben Timmins echoed those comments. "The transmission initially is reticent to downshift," he wrote. "But it responds well to a swift kick of the throttle pedal."
However, not everyone was completely pleased with the CX-5's powertrain. Managing editor Amy Skogstrom, for one. "Yes, the transmission downshifts on command when you need power and the engine is willing, but it sounds and feels as if it's laboring a little too hard just to get up to speed."
2013 Mazda CX 5 Grand Touring Side
Our CX-5 also went in for its first scheduled service appointment at 4955 miles while Timmins had the car, visiting family in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The dealer did a basic oil and filter change, costing us $69.51 -- a somewhat high price due to the 0W20 oil specified by the manufacturer.
Despite our growing affection for our 2013 Mazda CX-5, those of us in Ann Arbor said goodbye to it at the end of this month, as the CX-5 will spend the start of the summer with senior editor Joe Lorio in the New York City metro area. Rumor is he's taking it on an early summer vacation.
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:

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