After making the 600-mile drive east to New York, our Mazda CX-5 immediately picked up and headed up to Cape Cod for a little rest and relaxation. Well, senior editor Joe Lorio and his family did; it seems that the sky-blue Mazda won't be catching a break anytime soon.
Says Lorio, "The CX-5 arrived in town just in time for us to take it out of town, as we got a jump on summer with a trip to Cape Cod. Mazda's compact-but-not-confining sport-ute was perfectly sized to carry a family of three packing heavily for a four-day trip."
"The practically shaped cargo hold is bigger than it looks. We also hung three bikes off the back, which almost certainly didn't do our highway fuel economy any favors (we averaged an indicated 29 mpg getting there and back, which is considerably less than the advertised 32 mpg)." Lorio is not the first to note the fact that the CX-5 may over-promise with its 32-mpg highway rating.
"In many ways, the CX-5 is the BMW 3-series of popularly priced compact crossovers," opines Lorio. "The driving position, the sharp steering, the eager turn-on, and the firm yet supple ride all contribute to that impression. But it's not the 335i of crossovers -- more like the 318i, or some other marginally powered variant sold only in Europe.
"The Skyactiv 2.0-liter can move this thing along at a reasonable clip, but only if you're insistent. Otherwise, this powertrain is first, foremost, and forever trying to eke out the best possible gas mileage. The issue isn't so much acceleration as it is maintaining speed. Driving across Connecticut -- who knew it was so hilly? -- the CX-5 often had to drop down to fourth to hold 70 mph on long grades. Fifth was too tall, let alone sixth." Other staffers have offered that they would sacrifice the high-mpg rating for more power from the 155-hp 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder.
Need for power may be a subjective qualifier, but interior rattles are not. While away on the Cape, the Lorios noticed a bad rattle coming from the back of the CX-5. They thought it could be a consequence of the bike rack mounted on the Mazda's hatch, but Lorio emptied the car out when he got home, and the rattle still persisted. "I then checked under the cargo floor for something not clamped down, underneath the car for something obviously out of place, and even checked the tightness of the lug nuts, but could find no obvious cause." We decided not to wait for the 10,000-mile service, which is still a ways off, and took the Mazda in for an unscheduled check-up. The diagnosis? Some gravel had worked its way into the right rear control arm. It was removed for no charge, and the rattle was gone.
The newly quieted CX-5 was then handed off to contributor Jamie Kitman. Never at a loss for words, he will no doubt have plenty to say next month.