There are numerous benefits to putting winter tires on your vehicle, but they can impact a car's performance since they're made more for cutting through the white stuff than for running on dry roads. Initial reviews of the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1 snow tires on our CX-5 have been pretty positive, despite the fact that this winter, like the last, has not seen a lot of snow.
"The Blizzaks felt good and handled well in the daily commute," reported executive editor Todd Lassa after arriving into the office from his 45-mile drive to the office from his home in the Detroit suburbs. However, Lassa did bemoan the fact that the tires mean "there will be no fast corners here."
Associate editor David Zenlea begs to differ: "Even with the winter tires, the steering and chassis still make the CX-5 more rewarding to drive quickly than just about any other crossover." Zenlea would know, as he used the little blue Mazda to transport him to and from the Chicago Auto Show, a round trip of around 500 miles. Both Lassa and Zenlea agreed - as we've mentioned before - that, while the CX-5 handles well, it's not exactly fast. "It's not stellar on the highway," said Zenlea. "The engine, which is perky and smooth in town, runs out of breath at around 80 mph."
The Mazda's interior has also been a point of contention. Upon getting into the car, one editor's neighbor remarked that the cabin looked "faux-fancy" because of the shallowly padded dash, all-black color scheme, and dated-looking controls, and associate web editor Jake Holmes has continually pointed out that "most of the graphics and readouts look dated, especially the orange clock and climate control." Luckily, Mazda has upgraded the CX-5 slightly for 2014 - a new 2.5-liter I-4 should help solve the crossover's lethargy, while white dials and upgraded displays should liven up the cabin. It doesn't matter to Zenlea, though: "I may be in the minority, but I love this interior. It's simple, sporty, and uses good materials throughout. The seats are comfortable and well bolstered."
We sent the CX-5 to the dealer for its fourth maintenance visit last month, just before associate web editor Evan McCausland took the Mazda to Nashville for a long weekend. The service cost only $40.04 and consisted of an oil and filter change plus a multi-point inspection. Check back next month for McCausland's notes from his 1100-mile trip.