"I didn't feel like I was driving an SUV."
Before the Four Seasons CX-5 left our care for good, copy editor Rusty Blackwell and graphic designer John Kalmar took the little blue crossover on two last road trips -- the former to Traverse City and the latter to Grand Rapids.
"I hadn't driven the CX-5 a long distance since last summer and enjoyed the low-fatigue cruising,” said Blackwell. “Nice steering makes for very enjoyable entrances and exits to the highway, and the low horsepower rating was never a concern, although the transmission downshifts harshly when you add significant throttle after long, steady cruising."
The trip up to Traverse City was actually the second time Blackwell had been behind the wheel of the CX-5 last month -- he also drove it for a few weekdays and joined the group of editors complaining about the uncomfortable seats. However, this time around he voiced no complaint with the levels of comfort and support provided by the front chairs. Graphic designer John Kalmar had only praise for the seats, saying, " I was able to quickly find a comfortable position and then not worry about it for the rest of the trip."
Kalmar's trip, to Grand Rapids for the Easter weekend, was about half as long as Blackwell's. This was the first time he had driven the Mazda, and he was impressed at how un-crossover-like it felt. "I didn't feel like I was driving an SUV -- it didn't seem as if I was too high off the ground, or that I was commanding a much larger car than my Chevrolet Malibu Maxx." Crossovers can be deceiving, John: the CX-5 is actually 9.1 inches shorter than your Malibu, but it is 2.6 inches wider, 7.6 inches taller, and has up to 24.4 cubic feet more cargo space.
Despite the roomier-feeling interior, both Kalmar and Blackwell bemoaned the sub-par visibility. The biggest issue is the CX-5's blind spots – our car is equipped with a blind spot monitoring system, but both staffers found themselves looking over their shoulders to check traffic when changing lanes. The blind-spot monitoring system is part of the mid-level Touring trim, meaning that it came standard on our top-spec Grand Touring model. Also standard on our car is the upgraded Bose audio system, which drew rave reviews from Kalmar for its "great clarity and volume."
With that, we say goodbye to our little blue crossover. Check back soon for the full Four Seasons Wrap on the 2013 Mazda CX-5.