The all-new 2013 CX-5 crossover utility vehicle from Mazda faces a daunting task – it is replacing not one but two models in the automaker lineup this year as both Tribute and CX-7 have received pink slips. CX-5 is also the first Mazda to take full advantage of the automaker’s new SKYACTIV technology that incorporates powertrain and chassis components working harmoniously.
“The 2013 CX-5 is the vehicle compact SUV shoppers have been asking for – that only Mazda can build,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). “Poised to join a fast-growing and increasingly competitive segment, the all-new CX-5 offers more than just flash and features. Consumers also receive the performance and driving dynamics that have become synonymous with the Mazda brand. With its SKYACTIV underpinnings and best-in-class fuel economy, CX-5 proves that ‘fun’ needn’t be sacrificed for efficiency and that ‘compact’ doesn’t mean compromise.”
I had been looking forward to testing the CX-5 since its introduction and during my wait have seen the new ride garner quite a few accolades including beating out segment stalwarts in head-to-head competition.
This is the real deal, this CX-5. While I will miss the turbo four of the CX-7 I am quickly introduced to one of the best on-road driving experiences in a small utility – ever.
The CX-5 more than makes up for limited power output by delivering a smooth, well controlled ride that even hints at sporty and delivers at least one big ZOOM of the automaker’s “zoom-zoom” philosophy.
Making up for the limited power output (155hp) of the new SKYACTIV 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine is the delivery of at least 31 mpg on the highway (we averaged more than 33 most of the week in our AWD tester) and that is with the AC on full blast. Mated to the new engine is a six-speed automatic gearbox with manual shift mode although we found keeping the gear selector in “D” was more than adequate all the time.
Our Grand Touring AWD test model rolled on 19-inch wheels and tires and featured four wheel disc brakes, front and rear independent suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars, and electric power assisted steering for fine tuning at all speeds and reduced engine drag.
The level of safety equipment on our CX-5 really surprised me, especially the blind spot warning system on a vehicle in this segment. Mazda also equips CX-5 with dynamic stability control, traction control, hill launch assist, and a full complement of airbags.
The CX-5 seats five and rear seat comfort does not take a back seat in the new model with head- and legroom more than ample. The new Mazda features all of the latest technology and creature comforts one would expect not only at this level but in a premium vehicle as well.
Mazda did its homework with the CX-5 and delivers a great vehicle. The brand is often overlooked when folks head out to look at new vehicles and that is a shame as so many models in the Mazda stable will stack up against the segment sales leaders. For me, I would take the CX-5 over the Honda CR-V any day of the week and twice on Sunday – it’s that good.
Pricing begins at just over 20 grand for a base 2013 CX-5 with our loaded Grand Touring AWD tester rolling in here at $30,415.