The 2013 Mazda CX-5 may be just what the Doctor ordered for this Japanese automaker. Here is a long awaited and overdue remake of a relatively popular compact crossover that brings styling and mileage that many of its competitors wish they could tout.
First, the styling of the CX-5 is far better than the outgoing model by leaps and bounds. Not that the old was bad, but sculpting is “in” and instead of going with the typical Japanese mantra of “if the old sold, then let’s not change it,” Mazda chose to start design with a blank canvas. Some of the words Mazda uses to describe its exterior styling are: sculptured, shapely and sweeping swoosh line. Also getting a re-do is the old smiley face grille, that I think turned a lot of potential buyers off. In its place is a new “five-point” signature wing design.
The interior is anotherhigh pointof the Mazda CX-5. Again, the highlight is sculpting. There are very few flat surfaces. Instead, is a sweeping dash that is beautifully designed with a focus on the driver. Audio and climate controls are easy to reach and the touch screen located at the top of the center stack is user friendly and intuitive. No, you don’t have to get the owner’s manual out to figure it out. As for dash color, if you like something other than black then you might have to shop another brand.
Seating is comfortable but the head support is one of those that is too close to the back of my head. This is one of my pet peeves and if I bought this car, a trip to the fab shop would be in order so I could have the brackets bent back to keep it from slapping me on the back of my head.
There is adequate leg and headroom in the back seat and a generous amount of cargo room too.
Ride and handling in the CX-5 should be considered sporty, due in part to its relatively light weight of 3,200 lbs. This also helps contribute to its 26 mpg-city and 32-highway when equipped with the 6-speed automatic. Not enough? Shift through the 6-gears manually and you can bump up the highway mileage to 36!
However, don’t expect the automatic transmission to react to subtle movements of your right foot. If you’re looking for instant gratification, get the manual.
Another contributing factor to the CX-5’s impressive fuel mileage is the little engine that could, a 2.0-liter power plant called the Skyactive-G engine. This high compression, naturally aspirated motor delivers a meager 155-horsepower and only 150-lb.-ft. of torque. This shouldn’t be an issue with most mom’s, but load it up with gear for the beach, 2 adults and 3-kids and you may wish for a little more grunt. Unfortunately, this is the only engine currently offered. Hey Mazda….how ‘bout a turbocharged model to put a little more zing in its step?
The Mazda CX-5 starts at a paltry $20,695 but start adding those items we all want and the ticket swells.
There are three trim levels, the Sport, Touring and Grand Touring, each of the touring models heaping on those luxuries in generous doses until you get to the Grand Touring (which I had) that comes with everything but navigation, that’s an additional $1,325. MSRP for my loaded up CX-5 – with nav – was a respectable $30,415.
I give the Mazda CX-5 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Jim is an automotive and outdoor lifestyle journalist living in the Texas Hill Country. A journalist by education, he took the long way around though retail operations, business management, manufacturing and supply chain operations that kept him in touch with his automotive interests.
Jim achieves his journalist goals by creating and contributing product reviews, industry news and feature content for electronic and print publications. Jim’s personal ride is a 2008 Inferno Red Chrysler Crossfire Roadster with just 22,000 miles on it.