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The latest arrival to the Zoom-Zoom family, the all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5 is a compact crossover SUV that offers the best highway fuel economy of any SUV sold in North America, at 35 miles per gallon. The new CX-5 goes right after the segment leading Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, and Honda CRV. In some ways, (like fuel economy and being fun to drive) it is better then a lot of the competition. In other ways (power) it falls a little short.

Outside, the CX-5′s looks are the typical sporty Mazda style, but without the smiley face front grille. The CX5 looks fun to drive, and it really is. I think the CX-5 is the best handling vehicle in its class, hands down. If it had just a touch more power, it would be awesome. Unfortunately, you seldom get both power and fuel economy in the same package. Mazda went for the mpg’s. (we can add the power later)

Inside, the seats are comfortable and well supported up front, with plenty of room for larger adults in the back seat. The cargo area floor is flat, with a cool folding 40/20/40 split rear seat. The controls and gauges are laid out well, with everything simple and easy to use. The fit and finish was good, and the interior has enough soft touch surfaces that it seemed more expensive than its $$20,695 price tag.

The 2013 Mazda CX-5 comes with a single powerplant, a 155-hp 2.0-liter I-4 mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. If you push it a little, it responds well.

The CX-5 is available in three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. The Sport starts at $20,695, and the top of the line Grand Touring loaded with goodies runs about $30K. This is about average for this segment.

Safety wise, the CX- comes standard with six airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Traction Control (TCS) and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

 

Engine: 155HP 2.0 Liter I-4

Transmission: 6 Spd AT or MT

Highest MPG City/MPG Highway: 26/35

Trim Designations: Sport, Touring and Grand touring.

Base Price: $20,695

What I Liked: Handling and MPG

What I Would Change: Bolt on turbo?

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5