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2013 Mazda CX-5 Sport FWD Road Test Review By John Heilig

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Mazda CX-5



Model: 2013 Mazda CX-5 Sport FWD
Engine: 2.0-liter I4
Horsepower/Torque: 155 hp @ 6,000 rpm/150 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 106.3 in.
Length/Width/Height: 179.3 x 72.4 x 65.7 in.
Tires: P225/65R17 (temporary spare)
Cargo volume: 34.1/65.4 cu. ft. (rear seat backs up/down)
Fuel economy: 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway/33.1 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 14.8 gal.
Curb weight: 3,208 lbs.
Sticker: $21,490 (includes $795 delivery charge)

Top 5 Reasons To Buy This Car

1. Low Sticker Price
2. Versatility
3. Economy
4. Well-equipped
5. Good handling

The Bottom Line: The Mazda CX-5 compact sport utility is the kind of vehicle that will do what you want it to do with a minimum of fuss and bother. For a relatively low price, it comes well equipped and is a good vehicle for long trips.

We were zipping along in the all-new Mazda CX-5 compact SUV on a day trip when I noticed one alarming thing; the fuel gauge wasn't working. Either that, or we were getting fantastic fuel economy. Whew! We were getting fantastic fuel economy.

We averaged more than 40 mpg on our trip that consisted primarily of highways until we entered the small village of our destination. We averaged 33.1 mpg overall after we added a lot of local driving to the regimen.

All this from a vehicle that has 34.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity and 65.4 cubic feet with the rear seat backs folded.

Well, okay, we got great economy, but at what expense. The CX-5 has a standard 2.0-liter inline four cylinder engine that develops 155 horsepower. This isn't a lot, but since the CX-5 only weighs 3,208 lbs, soaking wet, it's enough. Credit this combination to Mazda's Skyactive Technology, which places an emphasis on weight reduction without a loss in performance.

The 6-speed manual transmission is crisp, although I had to check a couple of times to make sure I was in the right gear.

On our trip (and around town) we appreciated the ride quality of the CX-5. It has a long wheelbase relative to its overall length (106.3 in to 179.3), and a long wheelbase is always a good determinant of good ride quality.

This isn't an ill-equipped tin can. No, the CX-5 is well-equipped, with power windows and door locks, keyless entry, a pushbutton start/stop and a good audio system. A blind spot monitoring system is available, but it wasn't included on our car.

Because of its compact exterior dimensions, the CX-5 was easy to park and maneuver on crowded village streets and parking lots.

Visibility in general is very good. There's one small exception that an owner would learn to ignore. Because of the shape and color of the right rear quarter window, it appears as if there's an approaching car back there. It was just enough to force a second look.

The front seats are comfortable. They're manually adjustable, but since one person usually drives most vehicles, there isn't really a need for power adjustable seats. The rear seats offered good head and leg room. You can put water bottles in the rear doors. there's no fold-down arm rest in the back. There's also a tall center hump in the rear that might make it cozy for a center passenger.

I liked the clear instrument panel, with a large center-mounted speedometer, flanked by the tach on the left and an information dial on the right.

When we travel we take a lot of stuff to make the trip easier, so we appreciated the large cubby at the base of the center stack, the smaller one by the driver's left knee, and the center console/arm rest that housed the USB cable receptor. The sun visors have extensions, which helps when the visors are at the side windows. And I loved the simple audio system that didn't require Sheldon Cooper to decipher it.

All in all, the CX-5 is a very good compact SUV. It verges on being a hatchback, but Mazda can call it anything they want, it still does the job nicely.

2012 The Auto Page