2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring SUV (2.0L 4-cyl. AWD 6-speed Automatic)
Driven On 3/6/2012
The sporty and thrifty 2013 Mazda CX-5 is a very comfortable SUV that provides excellent driving dynamics in a daringly styled wrapper. It doesn't offer thrilling acceleration, but it does provide class-leading fuel economy.
PerformanceThe Mazda CX-5's brakes, suspension and steering are uncommonly capable. The want for more power is a small concession for class-leading fuel economy.
With just 155 hp, the CX-5's acceleration is merely adequate for the class. The extra weight and driveline inertia of our AWD model makes it slower than its FWD counterpart.
Reasonable panic braking results (121 ft from 60 mph) with exceptionally good pedal feel and fade resistance.
Perhaps one of the CX-5's best attributes is its crystal-clear and direct-feeling steering system. It offers nimble response and good isolation.
The CX-5's handling is supremely confident and exceptional for its class, especially with the Grand Touring's larger tires.
With the exception of feeling underpowered in some situations, the CX-5 offers superior driving dynamics with a class-leading chassis, brakes and steering.
It's rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds, but 155 horsepower isn't terribly encouraging here.
All-wheel drive is available for soft-roading, but the system is meant more for foul weather and gravel roads rather than true off-road trails.
ComfortRegardless of trim level and resulting wheel size, the CX-5 remains comfortable on a variety of surfaces and conditions.
Front seats are well contoured and offer plenty of support and room -- even for drivers over 6 ft. Standard tilt/tele steering wheel. Rear seats are flat but roomy.
The well-sorted CX-5 has a rare ride quality of feeling sure-footed and confident without feeling stiff-legged and harsh. To us, that's the sweet spot
Wind noise is well isolated and dispersed, though engine and road noise are evident (especially with the larger wheel options).
InteriorIt's a mature (some might say demure) design, but at least it isn't swathed in poorly rendered fake wood or highly reflective chrome trim. Choose a lighter color for best results.
A clear separation of systems (audio/climate) plus clearly labeled controls make the CX-5's center console a snap to operate. Optional navigation is less intuitive.
A low step-in height, reasonable seat height, and a tilt-telescope steering wheel ensure easy ingress/egress. Rear doors open exceptionally wide.
In its class, the CX-5's cabin is one of the roomiest for four passengers; five only in a pinch. Base model has 60/40-split folding seatbacks; others 40/20/40.
Typical compact SUV sight lines, but a rearview camera is available on all trim levels.
Highly competitive luggage room (34 cu-ft) expands to slightly less competitive cargo maximum of 65 cu-ft. Base model has 60/40-split folding seatbacks; others 40/20/40.
ValueWith engaging styling and driving dynamics, class-leading fuel efficiency and modern amenities, the CX-5 offers a compelling combination that can't be found elsewhere at this price.
Build Quality (vs. $)
For its class and at its price, the CX-5 is very well built, squeak-free and well finished.
Even on the base trim, an impressive list of standard equipment will keep budget-minded consumers happy. Un-bundled options from higher trims are available on lower ones.
With a wide price range, from about $20K-$30K, the Mazda CX-5 resides in the affordable sweet spot in the segment.
The CX-5 earns better fuel economy than the norm in its class -- even approaching hybrid SUV efficiency.
Nothing particularly remarkable here. There's a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Roadside assistance to the tune of 3 years/36,000 miles is included
Fun To DriveThe CX-5 is a dynamic departure from the segment's otherwise typically low standards; brakes, suspension and steering are uncommonly capable. It is downright fun and confidence-inspiring to drive -- especially with the 6-speed manual.
There are times you might wish for more power, but you'll never want better handling or brakes.
The CX-5 is stylish, capable, efficient and priced competitively for the segment. Being the new kid on the block has its advantages.