2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
The perfect car if your criteria is: 1) Drives like a small BMW sedan, 2) Carries camping gear, bikes and kayaks down bad dirt roads to your favorite primitive campground.
For an SUV it is high on utility and it is the first SUV where the S truly means sports car-like performance.
However, it is not the perfect car if your criteria includes: 1) Tomb-quiet interior under all road conditions and speeds, 2) Zero intrusion of road-feel of any kind through the brakes, steering or suspension or 3) Extended off-road terrain crawling.
The exterior is sleek, muscular and emotive without being overdone.
19" wheels are handsome. The interior is elegant rather than flashy like an Italian suit.
Despite high ground clearance & tall body, it corners fast with little lean.
At speed it is quiet inside, and the ride is composed over poor surfaces.
Steering is precise and weighted for feedback.
The suspension allows acceleration and cornering over rough surfaces with no drama.
Brake response is linear with little pedal travel and no unexpected grab.
The engine produces good torque from 2200 rpm - minimizing downshifting when accelerating after a slow-down, or going uphill.
It pulls strongly to 5000 rpm for 40-70 mph passing.
Acceleration will put a smile on your face coming out of a twisty turn.
The manual shift gate really helps manage power application and engine braking.
The family's 3 iPods do not function well thru the USB connection though they all work as Apple intended in my 2009 Honda Fit Nav/USB.
Harmonic buzz type vibration in drivers upper door/mirror area when tires encounter certain types of pavement surface texture.
Above 2 problems are widely reported on the web by other owners.
Cannot adjust the Tom-Tom map screens for adequate contrast when rural roads are shown in white against a light beige background prevalent in my rural area.
Paint color choice is a bit limited.
Except for black (which looks good), the only other interior choice is a not very practical almost-white.