2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Long-Term Road Test


2014 Mazda CX-5: More Grip?

August 16, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

The 2014 Mazda CX-5 is one of the sportiest small crossover SUVs available in terms of handling feel. Yet I had a thought recently: What if you wanted to make it even sportier by replacing standard Toyo all-season tires with grippier summer-rated tires?

I suspect this is something few small crossover owners will ever consider. The whole point of this kind of vehicle is versatility and all-weather capability. Summer-rated tires, with their poor performance in very cold or snowy conditions, would diminish that.

But here in Southern California (or anywhere else where snow is rare) the improved handling and shorter braking distances of summer tires could have a real, positive impact on daily driving (see our Tire Test story from a few years ago for proof). At least that'd be my thought if I owned our CX-5.

Alas, it doesn't seem like you can get summer tires that would match up to the CX-5's original-equipment wheel and tire sizes. I used Tire Rack to search for summer tires for a CX-5 and came up with nothing. There's actually very little tire selection in the Grand Touring's 225/55R19 size. Perhaps you could go with a non-OE size and come up with something, but that's beyond my easy tire-swap idea.

Having checked a few other small crossovers that compete with the Mazda CX-5 on Tire Rack, I now know that the CX-5 isn't alone. Summer tires, at least in the typical tire sizes automakers fit to these vehicles as original equipment, are quite rare.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 15,542 miles

Comments

  • diondi diondi Posts:

    Some owners would use summer and winter tire sets, so this idea actually has merit. Though on a SUV I would prioritize comfort and durability over traction...

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    "Summer-rated tires, with their poor performance in very cold or snowy conditions, would diminish that." Well to be fair according to Edmunds' own test, all-season tires have poor performance in very cold or snowy conditions too. They just have poor performance in all conditions, and yet somehow in the US this is considered desirable. Every thing American consumers think about cars is rubbish.

  • stovt001, I've never seen any good solid test info but aren't summer tires worse in just cold (freezing) than all season? I know all seasons typically stink in the snow but I always read that summer tires aren't good below 40 or so. -- I've seen where the summer tires handle rain fine but every warning I've seen is about just cold for them.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    if you go 10mm wider you can get yokohama prada spec x but for more grip you would have to get 20 inch wheels. its hard to have a tru sports tire if the profile is greater then 50

  • craigo81 craigo81 Posts:

    I noticed this when searching to see what replacement tires cost: At the moment, there aren't many choices. I think Tire Rack had 2, aside from the $260 OEM's. I see more and more CX5's on the road though, so I imagine that will change.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    I think that this just falls under the slippery slope argument. If you wanted handling and grip, why did you get a CUV in the first place. But considering that most of us can't afford second cars, we really need one that can do multiple things. I guess that what I'm saying is that its not surprising that there aren't many options, but it would be nice if there were at least one or two...

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    well the cx 5 has arguably the least utility out of it's competition so you might as well maximize it's strengths (sportyness/handling) but the only way you are going to find a sporty tire that is 29inches tall is with a 20 inch wheel because 5inches of sidewall flex is not very confidence inspiring.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    @zim, yes summer tires are worse than all-seasons in freezing temps, but that doesn't mean A/Ss are good. Summers are great in some conditions, horrible in others, Winters are great in some conditions, horrible in others, but A/S are just mediocre in ever

  • cx7lover cx7lover Posts:

    You can get more grip with the Cross Contact UHP.. they come in this size.

  • cpd87 cpd87 Posts:

    Not much choice out there in this size, otherwise I'd be recommending the default choice which are the Continental Extremecontact DW (summer) or DWS (all seasons). The DWS is pretty good for a summer tire; they're cheap and they emphasize comfort, wet performance and tread life... so perfect if you have a CUV but want something better than the OEMs. But if I were living in Cali I'd just go with summer tires and be done with it- all seasons don't work really well in the snow-belts because you're better off using a set of summers and winters.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Just go up 10mm in width - Yokohama AVID ENVigor - the #3 rated high-performance all-season and a great tire - I just bought my second set for my wife's 2007 Sienna Limited. Look at the reviews for them. The 235/55-19 size actually shows a tread width of 7.7 inches, versus the 8 inches for the 225-section OEM Toyos. Probably there is a small difference in the way the mfgs measure them, but it just illustrates the fact that there is almost no actual size difference between the two. Plus, in that size they are $183 a pop, as opposed to $260. One thing that drives that insane price for a so-so grand touring tire is that in addition to the fact that there is not much else in that size (thanks, Mazda...), these tires seem to be made ONLY in that size...and yeah, that's really gonna drive the price down for that model, that you design a new tire and then sell it in only one size (thanks, Toyo). If I owned this vehicle, I would change the tire size to 235/55-19 (29 different tires available at Tire Rack as opposed to 5 different tires in the OEM size), have the speedo and odo recalibrated for the infinitesimal diameter difference (if I cared), and never look back.

  • cotak cotak Posts:

    Winters plus summer tires are the way to go if you ever have to deal with ice and snow. It is still something that people even up here in Canada have trouble understanding. Often the resisters will sprout some dogma about how people have driven for years in winter without winter tires and never been in an accident. Its the same wrong headed thinking like vaccine skeptics. Sure you could be lucky enough to never need the safety margin, but its not just about you its about people around you. What if someone lose control and is headed for a head on with you? Those winters might just give you the grip you need to avoid getting creamed.

  • I see different summer and snow tires being a really good idea in areas that get snow but we don't get snow. Yet we do get freezing and sometimes even into the 20s but only occasionally over the winter. Just doesn't make it worth having a set of snow/winter tires and switching back and forth to summer tires. Especially when one week it might be 60 and the next week 20 and then the next week back to 50. --- Right tool for the job is a great idea but in some circumstances you just end up with a bunch of tools. Otherwise just take it to the extreme and drive the right car for the desired driving style too because summer performance tires on a CUV makes it even more mixed up in its purpose than an all-season tire.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    @cpd i had the continental DW tires and they are super comfertable and the wet grip was outstanding however i probably will not buy them again because of two reasons the first was sidewall rigity was not there going from all seasons it did not improve thi

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @bassrockerx: Your post was really hard to read, but I use the DWs for my AutoX wets (Pilot Super Sports for DD and dry). The breakaway in the wet was very predictable and the few weeks that I had them on (was lazy to switch and it turned out it was a hel

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    @duck87 i must have i barely squeezed the throttle at the end of a curve and BAM started losing it and there was no catching backwords in the ditch 40mph i was so mad because i was being careful. it was the end of a rain in december so it could have been

  • ramblinmo ramblinmo Posts:

    Another good reason to avoid the 19" tires on the Grand Touring.

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