2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD: Trailhead Shuttle for Five Adults
March 8, 2013
This weekend a group of five of us went for a hike along a short segment of the Pacific Crest Trail. I say "short" because this trail stretches between Mexico and Canada.
Obviously, this is not a loop trail, and we did not care to cover the same ground in out-and-back fashion. So we needed a two-car strategy which put our 2014 Mazda CX-5 at one end of the segment we were tackling and my buddy's first-generation Toyota Sienna minivan at the other.
We decided to leave the minivan and the end of our route and have all five hikers cozy up in the CX-5 for the 20-minute drive to the starting point. Why not the other way around? Think about it. A bit more separation distance between the parties would be preferable after we finished the 9.5-mile hike, would it not?
We're all full size adults, but no one arrived at the roadside pull-off parking area (look carefully above) with any complaints. One friend, Cliff (a great hiker name, that) owns a 2012 Honda CR-V just like the one in our long-term fleet. I asked him how it was back there.
There's a good chance he's never ridden three-across in back of his own Honda, so Cliff wasn't able say if it's better or not. With five aboard it's a bit cozy in back, as you can probably imagine, but on paper the CX-5 does have 0.6-inch more rear hip room than his CR-V.
The weather was great: sunny, 75-78 degrees, light breeze. Once we got back to the Sienna and had some food, four of us stayed in the CX-5 while the Sienna went home in a different direction. This was a better test.
With a bit more breathing space, the Mazda's one-inch advantage in rear leg room became apparent. Backseat passengers in the Mazda also enjoy a good deal more vertical toe room, a good thing when hiking boots are in play.
Today in the office I grabbed the CR-V's key for a back-to-back comparison of my own. I confirmed that the Mazda's steering wheel telescopes farther back, which means I can move my seat forward for folks in the backseat if necessary and still have knee room to work the pedals behind the spokes. I also like the extra width between the CX-5's dead pedal and the brake. I can easily stretch out my left leg in here but the same gap is too small in the CR-V.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,102 miles