2014 Mazda CX-5: Road Trip Impressions
March 12, 2013
I made my way from Los Angeles to Goodyear, Arizona, this past weekend in our Mazda CX-5. I've had plenty of time in our CR-V, so it would be interesting to see how Mazda's competitor stacks up over a long haul.
Like Honda's hugely popular SUV, the CX-5 feels like more of an urban runabout SUV. Its sharp steering, nimble handling and good sight lines make it well-suited to zipping through traffic, squeezing into parking spots and taking turns at higher-than-normal speeds just for the hell of it.
Having said that, it's also less suited to highway use. Compared to a Chevy Equinox or Ford Escape, the ride isn't as supple, there's considerably more wind noise (especially over 75) and it generally doesn't feel as substantial. I think this would be especially true if you are downsizing from a bigger family hauler.
The engine, as I wrote earlier, is certainly up to the task and can even feel spirited at times. I didn't have the urge to break out a whip to crack over the rear quarter panel as I do when driving the CR-V. Having said that, it's hard to ignore the allure of the Ford Escape's 2.0-liter turbo and the torquey jolt it provides.
Nevertheless, I strongly suspect the Mazda CX-5 achieved better fuel economy than the Ford would have. I got 27 mpg, versus 30 EPA Highway, but that's 331 miles of mostly uphill at 75-plus in pretty heavy wind. Tis not a recipe for thriftiness.
Stay tuned for future entries about the cargo space (a Pro) and the infotainment system touchscreen (a Con).
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 2,880 miles