2018 Mazda CX-5: Monthly Update for April 2018
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Manager
Where Did We Drive It?
As we do with any other vehicle that joins the Edmunds long-term fleet, we covered the recommended break-in miles in our still fresh-smelling 2018 Mazda CX-5 and immediately went to the test track to lay down some baseline performance numbers and see how it stacks up to other compact SUVs.
We were more than a little surprised at the results.
One of the reasons we like the Mazda CX-5 is for the driving experience it provides. It feels sporty, offering snappy acceleration right off the line and a willingness to move and play around corners. It's more engaging than many of the other choices.
If you just looked at the numbers, you'd think it was the dog of the group. In a sprint race to 60 mph, our sharply dressed Soul Red CX-5 (9.2 seconds) would trail in the wake of a top-trim Honda CR-V (7.5 seconds) or Ford Escape (7.0 seconds). And it'd be rubbing wheels with the ostensibly less sporting Toyota RAV4 (9.3 seconds). That's a bit disappointing considering the seat-of-the-pants sensation we get from the driver's seat.
A car is more than just its performance numbers, and the CX-5 still has nearly a full year to impress us with its many other redeeming qualities.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
A month of relatively short trips, photo shoots and testing did fuel economy no favors. Our best tank fill to date failed to match even the Mazda CX-5's combined EPA estimate of 26 mpg. It's still early, so we're not drawing any conclusions yet.
Average lifetime mpg: 19.9
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 24.6
Best range: 272.5 miles
Current odometer: 2,033 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"So far I really like the CX-5. Despite its disappointing acceleration performance at the test track, out in the real world, where I'm spending more time in the lower rpm range, I don't find it lacking nearly as much. Mind you, I haven't needed to ask it for passing power at flowing freeway speeds, but it feels great on surface streets." — Jonathan Elfalan, road test manager
"I don't particularly care for four-door vehicles. I don't carry passengers, so the extra doors are kind of a waste, and I tend to think coupes simply look better. But they do offer one major advantage for me and that's easy access to the back seats — more specifically, the rear floor. Two bags of groceries just dropped right in behind my seat. And, yes, I know there's a generous trunk on the CX-5, but I doubt it will hold two bags of food, cargo net or not, as well as the rear floor does." — Kurt Niebuhr, road test editor
"I always felt like the original CX-5 was a little overrated. Sure, it was an above-average athlete on twisty roads, but how many owners actually test the limits in that scenario? These things aren't sports cars; they're daily drivers or family haulers. And in those capacities, I felt the original CX-5 failed to distinguish itself.
"But this second-generation CX-5 is a big step up. It's quieter and more supple on the road, it's got a newfound premium vibe inside and out, and the old model's unpleasantly low (for me) back seat has been replaced with a higher-mounted unit that provides plenty of room and support for my 6-foot-1 frame. The one thing it's missing is a more powerful engine option to compete with something like the 2.0-liter turbocharged Ford Escape. Otherwise, I'd say the CX-5 now lives up to the media hype and may well be the best SUV in its class." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy
"I'm glad Mazda finally came out with a full-speed range adaptive cruise control. Previous systems, as in our recently departed long-term CX-9, only worked down to a relatively useless 15 mph. The CX-5's system performs well, too, maintaining a reasonable gap to the vehicle ahead and not overreacting with huge amounts of braking should another vehicle slip into your lane. It definitely helps blunt the stress edge of the rush-hour commute." — Jonathan Elfalan