Monthly Update for December 2018 - 2018 Mazda CX-5 Long-Term Road Test

2018 Mazda CX-5: Monthly Update for December 2018

by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor

Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2018 Mazda CX-5 had a low-key December, as we only drove it about 860 miles. Part of that was due to the holidays, in which many of us were off from work and didn't need to commute as much.

We still found time to praise our CX-5 for its interior and run into the limits of its cargo capacity. We even used it as a rescue vehicle.

2018 Mazda CX-5

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
The CX-5's lifetime fuel economy increased a slight tick from 23.3 to 23.4 mpg in December. As we noted earlier, our lifetime mpg isn't close to the EPA combined rating of 26 mpg, but we're closer to the 25 mpg that people are getting in real-world driving, according to We'll chalk up the difference to Los Angeles traffic, which regularly takes a toll on our fuel economy.

Average lifetime mpg: 23.4
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 33
Best range: 347.2 miles
Current odometer: 14,825 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep

Logbook Highlights

"A guy approached while I was waiting for my shawarma at the local Lebanese place and asked about the CX-5. He said the lease is almost up on his wife's Honda Pilot, and they're curious about Mazda. I offered to open the CX-5 up and give him and his wife a look inside. The guy said his family has always owned and enjoyed Hondas, but that he was enamored with the Mazda's design and color. He just loved how it looked inside and out; said so at least five times. I grabbed my shawarma and mentioned he should check out the CX-9 if they want something the same size as the Pilot. Clearly, Mazda's got the design thing down right." — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content

Cargo Space
"I've always accepted the CX-5's reduced cargo capacity as a trade-off for its design, but over the holidays I nearly ran into the limits of that capacity. I volunteered to take a family member to the airport. This family member had two large pieces of luggage that the cargo area could just barely fit. Admittedly, this luggage was big (is there a size above 'oversized'?), but it made me wonder if the CX-5 would've been able to fit another person and another person's worth of luggage. Probably yes, with the seats folded flat, but it'd be tight. Now, the size of the luggage means this was probably closer to an edge case, but it is something families should be aware about." — Carlos Lago

"Sleepy-driver aids can only do so much, and then you have to either ask another driver to take over or just call it a night. I found this out when I had to rescue editor Jay Kavanagh in Central California after the box van he was traveling in broke down. He threw up the bat signal after midnight. And since he was about 200 miles away, I didn't get to him until around 3 a.m. Amazingly enough, I wasn't too tired and was able to simply sing along to '80s music on satellite radio to stay motivated.

"But when I picked up Jay and he hopped behind the wheel, it was only after about 20 minutes of driving when he then asked me to take over. As a passenger, I didn't notice Jay driving sleepy — no going over Bott's dots or weaving, for example — but it was good that he called it before it got to that point. When you're that sleepy, a vibrating steering wheel or an alert isn't going to be enough to keep you awake for a long drive. But I can see either of these features being a good heads-up, like if you are vibrating the steering wheel too much, it's time to grab a hotel room for the night." — Caroline Pardilla, senior copy editor

"The CX-5 is exactly the type of car you'd want rescuing you after being stranded at the side of Interstate 5 in Central California in the middle of the night. After waiting in a box van for four hours without power or heat in 40-degree temperatures, Jay and his friend were grateful I pulled up in the CX-5. Sure, at that point they'd be grateful for anyone to help them out. But the CX-5 is not only comfy and roomy enough so that they could sack out, but it also easily swallowed up their luggage and race gear." — Caroline Pardilla

2018 Mazda CX-5

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