2018 Mazda CX-5: Monthly Update for October 2018
by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2018 Mazda CX-5 really stretched its legs in October. We drove it about 3,500 miles, including trips to Sonoma and even north of Lake Tahoe. We set new fuel efficiency and range records, further lamented the lack of a cargo net and had some impressions of the CX-5's tech features.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Both road trips set new records for fuel economy. Scott Jacobs, our senior manager of photo operations, broke last month's maximum range record with an impressive 347 miles on one tank. And Reviews Editor Travis Langness set a new record for best-fill mpg, getting 33 mpg over 177 miles.
These results increased the CX-5's lifetime fuel efficiency from 22.4 to 23.9 mpg. Despite those improvements, we are still a couple of ticks below the EPA combined rating of 26 mpg. Travis noticed this on his recent road trip:
"Even on the highway, and even with a mind for fuel economy, I'm having a hard time reaching the EPA's highway estimate in the CX-5. Passing power down low just isn't there, so when you go around a semi you really have to bury the throttle. On a recent road trip to and from Northern California, I was able to get it above 28 mpg, but only just. Even though that's a current record for our test, that's still 2 mpg below the EPA's estimate." — Travis Langness, reviews editor
Average lifetime mpg: 23.9
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 33
Best range: 347.2 miles
Current odometer: 12,434 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"The adaptive cruise control in our CX-5 is really rather ham-fisted. It doesn't seem to detect vehicles in front of you until they're very close, and when it does spot them, it hits the brakes pretty hard. Then, it maintains a distance that's too long for my liking, even on the closest setup. Luckily, the system can be disabled, [reinstating] standard cruise control." — Travis Langness
"I like the CX-5's lane keeping assist system. It's not annoying, not intrusive and not dramatic. It doesn't vibrate the steering wheel and doesn't issue a buzzing alert (à la the Nissan Leaf, which editor Jonathan Elfalan aptly compared to the buzzer from the Operation board game). Instead, if you drift to the edge of your lane, the CX-5 just adds firm and deliberate steering input to nudge the car back to center, enough to let you know that you weren't paying attention, but not so much as to lecture you." — Dan Frio, reviews editor
"I drove up to my family's seasonal cabin north of Tahoe to close it out for the winter. The CX-5 is a reasonably sized car, but to fit my three large dogs, I folded the rear flat and laid out several blankets for them to relax on for the 18-hour round trip. My senior dog, Archie, immediately made himself at home in the back. Thankfully my seat in the CX-5 was comfortable over the long haul as well.
"I enjoyed our CX-5's comfort and especially the head-up display for the speedo. I felt I could focus on the road a lot more by having the display within my periphery. I personally could not stand using the head unit for anything other than stereo, and even then I preferred to stream music out of my phone and not deal with it. The system was clunky and hard to use, especially the navigation. Apple CarPlay has spoiled me." — Scott Jacobs, senior manager, photo operations
"Crossovers like this CX-5 should all come with cargo nets in the rear. I've gone on dozens of road trips in cars such as the CR-V, the CX-5, the Escape, and seldom do I find myself filling the cargo area to the brim. Sure, it's just a $50 option at most dealerships, but a cargo net as standard would be a nice added touch to keep my cargo in place back there." — Travis Langness
"One of the reasons the CX-5 feels so luxury-adjacent is the high-quality interior. Lots of nice materials, plush seats and a really quiet ride on the highway. Take off the badges and maybe fancy-up some of the fonts on the dials and you'd be hard-pressed to distinguish [it] from some of its luxury rivals." — Travis Langness