2018 Mazda CX-5: Monthly Update for September 2018
by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
We drove our 2018 Mazda CX-5 about 1,700 miles in September, making up for a low-key, low-mileage August. The CX-5 traveled everywhere, from Northern California's Bay Area to Universal Studios in nearby Hollywood. In the course of those miles, we found a workaround for a lack of cargo hooks, learned how easy it is to install a front-facing child seat, encountered a slight stalling issue, and heard the rumor mill churning about a much-need powertrain upgrade.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Our man Rex Tokeshi-Torres set the CX-5's second-best range record at 331.8 miles. We've traveled in the high 320s a few times, but this is the first time to top 330 miles. Aside from that, however, our lifetime mpg of 22.5 is still underperforming and disappointing.
Average lifetime mpg: 22.5
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 28.1
Best range: 331.8 miles
Current odometer: 8,907 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"This morning, the CX-5 died on me in a very undramatic way. I went down to my parking spot, started up the car, then it immediately turned itself off. There was no clunking or banging or backfiring, just a shut-off. The check engine light came on. I then pressed the start button (to turn the car off) and started the car back up again. No issues, no check engine light, like nothing ever happened. Time to schedule a dealer visit and see if they've got that code stored in the car's computer." — Travis Langness, reviews editor
"Took the CX-5 to the dealership after it died on Travis. We got a call from the service adviser a few hours later, saying that the issue was fixed and the car ready for pick up. The problem was a known issue, part of a technical service bulletin (TSB #01-015-18-3513). It said the following:
"'Some vehicles may experience a lack of power and the check engine light on with dtc p061b:00 stored in the PCM memory when engine cranking is interrupted. This concern most likely occurs when the brake pedal is released during engine cranking.'
"The fix was a simple software update to the powertrain control module. It was covered under warranty and we paid nothing. We'll keep our foot on the brake a little longer when starting and hopefully this issue doesn't crop up again." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
Total cost: $0
Days out of service: 0
"I'm the kind of person who cares about engines and how they perform, so when I think of our long-term CX-5, the word 'underpowered' typically comes to mind. But what if our CX-5 had Mazda's torquey 2.5-liter turbo engine, the one that comes standard in the larger CX-9? In that case, I wouldn't have much to complain about. This is a remarkably easy SUV to live with, drawing attention to little except its grace and all-around competence. It's easy on the eyes, too.
"With assertive turbocharged acceleration, I think it would be the odds-on favorite in this segment. In point of fact, there's a persistent rumor that the 2.5T will be offered in the CX-5 for 2019, which I hope is true. A turbocharged CX-5 versus the current Honda CR-V would be a very interesting matchup." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy
"I stopped at a fruit stand set up alongside California Route 152 on my way up to the Bay Area. After picking up some late summer peaches and plums, I got ready to pull back into traffic, traffic that was scooting along somewhere around 50 miles per hour. Although the CX-5 managed to get me up to flow-of-traffic speed, it didn't seem the least bit happy about it. The sluggish response to me laying into the gas was more than surprising — it was disappointing. The CX-5 is fantastic in many respects. But getting up to highway speed quickly isn't one of them." — Matt Jones, senior consumer advice editor
"The CX-5 doesn't have grocery bag hooks in the cargo area, or at least any I can find. And that's a bummer because when you're toting food stuff that bruises easily, like peaches or tomatoes; grocery bag hooks can ensure that round-ish things don't roll around and get all messed up. Since the CX-5 doesn't have any grocery bag hooks, I made my own." — Matt Jones
"This past Sunday I chauffeured my sister, brother-in-law and 4-year-old niece to Universal Studios. Since it was just the four of us, we fit comfortably in the crossover. And it easily accommodated Astrid's stroller, snack pack, backpack of extra outfits, a car seat, and all the adults' bags. There was still plenty of room for the delicate balloon hats acquired at the end of the day." — Caroline Pardilla, senior copy editor
"My sister Jennifer sat in the back seat with her 4-year-old daughter. And not only did she appreciate how easy the child seat was to buckle in thanks to the anchor located midway down the back of the seat, but that she was still able to use the armrest even with the installed child seat there. It's a thoughtful bit of comfort." — Caroline Pardilla