The 2013 Mazda CX-5 earns an above average Total Car Score for the Compact SUVs & Crossovers segment.
Nearly all of the most popular (and highest scoring) vehicles in this well-populated segment have had a number of years -- and in some cases a number of generations -- of development time to achieve their high standing. Yet here’s Mazda with a rookie effort that steps right in among the elites of the class.
How did that happen? Mazda has created what some are calling the best-driving compact crossover in the segment. It’s not the most powerful vehicle in the class, though with 155 hp the SkyActiv engine is no slouch. But Mazda’s clean-sheet-of-paper design melded ample power, smooth power delivery via new manual and automatic transmissions, and a very well sorted chassis to deliver a driving experience that’s more like a sports sedan than a small SUV. Add a driver-oriented cockpit, a long list of standard features, and fuel economy that’s near best-in-class, and you have a combination that’s tough to beat, especially for an enthusiast-oriented driver.
Complaints about the CX-5 have been few. Some felt there was too much droning exhaust noise transmitted into the cabin, while others were hoping for a little more “zoom-zoom” on freeway on-ramps and while passing. Quarter-mile and 0-60 times have been on the leisurely side, too.
But this is the CX-5, not the MX-5 (Miata), and most agree that those who have to give up their sports car for a family hauler will be very impressed.
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is all new for the model year, so no major changes are expected for a few years.
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is an all-new five-passenger crossover vehicle available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels.
Driving the CX-5 is Mazda’s SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which delivers 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. The engine can be paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission and can drive either the front wheels or all four if the AWD option is chosen (though AWD models get only the automatic transmission).
The base CX-5 Sport comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, keyless entry and pushbutton start, power door locks and windows, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary jack and USB port.
Upgrading to the Touring trim level adds fog lamps, a powered driver’s seat, 5.8-inch color display, Bluetooth connectivity, a backup camera, a 40/20/40 folding rear seat, and upgraded audio system with HD radio.
The top-end Grand Touring model rides on 19-inch alloy wheels and is equipped with automatic headlights, a powered moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, leather-trimmed upholstery and heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a nine-speaker Bose audio system with satellite radio.
Adaptive front lighting, a trailer hitch and a TomTom-based navigation system are among the options available for the CX-5.
Standard safety equipment engineered into the CX-5 includes six airbags, four-wheel disc brakes, ABS and traction control. Blind-spot monitoring is available as an option.
The EPA found the manual-transmission 2WD CX-5 returned the best fuel economy, at 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. The automatic 2WD was just a tick below that at 26/32/29 mpg, while the AWD version delivered 25/31/28 mpg.
Properly equipped, the Mazda CX-5 can tow up to 2,000 pounds.
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