When you look at compact SUVs/crossovers, there are a few legends in the segment that have been around for ages. Those include the well-known Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and the Ford Escape. More recently, the Volkswagen Tiguan, Chevrolet Equinox and the Kia Sportage have joined the heated segment and have all proven themselves worthy in their own regard.
Now imagine Mazda’s product development team sitting around in a board room planning to come out with a new model that would compete in a very popular segment that already has very strong competitors from rival brands. It would seem quite difficult and pretty insane.
Well, Mazda took a shoot with a brand-new model called the CX-5, filling the void left by the Mazda Tribute – oh yeah… remember that car? So has Mazda nailed it? Let’s find out.
2013 Mazda CX-5 Specifications:
- Style: Compact SUV/Crossover.
- Seating Capacity: 5.
- Base Price: $20,995.
- Price as Tested: $30,715.
- Engine: 2.0-liter gasoline 4-cylinder – 155-hp at 6,000 rpm and 150 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm.
- Transmission: 6-speed manual; 6-speed automatic.
- 0 to 60 mph: 9.2 seconds.
- Top Speed: 115 mph.
- Curb Weight: 3,438 lbs.
- Fuel-economy: 26/32 mpg (city/highway) with FWD and 25/31 mpg for AWD.
The Mazda CX-5 is the first production model to showcase the brand’s new design theme, ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’, which was previewed with the Mazda SHINARI and Mazda MINAGI concept cars. One of the design features that really stand out from the KODO is the new front fascia with a bolder Mazda family face grille. That’s right – gone are the days of ‘smiley face’ Mazdas and in comes a more dynamic styling that conveys a strong sense of aggressiveness and solidity.
Comparing it to its competitors, the Mazda CX-5 wins my approval when it comes to exterior design. Put it next to anything in the segment and the CX-5 will definitely turn more heads.
Step inside the Mazda CX-5 and you’ll notice that the compact crossover is actually a little bigger than it looks from the outside. Since the CX-5 sits on segment-leading 106.3-inch wheelbase, the model seats five and offers a cabin that accommodates an active lifestyle. There is a 3-piece independent 40/20/40-split fold-flat second row, which allows the the CX-5 to take whatever is thrown its way.
Our 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring test-model came with leather trimmed seats and all the bells and whistles. Seating is quite comfortable and space for rear space passengers is one of the roomiest in the segment. Legroom for the second row is comes in at 39.3 inches with an equally generous knee clearance of 2.6 inches. Up front, both the driver and passenger can enjoy 40.1 inches of headroom (when not equipped with a moonroof), 57.5 inches for the broadest of shoulders and 41.0 inches to stretch their legs. For the driver and passenger, 6- and 8-way power-adjustable seats are standard on all but the entry-level models.
Tech wise, our 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring came well equipped with a 5.8 touch screen that holds the phone, audio and navigation functions. Standard and optional extras include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and iPod audio playback, a 9-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system with AudioPilot, HD Radio Technology and more. The CX-5 is also the first time Mazda shows off its partnership with TomTom navigation systems.
One thing that must be pointed about the Mazda CX-5′s interior is the outstanding level of quality. Compared to its rivals, the CX-5 is very well put together with a good use of soft-touch materials with all features placed ergonomically.
What’s all this talk about SKYACTIV? The easiest way to explain it is that SKYACTIV is to Mazda what EfficientDynamics is to BMW. The Mazda CX-5 is the first model from the brand to use the company SKYACTIV technology - the brand’s engineering-focused philosophy of improving all-around vehicle efficiency for its lineup.
Power comes fro ma SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine which features a 13:1 compression ratio. The engine is good for 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, 150 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm and hits redline at 6,500 rpm. Transmission choices include a SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual or SKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed automatic. 0 to 60 mph comes in 9.2 seconds with a top speed of 115 mph.
Together all this SKYACTIVness offers best-in-class fuel economy 26 city/33 highway for the front-wheel-drive model and 25/30 mpg for the AWD model. During my week long affair with Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD, I managed to average 26 mpg combined, which is pretty outstanding for a compact SUV.
Driving dynamics are nothing short of impressive. The Mazda CX-5 handles like a champ, drives comfortably and feels planted on the ground. Of course, at 155-hp it isn’t all that powerful, but it’s not like you’re going to be drag-racing in a compact crossover anytime soon.
So has Mazda pulled off bringing in a brand new entry into the compact SUV segment? No, in my eyes, they hit a grand slam and others seem to agree. The CX-5 has already won numerous awards including Top Safety Pick Award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a spot on Wards list of 10 Best Interiors for 2012, 2012 crossover of the year by AutoBytel and many more.
But the most important accolade of all is that it has been received so well by customers that Mazda can’t keep up with the orders. The company is currently looking for ways to boost production of the model.
Prices for the 2013 Mazda CX-5 start at $20,995 for the base Sport model and go all the way up to $28,595 for the CX-5 Grand Touring AWD. Our well equipped Grand Touring AWD model was priced at $30,715.
I guess it goes without further explanation that if you’re in the market for a compact crossover, the Mazda CX-5 should be on the top of your list.
All Photos Copyright egmCarTech © Omar Rana.
- By: Omar Rana