Reviewed by: Susan Frissell

Our test Mazda CX-5 compact-ute presented itself for driving review in a very handsome navy blue color with light ecru leather seating. Our top-of-the-line Grand Touring model came well-equipped. The CX-5 is available in six styles, the Sport version (AWD and FWD), Touring (AWD, FWD), and Grand Touring (AWD, FWD). Pricing ranges from $21,395 to $29,070.

Introduced in 2013, the Mazda CX-5 is a great looking CUV, somewhat resembling the high-end BMW SUV’s.  This writer had several favorable comments from onlookers, and lots of questions. Hopefully, it will generate a few walk-ins at local dealers.my15_cx5_ext_large_1

 

While there is much to like about the CX-5, we didn’t care for the four-banger sound of the 4-cylinder engine; the exhaust hums a strange tune, too, and we suspect sounds great to some. Around town driving makes the 2.5-liter acceptable, but when hitting the highway, it’s woefully, limited. Fuel economy is acceptable and the cabin is outfitted nicely.

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As with other CUV’s, the Mazda CX-5 has a firm ride; One of the things that didn’t appeal to this writer about the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson. However, there are so many other things about these compact utes that are appealing, maybe a firmer ride can be overlooked.

Options on our test CX-5 included cargo mat ($60), rear bumper guard ($100), door sill trim plates ($125), Grand Touring Tech Package (navigation system, tire pressure monitoring system, HID headlamps w/auto leveling, adaptive front lighting, smart city brake support, auto dim mirror with HomeLink, $1,425).

One unnerving feature is the CX-5’s skitishness on the road. We didn’t get the feeling it would turn over, but it felt somewhat unsure on some roads. In addition, when backing up and moving the gearshift into drive, the CX-5 shifted and jerked, the vehicle leaping forward. Not sure if this was a problem with the transmission on this particular test vehicle, or a function of how it operates in general.

The CX-5’s touch screen is quite small, in comparison. Again, one cannot expect the quality or sophistication of those items commonly found on luxury sport-utes. For the money and car’s category, these are adequate. Mazda’s Tom Tom based navigation is easy to use, as are the audio system and climate control. my15_cx5_ext_small_2

Mazda vehicles are generally a favorite of this writer, particularly the MX-5 Miata. Styling and features are often on the receiving end of complimentary comments, for styling, comfort, fuel economy.

Competition for the CX-5 includes Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester and Honda CR-V. All strong competitors.

SPECS

MSRP: $29.220; total vehicle price $31, 760, destination $830

Engine: SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter, 184 hp., 185 lbs.ft. torque

Transmission: SKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed sport A/T

Wheelbase: 106.3 in.

Length: 178.7 in.

Height: 65.7 in.

Width: 72.4 in.

EPA fuel economy: 24/30 mpg.

Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.3 gal.

Tires: P225/55 R19 all-season

Wheels: 19-inch alloy

Towing capacity: 2,000 lbs.

Warranty: 36-mth/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper, 60-mth/60,000-mile powertrain, 24-hour roadside assistance.