Beach Wheels: Mazda CX-5 a solid competitor
by Jeff Mitchell
It’s easy to understand why the CX-5 is Mazda’s fleet-wide top seller. There is a higher-level fit and finish in this crossover sport-ute than you generally find elsewhere.
I spent a week driving the CX-5 Signature and was impressed by its build quality, capabilities and performance.
My tester featured a 2.5 liter turbocharged and inter-cooled 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection. This power plant generated 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque at 2000 rpm. This engine is mated to a smooth-shifting, 6-speed automatic transmission that offers a manual shifting option. Mind you, the CX-5 isn’t exactly a speed demon but it’s not lethargic, either. It can do 0-60 mph in just slightly over 6 seconds.
My tester came dressed out in what Mazda calls “soul red crystal metallic” paint and “caturra” brown nappa leather seats. The vehicle’s electric-powered steering and handling were both precise and responsive and there was a minimum of body roll going around corners. On paved roads my tester offered a smooth, supple ride with just enough road surface information being transmitted back to the driver to be helpful.
The cabin in the CX-5 Signature is awash in luxurious features, such as a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel and power-adjustable, ventilated seats. It comes with other goodies, including a power moonroof and real wood trim cabin trim.
The Signature, which can accommodate five adults comfortably, offers multiple USB ports, a great sounding 10-speaker Bose sound system, satellite radio and navigation as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. My vehicle came sitting on handsome 19-inch steel alloy wheels.
The Signature comes with a standard array of safety features including blind-spot and lane-departure warning alarms, LED head-fog-and taillights, a 360-degree parking camera, front and rear parking sensors and folding side mirrors. Because Mazda wants you to keep your eyes on the road, it has disabled the touch-screen when the vehicle is in motion, leaving you with a single knob near the gear selector. I found this “feature” to be smart — if not slightly annoying.
There is 30.9 cubic feet of cargo space when the rear seats are up and 59.6 cubic feet of space when they are folded down — adequate but not class-leading numbers. The Signature trim level also features a power liftgate.
Gas mileage with this particular engine is decent. I registered 24 mpg overall with 22 mpg in the city and a not bad 27 mpg out on the highway.
The CX-5 competes primarily with the Subaru Forester and the Honda CR-V — both solid vehicles worthy of you test driving.
The price of my tester — as equipped — was a reasonable $38,975.
Final word: Like I always say, you owe it to yourself to do your homework and test-drive the competition. However, my guess is that once you do, you’ll find yourself heading back to your Mazda dealer to buy a CX-5.
Jeff Mitchell is a South Bay automotive journalist. Reach him at email@example.com. ER