Extended-Use Welcome: 2013 Mazda CX-5
The auto industry is a highly competitive environment. Automakers are constantly fighting for market share, especially in the moderately-priced, high-volume classes, such as the compact-car, midsize-car, compact-SUV, and midsize-SUV categories. Anytime there’s a new player in the game, we’re eager to see if it has what it takes to challenge the popular, established nameplates in its respective category. This especially rings true in the popular compact-SUV segment, the space in which the new 2013 Mazda CX-5 does battle. Since we’ve been pleased with the other long-term Mazdas that have cycled through our fleet recently (2010 Mazda 3 and 2012 Mazda 5), we really wanted to evaluate a CX-5 for a year. We’re interested to see how much better the CX-5 is compared to the now-discontinued Tribute and CX-7. We’re also curious to see how the CX-5’s fuel-economy claims stand up to real-life driving.
In the fuel-economy department, the company has developed a suite of efficiency-focused features. Collectively called SkyActiv, Mazda is progressively integrating them into its existing product lineup. CX-5 was designed from the ground up to get the full SkyActiv treatment. This includes a new 155-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, and lightweight body and chassis components.
While in our care, this CX-5 will be driven just like you drive your car: commuting to work, running errands, and occasionally taking road trips. It will see the variety of road conditions and seasonal weather types available in the Chicago area and surrounding suburbs.
About CG’s Test 2013 Mazda CX-5
Our CX-5 is the range-topping Grand Touring model. It includes front-wheel-drive, the 6-speed automatic transmission, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, power locks/windows/mirrors with turn signals, keyless entry, digital-media-player connection, wireless cell-phone link, USB port, blind spot alert, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rearview camera, fog lights, leather upholstery, power sunroof, Bose sound system, and automatic headlights.
In addition to that expansive equipment list, options added to our CX-5 include a retractable cargo cover, Sirius satellite radio, and the Grand Touring Tech Package (navigation system, keyless access and starting, automatic day/night rearview mirror, universal garage door opener, steering-linked xenon headlights, and alarm). The Grand Touring model starts at $ 27,045. Ours rings in at $ 29,355.
Though CX-5’s horsepower numbers aren’t as great as many compact SUVs, its EPA-estimated fuel-economy numbers are the real story: 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway for base 2WD models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, 26/32 with front drive and the automatic transmission, and 25/31 mpg for all-wheel-drive models. These figures best a few of the older-design compact SUVs by as many as 8-10 mpg, and some recently redesigned rivals by about 2-3 mpg. The CX-5’s numbers are a huge improvement over those of the old Tribute and CX-7 (both between 17-28 mpg).
Will the CX-5 emerge as a fuel-economy champ? So far, we’re averaging 28.9 mpg, but stay tuned to see how it fares during its year in our long-term test fleet.
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