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regfootball

2013 Mazda CX-5

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Had a chance to drive both the auto and stick CX-5 a couple weeks ago.

There is a lot that is really cool about this vehicle. There is a couple things Mazda really effed.

Overall don't believe the hype about this feeling like a sports car or anything. It's height and such still make it feel like an SUV. Actually that is the impressive thing about the vehicle. They shaved a lot of pounds from the design but yet when you sit in it and drive it, it feels like a larger, heavier crossover / SUV. It just has better steering and responsiveness from pretty much the rest. It's still not a sedan though. You will not get the sporty feel of a sedan in this vehicle.

The major flaw of course is the powertrain. Simply put, the 2.0 lacks juice. There is no way around it. It revs ok but it's not what i would say is quick to build rpm. It certainly does not build power quick. On the manual, it's hard to come to the final conclusion on whether its a deal breaker. The shifter is nice, as is the clutch, and the vehicle works well with what is a fairly linear range of power. It's just not a lot to work with. And I would not call it the smoothest four cylinder either. All the ruckus and vibrations and such are not totally tuned and damped out. Again, it's not bad but it's not top tier in smoothness. But they did not add 200 pounds of stuff to the vehicle so it would improve the NVH 10%. You can at least have fun with the manual, but even I began to think that the character of the vehicle was not suited for a stick.

It's a big tall SUV.....

The automatic was decent to a point but it just simply needs more power. If you like everything else about the vehicle bad enough, you can talk yourself into living with it. I think I would prefer to wait until the 2.5 comes out. RPM at 70+ was lower on the auto than the stick, which helped (about 2600 vs. 2800). The 2.0 and the match to the decent but not the quickest auto trans means you'll often be left wanting more kick in many situations.

The ride was pretty spot on and brakes seemed good. The handling has been overstated I believe. It's good....and feels nice and is fairly tight, but it's not overtly quick. Really for a vehicle like this that has the aura of an SUV it just would be out of character to really feel like a sport sedan. For what it is it's very likable.

Interior wise I felt was the stongest suit of the this vehicle. Nicely designed and laid out, nice textures and materials. Seats felt good. Alum like trim was fetching as was the cloth. A couple gripes.....climate control was low and cryptic, and the size of the radio screen is ridiculously small. Really. And a very far reach. The steering wheel made up for a lot of it, was very awesome, right size, felt nice to hold, buttons laid out nice on it.

Cargo hold is huge and passengers will like the seating. Seatbacks can dropped from the hatch area and fall down slick. 40/20/40 split is cool.

NO BLUETOOTH on the MT. WTF?

I think the press has confused people with the CX5 into thinking its like a tall sports sedan. It's not, just a better version of vehicles like the old Escape and Tribute. One could argue that the CX7 had a more sporting aura to it......in any case. For a light SUV to feel this tight and secure, be this comfy, and still have quality ride and handling that an enthusiast can at least be happy with is a nice job. Now Mazda needs to fix the engine problem and add some jazz to the radio setup. This interior previews the Mazda6 interior and I must say that bodes well. Good job Mazda.

HIGHS

Styling, inside and out

Feels well made, inside and out

Packaged well, cargo and passengers, lots of room

Commanding driver position and great visibility all around

Well laid out cabin and controls mostly, fantastic steering wheel, clear gauges

Very nice interior plastics and textures and stuff

Efficiently designed with low weight yet feels rock sold, stable, heavy and secure on the road

'Very Good' Steering and ride / handling

Really nice seats

Pretty good shifter and clutch

LOWS

Engine power and torque lacks, really needs a 2.5

Powertrain / NVH need a little bit more work

Climate controls a bit low and a bit cryptic

Feel feels tall and high C of G (which it has I guess LOL)

Radio is far away and screen (where touch screen would be) is stupidly small

Steering could be quicker

Automatic could be a little more quick to shift / less lethargic at times

Trunk trim a bit cheap in spots

Lacks some 'cush' that other competition may have

Interior design theme is a bit stoic / conservative / upright

A little hard to get the seat adjustment right.

SUMMARY

It's really a bit trite to pick on the weaknesses of this vehicle, considering the typical traits of vehicles in this class. I would not christen this as the coming of a sport sedan in a CUV package as much as I would call it a well thought out and executed CUV that goes beyond a lot of it's competition but is maybe not the best in any one way. It's consistent and pleasing. The engine is the flaw that keeps it from being a rock star. There are too many other choices that people like in this segment like the Equinox, Escape, and CRV that you could outright say this is a great ride. It's just merely very good. No chance of giving it an A unless they fix the motor.

B+

Edited by regfootball

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A very, very thoughtful and honest review...my hat is off to you, sir!

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its an SUV not a sport sedan........would have been easier to say. nice ride, but don't get one if you want a car.

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