Jump to content
  • Greetings Guest!

    CheersandGears.com was founded in 2001 and is one of the oldest continuously operating automotive forums out there.  Come see why we have users who visit nearly every day for the past 16+ years. Signup is fast and free, or you can opt for a premium subscription to view the site ad-free.

William Maley

Mazda News: Fuel Economy Figures Come Out On CX-5 Diesel... And it Isn't So Good

Recommended Posts

It seems like ages since Mazda announced plans to bring over a diesel engine. Many things have transpired since then with various delays and the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal. While the company said the diesel engine was still in the cards, we started to think it was as real as bigfoot or the loch ness monster. But the engine is one step closer to reality as the EPA has posted the fuel economy figures for the CX-5 diesel.

For the front-wheel variant, the CX-5 diesel will return 28 City/31 Highway/29 Combined. All-wheel drive see a slight drop to 27/30/28. Major improvement over gas model, right? Not really. The FWD gas model does trail the diesel in the city by three, but there is only a one mpg difference in the highway and the combined figure is the same. The AWD gas model is pretty much the same story; three mpg difference in the city, two mpg difference on the highway, and the same figure for combined.

It gets even worse if we compare it to the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain Diesel. In FWD guise, EPA figures stand at 28 City/39 Highway/32 Combined. AWD models return 28/38/32.

We're guessing that new emissions equipment and harder testing likely affected CX-5 diesel's fuel economy figure. Mazda might sell the diesel engine as a performance upgrade - the 2.2L turbodiesel produces 170 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. 

No timeframe has been given on when the CX-5 diesel will finally go on sale.

Source: EPA


View full article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holy sh*t that's bad. I would have expected Mazda to have gotten 40+highway on the FWD version. 

This only makes me more curious as to what they'll return in the real world because diesels tend to do better than their ratings in passenger vehicles(not trucks made for work). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, few extra mpg are not going to compensate the higher cost of diesel.

I wish Mazda would just cut the losses and not waste money and resources bringing the diesel to US.  

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Time for Mazda to stop wasting R&D dollars on a dead animal. Diesel is dead and at those figures dead on arrival in this market. They would do much better to bring in a Plug-in Hybrid with this engine as a tuned generator for that and would get a much better MPG rating and probably sell. 

This stupidity is what will kill Mazda.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wait, 310 lb-ft of torque? That's probably also at a very low RPM.... that thing will feel fast

That's more than just about all naturally aspirated V6es, and even more than the 2.3T Ecoboost in the Mustang.  

Yes, this will be the performance option. That's the real story here.  Performance upgrade without a fuel economy penalty. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

Wait, 310 lb-ft of torque? That's probably also at a very low RPM.... that thing will feel fast

That's more than just about all naturally aspirated V6es, and even more than the 2.3T Ecoboost in the Mustang.  

Yes, this will be the performance option. That's the real story here.  Performance upgrade without a fuel economy penalty. 

Somehow I doubt it will be substantially faster than NA CX-5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ykX said:

Somehow I doubt it will be substantially faster than NA CX-5

Why? The current CX5 isn't all that fast.   But even still, it will feel faster.  It probably has more torque than any other crossover in the class, and even classes above it. 

It is only 5 ft-lb less than then 2014 Suburban 5.3 V8 with a lot less bulk to haul around. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

and even more than the 2.3T Ecoboost in the Mustang.  

That is not correct, sir. The 2.3T in the Mustang makes 310hp and 350lb-ft. 

The pre-refreshed 2.3T in the Mustang was 320lb-ft. 

The 2.3T in the MKC(I know it's a more pricey class) puts down 305lb-ft, FWIW. 

The numbers are significantly higher than the Terrain's 1.6T diesel making 137p and 240tq. That's slow as balls so hopefully this should be a lot better AND achieve pretty dang good fuel economy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting to see this side by side on the EPA site.

CX5-Diesel_Versus_Gas.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

performance upgrade, or actual towing ease?

i think these are class 2 rated....nvm, 1 ton towing. but anyway... much easier towing.

aren't the gm twins... using a smaller displacement and more gears?  can't compare apples to apples, but i understand, intended market and such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like this CX-5 diesel could outperform the Equinox diesel (if similarly equipped).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

310 lb-ft is a lot, especially in this segment, so it should be the performance vehicle of the class but what will it cost?  It will probably have a 0-60 time in the high 6’s, we aren’t talking massive speed and I feel like that diesel will add $3,000 in cost.  Could have got better mpg with a mild hybrid system.

Keep in mind the Mercedes GLK diesel had 369 lb-ft and did 0-60 in 7.4  or 7.2 seconds, it wasn’t really fast despite all the torque.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

310 lb-ft is a lot, especially in this segment, so it should be the performance vehicle of the class but what will it cost?  It will probably have a 0-60 time in the high 6’s, we aren’t talking massive speed and I feel like that diesel will add $3,000 in cost.  Could have got better mpg with a mild hybrid system.

Keep in mind the Mercedes GLK diesel had 369 lb-ft and did 0-60 in 7.4  or 7.2 seconds, it wasn’t really fast despite all the torque.

Yet faster than most auto's that are in the 10 sec range. I think many will think it is fast. I just think it is too little too late for the added cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm and the new full-size pickup diesels all promise close to 30 mpg hwy in 2WD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, smk4565 said:

310 lb-ft is a lot, especially in this segment, so it should be the performance vehicle of the class but what will it cost?  It will probably have a 0-60 time in the high 6’s, we aren’t talking massive speed and I feel like that diesel will add $3,000 in cost.  Could have got better mpg with a mild hybrid system.

Keep in mind the Mercedes GLK diesel had 369 lb-ft and did 0-60 in 7.4  or 7.2 seconds, it wasn’t really fast despite all the torque.

We've gotten a really distorted view of what is "fast" anymore. 7.3 seconds the old Impala SS  0-60 time and that is more than most people can even handle. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

We've gotten a really distorted view of what is "fast" anymore. 7.3 seconds the old Impala SS  0-60 time and that is more than most people can even handle. 

That is true, most of these small crossovers are in the 8-9 second range 0-60 so if the diesel CX-5 does it in 7 seconds it will seem fast compared to them.   But when a Camry V6 can do 0-60 in 5.8 seconds anything over 6 seems slow to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/10/2018 at 12:03 PM, smk4565 said:

That is true, most of these small crossovers are in the 8-9 second range 0-60 so if the diesel CX-5 does it in 7 seconds it will seem fast compared to them.   But when a Camry V6 can do 0-60 in 5.8 seconds anything over 6 seems slow to me.

Most Camrys aren't V6s... they're 2.5 liters or hybrids in the 7.9 second range. You always want to gravitate to the fastest version of a car when in reality most people buy the base engine. 

But here's stat for you... the Pacifica Hybrid does 0-60 in 7.4 seconds and feels ridiculously fast for what it is. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

Most Camrys aren't V6s... they're 2.5 liters or hybrids in the 7.9 second range. You always want to gravitate to the fastest version of a car when in reality most people buy the base engine. 

But here's stat for you... the Pacifica Hybrid does 0-60 in 7.4 seconds and feels ridiculously fast for what it is. 

I find it interesting that we have gone from a society of people that were used to pretty much everything being a 12 to 15 seconds to 55 mph to a under 10 seconds but above 8 seconds is slow when in reality, auto's that can get to 60/65 in mid 7 seconds or less is very fast and more than enough for most people as the 5 seconds and below is scarry to allot of drivers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, dfelt said:

I find it interesting that we have gone from a society of people that were used to pretty much everything being a 12 to 15 seconds to 55 mph to a under 10 seconds but above 8 seconds is slow when in reality, auto's that can get to 60/65 in mid 7 seconds or less is very fast and more than enough for most people as the 5 seconds and below is scarry to allot of drivers.

Yeah...back in the day I thought my 5.0 Mustang was quick at 0-60 in 6.2 seconds.  It was certainly quicker than other cars I had in the 80s-90s (Escort diesel, Bronco II, Mustang LX 2.3).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

Yeah...back in the day I thought my 5.0 Mustang was quick at 0-60 in 6.2 seconds.  It was certainly quicker than other cars I had in the 80s-90s (Escort diesel, Bronco II, Mustang LX 2.3).

That escort diesel 0-60 was listed as "maybe", the Mustang 2.3 was measured with a sundial. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Drew Dowdell said:

That escort diesel 0-60 was listed as "maybe", the Mustang 2.3 was measured with a sundial. 

Yeah, both were slugs.   The Escort was a 5spd manual, the Mustang a 4spd manual, and the Bronco II a 5spd manual.    The GT is a 5spd manual.   A bit of trivia...my first 4 cars were '84, '86, '87 and '88 model years, and all Fords w/ manuals...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      The three-row full-size crossover has taken the place of large SUVs as the vehicle of choice for growing families. Crossovers offer the tall ride height and large space, but not at the cost of fuel economy and ride quality. Recently, I spent a week in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. These two models could not be any different; one is focused on providing driving enjoyment, while the other is concerned about providing enough space for cargo and passengers. Trying to determine which one was the best would prove to be a difficult task.
      Exterior
      There is no contest between these two when it comes to design as the CX-9 blows the Atlas out of the water. The overall look balances aggressive and elegance traits. For the front, Mazda has angled the clip to give off a sporting profile while a large grille and a set of slim headlights accentuate this. Move around to the side and you’ll notice the CX-9 has quite a long front end and the rear roof pillars are angled slightly forward. These design cues help make the CX-9 look slightly smaller than it actually is.
      Someone once described a Volkswagen vehicle as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” That’s how I would sum up the Atlas’ design; it is basically a box on wheels. There are some nice touches such as the LED headlights that come standard on all models and chunky fenders. The 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the SE w/Technology look somewhat small on the Atlas, but that is likely due to the large size of the vehicle.
      Interior
      The Atlas’ interior very much follows the ideals of the exterior, which are uncomplicated and utilitarian. While it does fall flat when compared to the CX-9’s luxury design, Volkswagen nails the ergonomics. Most of the controls are within easy reach of driver and passenger. One touch that I really like is the climate control slightly angled upward. Not only does this make it easier to reach, but you can quickly glance down to see the current settings. There is only a small amount of soft-touch material used throughout the Atlas’ interior, the rest being made up of hard plastics. While that is slightly disappointing as other crossovers are adding more soft-touch materials, Volkswagen knows that kids are quite rough to vehicles.
      If there is one benefit to Volkswagen’s plain styling on the outside, it is the massive interior. I haven’t been in such a spacious three-row crossover since the last GM Lambda I drove. Beginning with the third-row, I found that my 5’9” frame actually fit with only my knees just touching the rear of the second-row. Moving the second row slightly forward allows for a little more legroom. Getting in and out of the third-row is very easy as the second-row tilts and moves forward, providing a wide space. This particular tester came with a second-row bench seat. A set of captain chairs are available as an option on SE and above. Sitting back here felt like I was in a limousine with abundant head and legroom. The seats slide and recline which allows passengers to find that right position. The only downside to both rear rows is there isn’t enough padding for long trips. For the front seat, the driver gets a ten-way power seat while the passenger makes do with only a power recline and manual adjustments. No complaints about comfort as the Atlas’ front seats had the right amount of padding and firmness for any trip length.
      The cargo area is quite huge. With all seats up, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of space. This increases to 55.5 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded. Only the new Chevrolet Traverse beats the Atlas with measurements of 23, 58.1, and 98.2 cubic feet.
      As a way to differentiate itself from other automakers, Mazda is trying to become more premium. This is clearly evident in the CX-9’s interior. The dash is beautiful with contouring used throughout, and a mixture of brushed aluminum and soft-touch plastics with a grain texture. If I were to cover up the Mazda badge on the steering wheel and ask you to identify the brand, you might think it was from a German automaker. Ergonomics aren’t quite as good as the Atlas as you have to reach for certain controls like those for the climate system.
      The CX-9’s front seats don’t feel quite as spacious when compared to the Atlas with a narrow cockpit and the rakish exterior are to blame. Still, most drivers should be able to find a position that works. The seats themselves have a sporting edge with increased side bolstering and firm cushions. I found the seats to be quite comfortable and didn’t have issues of not having enough support. Moving to the second row, Mazda only offers a bench seat configuration. This is disappointing considering all of the CX-9’s competitors offer captain chairs as an option. There is more than enough legroom for most passengers, but those six-feet and above will find headroom to be a bit tight. Getting into the third-row is slightly tough. Like the Atlas, the CX-9’s second row slides and tilts to allow access. But space is noticeably smaller and does require some gymnastics to pass through. Once seated, I found it to be quite cramped with little head and legroom. This is best reserved for small kids.
      Cargo area is another weak point to the CX-9. With both back seats up, there is only 14.4 cubic feet. This puts it behind most of the competition aside from the GMC Acadia which has 12.8. It doesn’t get any better when the seats are folded. With the third-row down, the CX-9 has 38.2 cubic feet. Fold down the second-row and it expands to 71.2 cubic feet. To use the GMC Acadia again, it offers 41.7 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and rises to 79 with both rows. Keep in mind, the Acadia is about six inches shorter than the CX-9.
      Infotainment
      All CX-9’s come equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The base Sport comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the Touring and above use a larger 8-inch screen. A rotary knob and set of redundant buttons on the center console control the system. Using Mazda Connect is a bit of a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look a bit dated with the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Trying to use the touchscreen is an exercise in frustration as it is not easy to tell which parts are touch-enabled and not. On the upside, moving around Mazda Connect is a breeze when using the knob and buttons. Currently, Mazda doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Thankfully, this is being remedied with the 2019 model as Touring models and above will come with both.
      For the Atlas, Volkswagen offers three different systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the S. Moving up to either the SE, SE w/Technology, or SEL nets you an 8-inch screen. The top line SEL Premium adds navigation to the 8-inch system. All of the systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The current Volkswagen system is one of the easiest to use thanks in part to intuitive menu structure and quick responses. Moving through menus or presets is easy as the system reacts to the swiping gesture like you would do on your smartphone. There are a couple of downsides to the Volkswagen system. One is there is no haptic feedback when pressing the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen. Also, the glass surface becomes littered with fingerprints very quickly. 
      I did have an issue with the system when trying to use Apple CarPlay. At times, applications such as Spotify would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to get the apps unfrozen until I shut the vehicle off. After resetting my iPhone, this problem went away. This leaves me wondering how much of this problem was with my phone and not the infotainment system.
      Powertrain
      Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6.
      Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power.  NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging.
      The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for.
      Fuel Economy
      Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference.
      Ride & Handling
      The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin.
      The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin.
      Value
      It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim.
      The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money.
      Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you.
      Verdict
      Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. 
      For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank.
      Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Soul Red Metallic - $595.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The three-row full-size crossover has taken the place of large SUVs as the vehicle of choice for growing families. Crossovers offer the tall ride height and large space, but not at the cost of fuel economy and ride quality. Recently, I spent a week in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. These two models could not be any different; one is focused on providing driving enjoyment, while the other is concerned about providing enough space for cargo and passengers. Trying to determine which one was the best would prove to be a difficult task.
      Exterior
      There is no contest between these two when it comes to design as the CX-9 blows the Atlas out of the water. The overall look balances aggressive and elegance traits. For the front, Mazda has angled the clip to give off a sporting profile while a large grille and a set of slim headlights accentuate this. Move around to the side and you’ll notice the CX-9 has quite a long front end and the rear roof pillars are angled slightly forward. These design cues help make the CX-9 look slightly smaller than it actually is.
      Someone once described a Volkswagen vehicle as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” That’s how I would sum up the Atlas’ design; it is basically a box on wheels. There are some nice touches such as the LED headlights that come standard on all models and chunky fenders. The 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the SE w/Technology look somewhat small on the Atlas, but that is likely due to the large size of the vehicle.
      Interior
      The Atlas’ interior very much follows the ideals of the exterior, which are uncomplicated and utilitarian. While it does fall flat when compared to the CX-9’s luxury design, Volkswagen nails the ergonomics. Most of the controls are within easy reach of driver and passenger. One touch that I really like is the climate control slightly angled upward. Not only does this make it easier to reach, but you can quickly glance down to see the current settings. There is only a small amount of soft-touch material used throughout the Atlas’ interior, the rest being made up of hard plastics. While that is slightly disappointing as other crossovers are adding more soft-touch materials, Volkswagen knows that kids are quite rough to vehicles.
      If there is one benefit to Volkswagen’s plain styling on the outside, it is the massive interior. I haven’t been in such a spacious three-row crossover since the last GM Lambda I drove. Beginning with the third-row, I found that my 5’9” frame actually fit with only my knees just touching the rear of the second-row. Moving the second row slightly forward allows for a little more legroom. Getting in and out of the third-row is very easy as the second-row tilts and moves forward, providing a wide space. This particular tester came with a second-row bench seat. A set of captain chairs are available as an option on SE and above. Sitting back here felt like I was in a limousine with abundant head and legroom. The seats slide and recline which allows passengers to find that right position. The only downside to both rear rows is there isn’t enough padding for long trips. For the front seat, the driver gets a ten-way power seat while the passenger makes do with only a power recline and manual adjustments. No complaints about comfort as the Atlas’ front seats had the right amount of padding and firmness for any trip length.
      The cargo area is quite huge. With all seats up, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of space. This increases to 55.5 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded. Only the new Chevrolet Traverse beats the Atlas with measurements of 23, 58.1, and 98.2 cubic feet.
      As a way to differentiate itself from other automakers, Mazda is trying to become more premium. This is clearly evident in the CX-9’s interior. The dash is beautiful with contouring used throughout, and a mixture of brushed aluminum and soft-touch plastics with a grain texture. If I were to cover up the Mazda badge on the steering wheel and ask you to identify the brand, you might think it was from a German automaker. Ergonomics aren’t quite as good as the Atlas as you have to reach for certain controls like those for the climate system.
      The CX-9’s front seats don’t feel quite as spacious when compared to the Atlas with a narrow cockpit and the rakish exterior are to blame. Still, most drivers should be able to find a position that works. The seats themselves have a sporting edge with increased side bolstering and firm cushions. I found the seats to be quite comfortable and didn’t have issues of not having enough support. Moving to the second row, Mazda only offers a bench seat configuration. This is disappointing considering all of the CX-9’s competitors offer captain chairs as an option. There is more than enough legroom for most passengers, but those six-feet and above will find headroom to be a bit tight. Getting into the third-row is slightly tough. Like the Atlas, the CX-9’s second row slides and tilts to allow access. But space is noticeably smaller and does require some gymnastics to pass through. Once seated, I found it to be quite cramped with little head and legroom. This is best reserved for small kids.
      Cargo area is another weak point to the CX-9. With both back seats up, there is only 14.4 cubic feet. This puts it behind most of the competition aside from the GMC Acadia which has 12.8. It doesn’t get any better when the seats are folded. With the third-row down, the CX-9 has 38.2 cubic feet. Fold down the second-row and it expands to 71.2 cubic feet. To use the GMC Acadia again, it offers 41.7 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and rises to 79 with both rows. Keep in mind, the Acadia is about six inches shorter than the CX-9.
      Infotainment
      All CX-9’s come equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The base Sport comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the Touring and above use a larger 8-inch screen. A rotary knob and set of redundant buttons on the center console control the system. Using Mazda Connect is a bit of a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look a bit dated with the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Trying to use the touchscreen is an exercise in frustration as it is not easy to tell which parts are touch-enabled and not. On the upside, moving around Mazda Connect is a breeze when using the knob and buttons. Currently, Mazda doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Thankfully, this is being remedied with the 2019 model as Touring models and above will come with both.
      For the Atlas, Volkswagen offers three different systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the S. Moving up to either the SE, SE w/Technology, or SEL nets you an 8-inch screen. The top line SEL Premium adds navigation to the 8-inch system. All of the systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The current Volkswagen system is one of the easiest to use thanks in part to intuitive menu structure and quick responses. Moving through menus or presets is easy as the system reacts to the swiping gesture like you would do on your smartphone. There are a couple of downsides to the Volkswagen system. One is there is no haptic feedback when pressing the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen. Also, the glass surface becomes littered with fingerprints very quickly. 
      I did have an issue with the system when trying to use Apple CarPlay. At times, applications such as Spotify would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to get the apps unfrozen until I shut the vehicle off. After resetting my iPhone, this problem went away. This leaves me wondering how much of this problem was with my phone and not the infotainment system.
      Powertrain
      Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6.
      Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power.  NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging.
      The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for.
      Fuel Economy
      Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference.
      Ride & Handling
      The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin.
      The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin.
      Value
      It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim.
      The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money.
      Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you.
      Verdict
      Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. 
      For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank.
      Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Soul Red Metallic - $595.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
    • By William Maley
      It seems like ages since Mazda announced plans to bring over a diesel engine. Many things have transpired since then with various delays and the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal. While the company said the diesel engine was still in the cards, we started to think it was as real as bigfoot or the loch ness monster. But the engine is one step closer to reality as the EPA has posted the fuel economy figures for the CX-5 diesel.
      For the front-wheel variant, the CX-5 diesel will return 28 City/31 Highway/29 Combined. All-wheel drive see a slight drop to 27/30/28. Major improvement over gas model, right? Not really. The FWD gas model does trail the diesel in the city by three, but there is only a one mpg difference in the highway and the combined figure is the same. The AWD gas model is pretty much the same story; three mpg difference in the city, two mpg difference on the highway, and the same figure for combined.
      It gets even worse if we compare it to the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain Diesel. In FWD guise, EPA figures stand at 28 City/39 Highway/32 Combined. AWD models return 28/38/32.
      We're guessing that new emissions equipment and harder testing likely affected CX-5 diesel's fuel economy figure. Mazda might sell the diesel engine as a performance upgrade - the 2.2L turbodiesel produces 170 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. 
      No timeframe has been given on when the CX-5 diesel will finally go on sale.
      Source: EPA
  • My Clubs

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Reader Rides

About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We ♥ Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.