By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.4
The all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5 is destined to serve as a bellwether vehicle for the automaker. Introducing both the next generation of its corporate styling language and a comprehensive array of weight-saving, efficiency-enhancing Skyactiv technologies, this 5-passenger compact SUV promises an even greater level of Zoom-Zoom appeal. Available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims, the CX-5 offers a choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) as well as an attractive array of standards and options. Aimed squarely at the heart of one of the most hotly contested SUV market segments, the new Mazda CX-5 goes up against a host of formidable rivals, including the equally new Ford Escape and Honda CR-V as well as more seasoned veterans like the Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage.
If you're in the market for a roomy compact SUV that matches impressive comfort, exceptional flexibility and outstanding fuel economy with class-leading handling and controllability, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 is well worth a test drive.
The CX-5's new 2.0-liter engine does sacrifice a measure of pure power in return for its increased fuel economy, a tradeoff that some may find a bit too 1-sided in light of the comparative output/mpg numbers put up by prime rivals like the new Ford Escape and Honda CR-V, as well as the Chevrolet Equinox.
This de facto replacement for the Mazda Tribute – a vehicle that was largely based on the current-generation Ford Escape - the 2013 CX-5 is an all-new, all-Mazda effort that significantly raises the benchmark with respect to its appearance, driving dynamics and overall efficiency.
Driving Impressions Feeling more like a 5-passenger sports car than compact sport utility vehicle, the new CX-5 makes a stellar dynamic impression on any road. A brilliant extension of Mazda's "Zoom-Zoom" spirit,...it matches a strong, rigid body with lighter, tighter underpinnings that add outstanding control without compromising overall ride comfort. The new electrically assisted power steering is well weighted and offers great feedback, while the CX-5's synergistically optimized suspension package limits body roll in corners and works to channel road harshness away from its well-isolated passenger compartment. Coupled with a robust wheel/tire package, this new Mazda feels agile, confident and surprisingly sure-footed. Although the added weight of the available all-wheel drive system puts a bit more stress on an engine that has more enthusiasm than absolute power – especially during more demanding uphill runs and passing maneuvers - the extra mass has little meaningful impact on the CX-5's dynamic characteristics.
Mazda's comprehensive approach to weight reduction and design optimization in the CX-5's powertrain, structure and suspension elements endow this compact crossover with a genuinely winning personality that bodes well for its future success.
3-way remote rear seatback release
A trio of well-positioned handles located in the CX-5's cargo bay make quick work of lowering individual elements of its 40/20/40 rear seatback to more efficiently accommodate payloads of varying shapes and sizes.
Mazda's new-generation design themes carry over into the CX-5's well-tailored cabin, creating a more inviting look and feel to this roomy and easily reconfigurable domain. Crafted to please both the driver and passengers, it complements a generous helping of soft-touch surfaces with user-friendly control layouts and a host of impressive standard features. The well-formed front bucket seats have been redesigned to provide greater comfort and support, while the adult-scaled 40/20/40 rear bench in the upline Touring/Grand Touring models features an industry-first, remote quick-release system for each individual back element. Pop its large, single-piece liftback rear hatch and pull a lever, and the CX-5's 34.1-cubic-foot rear bay nearly doubles in size, creating a long, near-flat cargo floor in the process.Exterior
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is the first production vehicle to embody the automaker's new "Kodo - Soul of Motion" styling language. Closely resembling the Mazda Minagi Concept SUV on which it's based, the CX-5's bold, sleek lines and elegant proportions are set off by a functional rear spoiler. It also boasts a new front-end treatment that replaces the awkward "happy face" look with a far more sophisticated variation on Mazda's classic pentagonal grille. Aluminum 17-inch wheels mounting 225/65 all-season tires are standard on Sport/Touring CX-5s, while the Grand Touring wears 19-inch alloys wrapped in 225/55 rubber.
The new Mazda CX-5 is available in distinct model configurations. Key features in the CX-5 Sport include a full range of power assists, tilt/telescoping steering column with multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, keyless remote and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The Touring model adds things like upgraded upholstery cloth, 6-way power driver's seat, Blind Spot Monitor, 5.8-inch color display with backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity and a 40/20/40 rear bench. Highlights of the leather-lined CX-5 Grand Touring include a power moonroof, Bose audio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, dual-zone climate control and 19-inch wheels. All CX-5's come with stability/traction control, Hill Launch Assist, antilock brakes and front/front-side/side-curtain airbags.
Beyond the standard feature variations that differentiate its three model lines and the choice of front-drive and all-wheel drive, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 offers several trim-specific option groups. A Bluetooth Audio Package for the Sport bundles Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, a 5.8-inch touch-screen monitor and HD radio. The CX-5 Touring can be upgraded with a Moonroof/Bose Package (power moonroof/225-watt Bose premium audio system) and a Technology Package (TomTom-based Navigation, automatic auto-leveling bi-xenon headlights with Adaptive Front-lighting System and more) while the Technology Package for the Grand Touring also includes Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry. Sirius Satellite Radio (Touring only) and a trailer hitch are stand-alone extras.
All versions of the 2013 Mazda CX-5 share the same naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline engine, a free-revving 4-cylinder designed for maximum efficiency and minimum weight. Developing 155 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque, it can be backed by a 6-speed manual (Sport FWD only) or 6-speed automatic that's standard-issue in Touring/Grand Touring models. Both compact, smooth-shifting transmissions are infused with their own dedicated Skyactiv elements and capable of taking the CX-5 from 0-60 mph in roughly 9.0-10.0 seconds, depending on drivetrain configuration. Stellar EPA highway numbers in the 31-35 mpg range place this new Mazda at the top of its class when it comes to mileage-maxing capabilities. And waiting in the wings for its 2013 debut is an even more efficient alternative: a Skyactiv-D turbodiesel set to make 170 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque.
155 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
150 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA City/highway fuel economy (est):
26/35 mpg (manual transmission, FWD)
26/32 mpg (automatic, FWD)
25/31 mpg (automatic, AWD)
By Ed on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,700overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice styling. Good handling dynamics."
Cons: "The worst premium infotainment system. Ever."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I have a top-of-the-line, 2015 CX-5 GT AWD with Technology Package and Bose stereo system. If you must buy this vehicle, do yourself a favor and skip the Bose and the Tom Tom navigation. It is ridiculously inferior to other automakers' premium audio/navigation offerings. Mazda has been criticized for this system (in both the CX-5 and the 6 sedan), but it does nothing. The sound from the Bose system is mediocre, at best. The navigation system is slow and buggy. The iPod interface is a joke. Please take the time to try the system, thoroughly, before opting to purchase. Had I known, I would have bought the base stereo and upgraded to a quality system after delivery or skipped this vehicle, altogether."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By driver1 on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 600overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives well, looks good."
Cons: "Uncomfortable seats, hard to see out back window"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"First purchase of a Mazda. What I like is the ease of driving, the body style, the blind spot feature, Bluetooth, and the automatic seat control from the back hatch. What I don't like is that the seats are very uncomfortable, particularly the bottom but the head rest too; it is difficult to see out of the back window, had to remove the head rests to see; the cup holders in the front seat are too close together, a flared cup hits the top of a second cup and knocks the lids off; there is no cargo cover in the back as a standard feature as it was in my Toyota; the clock is too low, it should be somewhere in the upper screen. There could be more door storage. I also hear more outside noise than in my Highlander."
12 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Killa on Tuesday, September 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "mileage and dependability"
Cons: "slower and rougher ride than CX-7"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this car after owning the CX-7, since I wanted to increase my mileage. My mileage went from 27 to 33, but I went from a slightly larger SUV to a smaller one. I had the peppier 2.5 liter on the CX-7, now I have a 2.0. It is less peppy, but I wanted the better mileage. The CX-7 is better on every aspect, except mileage. I would like to see the CX-7 with a slightly smaller engine, but add a turbo for increased mileage and performance. The CX-7 has a better interior, better accessories and more room and a better smoother ride."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Deane on Monday, September 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Cons: "Back up camera screen is a little small."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"To put this in perspective, I'm a 60 year old male who cut his teeth on British cars and still drives a Miata, summers only. Bought my wife a new a new '13 Accord V6 almost two years ago. Fastest production 0-60 fwd car you could by and drives amazing. With that said, I was looking to replace my '03 Kia Sorrento EX 4wd that had been a great little tank, dog and stuff hauler. I really thought I'd replace it with a CRV. I don't drive the Accord often, and as I'm not techy find the Bluetooth confusing to remember. So figured the CRV would be the same layout making it easier to remember. All the reviews I read of the CX5 and CRV all pretty much gave a slight nod to the Mazda, and I figured I could give up the benefits of the Mazda to get the same OS of the Hondas. Until I drove them both. The Honda, though I'm sure is very high quality, is boring as mud to drive. When little old ladies decide to drive small SUV's, this will be their choice. I could detect the difference in the Mazda before I even got out of the parking lot. The difference that I thought would be slight is staggering in how they drive, and the cons I was prepared for never materialized. Engine and road noise in the Mazda are less, and handling isn't even in the same ballpark. To clarify, I bought a white/sand Grand Touring AWD w/ Tech. pkg., and I did purchase the cargo matt (carpeted) which dresses it up a bit, but thought would help with road noise issues I read about. Don't know if that was the cure, but it's quieter than the CRV EX-L. Maybe it's in part the 19" rims, but I think of it more as a sport sedan with lots of storage. I'm 6' tall and very comfortable behind the wheel, and can get in the back seat and not have my head or knees touch anything. Four six footers fit fine. Oddly compared to other comments I find all the tech stuff very intuitive and easy to set up. Wife and I have Androids and they pared up with no issues. To me the Bose is awesome. Even driving in town at a reasonable level drowns out any engine or outside noise. I can't comment on reliability as I've only had the car a week. I'm averaging 25 mpg. For the life of me I can't recognize any higher level of refinement in the CRV over the CX5, although I do think the black interior looks rather cheap while the sand looks straight out of a BMW. This car puts a smile on my face when I drive it and the CRV made me yawn."
52 people out of 67 found this review helpful
By JC on Wednesday, September 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Styling, Quality Materials, Handling, Value"
Cons: "Noisy on Cold Starts."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"2015 Grand Touring with the Technology Package. We've only had the CX-5 for a month or two. We love it! It has looks up there with the Luxury brands. It handles like a dream. The fit and finish is excellent. We've driven it on one long trip (500+ miles each way) and found it very comfortable and roomy. It's noisy for the first 20-30 seconds on cold start, due to the exhaust recirculation feature that i guess lowers emissions (pumps the fuel-rich exhaust back into the engine for a re-burn, or something like that). Otherwise it is very quiet! We had a 2008 CR-V which we have since given to our college age daughter. This car is way better looking, inside and out, with a much more updated and richly appointed interior. It also gets better mileage. If it's as reliable as the CR-V, Mazda will have a real winner on their hands!"
11 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Ruby on Monday, September 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fuel efficient, great design, smooth, BSM!!!"
Cons: "not enough power, tech. problems (GPS sucks)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I bought this car in July and I love it. It's very smooth and fuel efficient. However, I noticed that my navigation does not work well. The GPS loses signal every 5 seconds, and keeps rerouting itself. Last time I took a trip to Oregon, in the middle of the road, it detected me in the middle of the ocean. I took it in to the shop to fix it and they said there's a clitch in 2015 Mazda CX5 navigations. Not 2014 but only in 2015 and they are trying to find a solution to fix it. Once they find a solution, only then they will be able to fix my navigation! What the heck? They shouldn't sold me this car in the first place then! This car is perfect for me if it wasn't for this problem and everytime I drive it, I got frustrated by the navigation which impacted my driving experience of this car. This tech-package costed me extra $1500 too. I would advise to check the navigation while test-driving before buying this car."
10 people out of 11 found this review helpful