TribLIVE

| Business


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

CX-5 a roomy, revved-up ride

The cost

Base price: $20,695

As tested: $27,045

EPA rating: 26 city/35 highway

By Barry Spyker
Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 9:19 p.m.
 

My neighbors, a nice young couple who once enjoyed their Mazda CX-7, were understandably curious when they spotted the all-new CX-5 at my place.

“We read about that, but it looked smaller,” she said, hoisting her one-year-old as she suggested her reasoning for buying another model.

So I had the difficult and unfortunate task of explaining that, yes, it is shorter by 5 inches and has a wheelbase two inches shorter, too — but passenger space is practically the same, backseat legroom is 3 inches better, and cargo capacity is actually greater at 64.8 cubic feet with the rear seats down.

“Gee, we liked our CX-7,” she said, with a hint of remorse in her voice that she didn't do her homework first.

Truth is, the CX-7 brought Mazda limited success so it decided to get serious in the hottest SUV segment out there. The CX-5 is Mazda's first real entry into the compact SUV arena — if you put aside the old Tribute, which was just a rebadged Ford Escape.

And roominess is just part of the attraction of the CX-5: It is at or near the top in fuel economy, and it has a good dose of that “zoom-zoom” magic. Yeah, it's fun to drive.

Its EPA mileage rating is up to 26 in city driving, 35 highway. CX-5 rides on a new unibody, and it looks smoother and sleeker than the 7. The front end has a new grille that is more refined looking than the 7.

Under the hood, for all CX-5s, is Mazda's new SkyActiv 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which is surprisingly spunky.

All-wheel-drive is available on all trim levels, but you must get the 6-speed automatic transmission. The front-wheel-drive version offers the option of either the automatic or a 6-speed manual.

Riding on 19-inch wheels, CX-5 is nimble enough on corners and curves; it has a confident, solid feel around town and on the highway.

OK, it may not be the zoom-zoomiest coming from Mazda. But it is a nimble little SUV that will reward you at the gas pump.

Barry Spyker is an automotive writer for The Miami Herald.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Alibaba stock soars in frenetic trading debut
  2. Pa. unemployment rate rises to 5.8 percent
  3. Stocks drift amid Alibaba’s IPO drama
  4. Range Resources to pay $4.15M fine, close old gas drilling impoundments
  5. Cadillac faces SUV challenge
  6. McDonald’s to watch Chinese suppliers
  7. Home Depot breach probed
  8. Mylan CEO Bresch sets sights on growth
  9. UPMC buying New Castle-based Jameson Health System
  10. U.S. Steel to restructure Canadian subsidiary, halt 2 U.S. expansion projects
  11. Chevron gets first OK from Pa. sustainable drilling group
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.