2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Review

The Mazda CX-5 has been completely redesigned for the 2013 model year and is an all-new five-passenger compact crossover utility vehicle. The 2013 Mazda CX-5 competes in one of the fastest growing segments in the industry and needed major updates to help it stand out. The segment includes some very successful vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Kia Sportage. The all-new Mazda CX-5 is trying to set itself apart with new styling, fuel-sipping technology and sporty handling.

Mazda redesigned the new 2013 CX-5 from the ground up and it replaces the CX-7 and is a bit taller than the outgoing model. And the two-wheel drive version is 288 pounds lighter than the CX-7. Mazda was able to reduce weight by using extra high-tensile steel in its construction. The new compact crossover is larger than it looks. Overall length, width, and height of the new CX-5 is bigger than its number one competitor, the new 2012 Honda CR-V, and weighs 100 pounds less.

Grand Touring upgrades

This week we’re testing the CX-5 Grand Touring AWD model ($28,295). It comes well-equipped with leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bose Surround Sound with nine speakers, Sirius Radio, power moonroof, eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, auto on/off headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, and 19-inch alloy wheels.

The Grand Touring Tech Package ($1325) added the navigation system, advanced keyless and start, adaptive HID headlights with auto leveling, auto-dim mirror, HomeLink, and anti-theft. A 5.8-inch touch screen displays the TomTom-based navigation system that includes voice recognition and real-time traffic info. The CX-5 also includes plenty of infotainment technology. Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, a nine-speaker Bose audio system and HD radio all come standard on the new crossover. A USB/AUX connector is provided in the big center console storage bin.

Cabin features

Inside, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 seats five adults and getting in and out is easy with the extra ground clearance of 8.5 inches with the all-wheel-drive. The front bucket seats offer plenty of extra support and are sportier than most in this segment. The interior gets higher quality materials using soft-touch vinyl and very little hard plastic is found in the cabin. Instrumentation and controls are well designed and are easy to operate and see. Storage space is decent up front with door liners and lots of cupholders in front and back.

Mazda says there is seating for five adults, but the back seats are comfortable for two for extended distances. Cargo capacity is average at 34 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and expands to 65 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded forward and flat. The rear seatbacks are split 40/20/40 on the Grand Touring and can be folded forward separately, allowing more flexibility between passengers and for carriying extra long items.

SkyActiv technology

The 2013 Mazda CX-5 uses the latest SkyActiv-G technology that combines exceptional power with fuel-saving efficiency. The 2.0-liter engine utilzes the latest direct-injection and has a very high compression ratio. Mazda says its the highest in the world for any production engine. Mazda engineers had to develop a special engine design in order to make the ultra-high compression engine work.

Although it produces high efficiency and high power, it can be a problem to run on regular gas without the engine “knocking.” Engineers redesigned the pistons, high-pressure fuel injection, and exhaust manifold in order to make it all work. The result is an efficient, powerful, naturally aspirated four-cylinder. The new 2013 CX-5 has an EPA estimated fuel mileage rating of 25/31 city/highway.

The engine is mated to a new Skyactiv six-speed automatic that is exceptionally smooth, delivering good performance in all driving situations. The shifter can be left in Drive, or it can be manually engaged for up and down shifting. The 2013 Mazda CX-5 doesn’t deliver head-snapping power, but it has better than expected performance. The engine performed well driving on the highway at high speeds and driving up I-70 at elevation in the mountains.

The suspension is more on the sporty side and the CX-5 handles well in the corners with minimal body lean and roll for a crossover. Ride quality is firm and feels more like a European model. This CX-5 tester came with the optional all-wheel-drive that automatically apportions power front-to-rear depending on traction conditions. Normally drive power is sent to the front wheels, but can be apportioned up to 50 percent depending on conditions.

Conclusion

The all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD is impressive with its fuel economy, luxury features, infotainment technology, styling, and sporty attitude. And while acceleration is average, its agility and sport suspension makes the CX-5 fun to drive. Add in all-wheel-drive and you have an exceptionally capable compact crossover utility vehicle.

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About The Author

Denis Flierl has over twenty five years combined auto industry and automotive journalism experience that he brings to Automoblog readers. Over the thirteen years that he owned an automotive business, he worked directly with every major car brand in the auto industry and became familiar with all makes and models of cars. His passion for cars led him to spend the last twelve years in automotive journalism where he brings all that experience to his readers as he writes about the auto industry and the latest test cars he drives.

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