The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is an all new five-passenger compact crossover utility vehicle. It looks like Mazda has hit a home run with the new CX-5 with its sporty styling, agile driving dynamics and excellent fuel-economy. The new CX-5 is replacing the slow-selling CX-7 and Mazda is smart to do so. The competitive compact utility vehicle category is loaded with good options for buyers and Mazda needed to come up with a winner.
It starts underneath where the Mazda CX-5 gets new unibody construction. The new platform includes the latest SkyActiv engine technology that produces excellent fuel-efficiency. The CX-5 was designed from the ground up and it also gets a freshly designed exterior. Mazda will use the latest underpinnings and technology from the CX-5 on future models if it’s as successful as they think it will be.
From the outside, the 2013 CX-5 doesn’t look that big, but the overall size is larger than the 2012 Honda CR-V and the CX-5 wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer. The Mazda CX-5 Sport base model that we’ll be testing has seating for five adults and is a good choice for budget minded consumers. It comes with an extensive list of standard features.
Sport offers a six-speed manual
This 2013 CX-5 Sport front-wheel drive base model came with a six-speed manual transmission ($20,695). It’s the only CX-5 that offers the manual transmission option. The CX-5 Sport comes standard with cloth sport seats, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with four speakers, USB, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with remote controls, remote keyless entry, power windows and locks, remote power mirrors with turn signal lamps, 60/40 split fold-down rear seats, push-button start, rear roof spoiler, and Halogen headlamps.
The cabin of the CX-5 Sport features high quality materials and uses liberal soft-touch vinyl throughout the surfaces. It has a simple but well designed cabin. Storage and cargo capacity is about equal to the competition. The back seats are comfortable for two adults and the rear seats fold nearly flat for loading large cargo items. Cargo capacity is 34 cubic feet behind the rear seats, which expands to 65 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded forward, which is slightly less than the Honda CR-V.
The 2013 CX-5 was designed with a new lightweight frame that uses high-tensile steel in its structure. Honda notes that the CX-5 Sport front-wheel-drive weighs just 3208 pounds which is 288 pounds lighter than the CX-7, and almost 100 pounds less than a similar Honda CR-V. The weight savings allows the CX-5 to achieve some excellent fuel-mileage numbers.
The new CX-5 gets an EPA-estimated 26/35 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 6-speed manual. The SkyActive engine takes regular unleaded, and according to Mazda, the new crossover gets the best fuel economy in its class and the best fuel economy on the highway of any SUV.
The SkyActiv technology from Mazda is used in the new CX-5. The main piece of the technology is the 2.0-liter four-cylinder Skyactiv engine. The technology involves a number of friction-reducing measures, a high-efficiency exhaust manifold design, an exceptionally high compression ratio of 13:1, and the powerplant runs on regular unleaded gasoline at the pump. Automakers are making great strides in engine technology and Mazda has already achieved 40 mpg with the engine in the Mazda3. For a mid-size crossover, the CX-5 gets exceptional fuel-efficiency.
Sport offers good value
The 2013 CX-5 won’t win many races, but the 2.0-liter engine produces a respectable 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. The engine motivates the crossover with enough authority to navigate most driving situations. The manual six-speed transmission is a pleasure to shift with short throws and crisp shifts. Although most buyers will opt for the six-speed automatic. But the front-wheel-drive with the manual gearbox will be the quickest.
The 2013 CX-5 has much competition to contend with. The segment is full of good crossovers like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, Subaru Forester, Nissan Rogue, and Ford Escape. But the CX-5 has a lot going for it. It offers attractive styling, good handling, comfort, versatility, and excellent fuel mileage.
And with a starting price of just $20,695, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 Sport is a good value. If buyers are looking for sporty, the front-wheel-drive CX-5 Sport with a six-speed manual gearbox is the way to go.
Our overall score of the 2013 Mazda CX-5 Sport – 3.5 out of 5
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Reviewer: Denis Flierl