Mazda Takes to the Sky

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Mazda 2014.CX-5

Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD
By Mike Tucker

The week I took Mazda’s compact SUV to test it impressed me from the break. I was never a real fan of the Mazda’s other SUV offerings including the Tribute which it replaces and not the CX-7 or larger CX-9 which still seem off balance and awkward. Mazda is synonymous with fun cars and stretching the platform purposely to compete in the SUV field felt forced. Mazda make statements not traditions.

Enter the non-traditional CX-5. It sits up higher than a car, is more spacious but still performs with “zoom, zoom” fun of a Mazda and is fuel efficient to boot with the introduction of Mazda’s new SKYACTIV-G engine and technology.

What’s Good?
The CX-5 is not a retread of Mazda SUVs with bigger brother hand me downs; it is new from fender to fender. It has it’s own identity and flavor from first look and drive.

Mazda says it seats five but five adults would be a bit tight but all the rear seats fold down to accommodate loads of luggage and grocery bags. Remember this is a compact SUV, so space maybe lacking slightly but technology is not lacking one bit.

Along with introducing Mazda’s newest engine it decided to beef up the infotainment center with the CX-5. The standard 5.8-inch touch screen gives all the control of the multifunctional system to the driver. Some cool features include automatic headlamp-beam control, which was put to task driving through a pitch-black Fort Dupont Park.

Another unique feature is Mazda’s “smart city brake support” which uses a sensor as you come up on an object or vehicle that triggers the brake when traveling at speeds of up to 15 mph. This is great for DC driving when cars are not always moving as they should this prompts the driver to respond and when the driver does not respond, it stops the car.

The CX-5 is also equipped with a rear view camera and the annoying but awesome safety feature in the lane-departure warning.

The Sound
The audio system is premium. Bose provides the sound system, which includes MP3/CD and satellite and HD radio player with Bluetooth technology. Sync your phone or MP3 player and control it from the steering wheel. An auxiliary input jack and USB outlet are standard. The sound pumping through its nine speakers is very good and for the price of the vehicle is an added bonus.

The Fury
The Mazda CX-5 is not a speed demon as most compact SUVs are not built for speed but it has zip and agility. The most important thing I can say is that it doesn’t drive like an SUV. Mazda CX-5 int

It’s sure footed on curves with excellent handle and good steering feedback rounds out the experience. The suspension taught and stiff, which helps it take the bumps and bruises our city streets offer. To top things off you can get All Wheel Drive to help with our pesky and unpredictable DC winters.

The SKYACTIV-G engine allows more torque and fuel efficiency in a package where typically neither exist. Though the speed is nothing to gawk at it gives the daily driver enough thanks to the torque output. The good news is that Mazda just announced that the 2014 model ups the ante on power adding a184-horsepower, 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G engine.

The Pump
Hybrids beware the SKYACTIV engine is on your tail reaching estimates of 35 miles per gallon in some highway tests. The combined gas mileage in the CX-5 is 28 miles per gallon. The vehicle takes regular unleaded which is definitely a plus and in my testing I was able to bypass the gas station the entire week that I had it. The estimated annual fuel cost is $1900.

With its main competition being the RAV-4, Ford Escape and Honda CR-V, Mazda is aiming for another atmosphere. Those that are turned off by SUVs may be turned on by this one. Mazda CX-5 is functional, tech savvy and fun taking the compact SUV outside of a box and into a new road.

2013 CX-5 Grand Touring AWD
Price Tag: $28,295 base ($30,415 tested)
Power: SKYACTIV-G 2.0L V6 Direct Injection 155 horsepower
Transmission: SKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed Sport w/ paddle shifters
Drive train: All-Wheel Drive
Fuel Economy (mpg): 25-city/31-hwy

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