Make us your home page
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: Stylish, roomy new CX-5 feels fresh

Mazda's all-new CX-5 comes with big promise and even bigger expectations. The small crossover carries some of the automaker's new design cues as well as its latest engineering: the fuel-efficient SkyActiv Technology. Call the CX-5 the poster car for the next generation Mazda. Does it deserve such status?

Appearance: The first thing you notice is the grille no longer looks like a smile. In its place is one that's more subtle and appealing. Thank goodness. The rest of the CX-5 carries Mazda's new "soul of motion" design philosophy (Mazda is big on those). What that translates to in the CX-5 is a more chiseled look up front and body side panels that seem to flow back from the fender bulges like a wave. There's plastic black cladding around the wheel wells and elsewhere, but it doesn't detract from the design. In all, it's a sophisticated look that bodes well for the rest of the Mazda line. During our time with the CX-5, several people asked us about it. (Peter even met a woman who had just bought one, and she sang its praises.) Our tester came in Sky Blue Mica, which Lyra liked for its vivid hue. Peter wasn't as sold on it.

Performance: As in most of the Mazdas we've driven, the car engages the driver. We found the steering response quick with a light touch. Mazda says the body is stiffer but lighter, which translates into nimble handling. That's the good. The not-so-good: We found that the 2.0-liter, 155-horsepower SkyActiv engine, which we really liked in the Mazda3, lacked the normal zoom-zoom. If you have a full complement of passengers or need to merge onto the interstate, you're going to have to floor it, and even then there's a slight lag. Maybe the 6-speed automatic is to blame. After all, in order to get the CX-5's estimated mileage of 26 city and 32 highway, something has to be sacrificed.

Interior: Our tester was the top-of-the-line Grand Touring trim, which adds features including alloy wheels, an eight-way power driver seat, leather seats (comfortable) and a Bose sound system. The built-in navigation system with voice command is from TomTom, and it works well, even showing Lyra the accurate lane changes at the TIA junction off I-275. One downside to our tester's black seats and interior: It got really hot inside, then took a while to cool down. But where the CX-5 may have an advantage over the competition is in roominess. The back seats, especially, have enough head and legroom for adults. The rear seats fold easily with the tug of levers, and they are split into 60/40 standard and a 40/20/40 configuration in the upper trim levels. (One bit of advice: When putting the seat backs upright, make sure the belts are properly placed; otherwise passengers won't be able to buckle up.) Cargo space is generous — 65.4 cubic feet — and made the grocery run a breeze.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Blind-spot warning: Mazda has one of our favorite systems and makes it available on a variety of trims.

Roominess: I can sit up straight in the rear seat.

Style: The grin is gone on the grille!

Lyra Solochek

Details: Delicate chrome grille trim that extends into the headlights.

Efficient: Great mpg for a compact hauler.

Easy release: One-touch levers to pop the seat backs down from the cargo area.

The bottom line: Mazda has scored in the competitive small crossover category with an entry that's stylish, roomy and has good road manners and mpg. If you're not hung on zoom, then this five-seater should be a leading candidate.

2013 Mazda CX-5

Price: $20,695 start, $29,165 as tested (Grand



2.0-liter SkyActiv-G 4-cylinder, 6-speed automatic, FWD

Horsepower: 155 at 6,000 rpm

Torque: 150 pound-

feet at 4,000 rpm

Curb weight: 3,272 pounds


in inches:

Wheelbase, 106.3

Length, 179.3

Width, 72.4

Height, 65.7

Cargo space: up to 65.4 cubic feet

Seats: 5

Fuel economy:

26 miles per gallon city, 32 mpg highway

Fuel type: regular unleaded

Safety features: ABS with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, four-wheel disc brakes, blind-spot monitor, dynamic stability control, traction control, hill launch assist, airbags and curtains


The Daily Drivers: Stylish, roomy new CX-5 feels fresh 06/22/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 22, 2012 5:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Another Hollywood nursing home resident dies. It's the 9th in post-Irma tragedy.

    State Roundup

    The Broward County Medical Examiner's office is investigating another death of a resident of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills — the ninth blamed on the failure of a cooling system that became a stifling deathtrap three days after Irma hit.

    Carlos Canal, pictured at 47 years old, came to Miami from Cuba in 1960. Above is his citizenship photo. [Courtesy of Lily Schwartz]
  2. Despite Hurricane Irma, Hillsborough remains on pace to unlock hotel tax that could pay for Rays ballpark


    TAMPA — Despite the threat of a catastrophic storm, it was business as usual at many Hillsborough County hotels in the days before Hurricane Irma bore down on the Tampa Bay region.

    The Grand Hyatt near TIA closed during Hurricane Irma, but many other Hillsborough hotels were open and saw an influx.
  3. New Graham-Cassidy health care plan stumbles under opposition from governors


    WASHINGTON — The suddenly resurgent Republican effort to undo the Affordable Care Act was dealt a blow on Tuesday when a bipartisan group of governors came out against a proposal gaining steam in the Senate.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined by, from left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters as he pushes a last-ditch effort to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. To win, 50 of the 52 GOP senators must back it -- a margin they failed to reach when the chamber rejected the effort in July. [/J. Scott Applewhite | Associated Press]
  4. Early estimates peg Hurricane Irma damage at as much as $65B


    The damage totals from Hurricane Irma are still being tallied, but early numbers are in: As of Tuesday, the storm is estimated to have caused between $42.5 billion and $65 billion of damage. That's according to a Tuesday release by Irvine, Calif.-based analytics company CoreLogic.

    Hurricane Irma is estimated to have caused up to $65 billion in damage, said analytics company CoreLogic. Pictured is 
Hermilo Munoz Castillo as wades down a flooded street to check on his home in southern Collier County, Fla. after Hurricane Irma passed. | [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Port Tampa Bay makes public/private commitment for $60 million expansion project


    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities to divvy up who will pay for a $60 million widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel.

    Port Tampa Bay approved a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Company and Mosaic Company at the port's monthly board meeting on  Tuesday. Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson signs the agreement as Ram Kancharla; Port Tampa Bay's vice president of planning & development, Brandon Burch; project manager at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Lois Moore; of Alcalde and Fay and Charles Klug; Port Tampa Bay principal counsel, and Tim Murphy; deputy district engineer of the Army Corps., looks on. [Company handout]