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2013 Mazda CX-5 Compact Crossover SUV Gets 35 MPG

By Sue Mead, July 7th, 2012

The all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5 is a design philosophy guided by the principle of oneness between a rider and horse. Mazda transforms its compact crossover SUV into a unified marriage of form, function and fuel economy.

The CX-5 is a replacement for the Mazda Tribute and competes with the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V. Starting at $20,695, the 2013 CX-5 comes in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring.

Completely new from the inside out, the 2013 CX-5 is a charmingly curvy little SUV with strong shoulders and a raked roofline that lends it the crouching profile of a sport wagon. The front grille has an elongated shield shape that is capped by narrow snake-eye headlamps and brawny wheel wells. Standard wheels and tires are 17 inches, while up-market versions boast 19-inch treads and alloy wheels.

Inside, the new CX-5 is spare and sensible, as though a feng shui consultant came in to remove all unnecessary objects and obstacles. Two color schemes are available: black-on-black or sand-on-black, with leather available as an option and cloth upholstery standard. Drivers' seats have power adjustments on higher end models, and all three of the 40/20/40 split rear seats can be folded independently completely flat.

We drove Mazda's new CX-5 recently on several roadways, as well as at a small performance track, the Dallas Motor Speedway complex. We've been fans of Mazda vehicles and the execution of its "zoom-zoom" philosophy to each of its vehicles. It's easy to apply sporty driving characteristics to the two-seater Miata, but a bit more involved with a five-seater SUV whose primary mission is that of a people and cargo-carrier, yet Mazda succeeds.

The first thing we notice is the attractive, modernized new looks of the CX-5. The first impression when getting behind the wheel is a feeling of lightness mixed with concrete substance. A comprehensive array of weight-saving technologies make the CX-5 feel lighter on its feet and despite a more carved exterior, you'll find good elbow room and airiness in the cockpit.

A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine powers the new 2013 model. Making 155 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque, the four-cylinder engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available, and towing capacity, with an optional towing package, is 2,000 pounds.

You don't have to be a gear head to appreciate the engineering behind this updated model: a redesigned exhaust system and numerous other components in a suite of features called Skyactiv make the heart of the CX-5 10 percent lighter, with more torque, better fuel economy and lower emissions than the previous version. EPA estimates are 26/35 miles per gallon city/highway for the manual tranny and 26/32 mpg for the automatic.

While the upgrades will bring a smile to driving enthusiasts who appreciate the packaging and handling that this compact SUV offers in a nod to energy efficiency, boosted power is not one of its attributes. While there was ample power on tap for our driving experience, the 2.0-liter engine with 155 horses is not meant to imply "boy-racer," but still has a slightly racy sound when the driver motivates the throttle.

We found the CX-5 power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering provides a tight rein on maneuvering and its independent front and rear suspension soak up bumps and uneven pavement. Its brakes are power-assisted ventilated in the front and solid rear discs with ABS. Of note, stability and traction control are standard, along with hill launch assist.


Base price $20,695 (as tested: $21,490)
Curb weight 3,208 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Engine type 16-valve four-cylinder w/DI
Epa mileage rating 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 14.8 gal.
Horsepower (net) 155 at 6000 rpm
Overall length 178.7 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 150 at 4000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Vehicle type 5-passenger FWD compact CUV
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