2013 Mazda CX-5 – Review and Test Drive
Mazda, which popularized the Wankel rotary engine in the 1960s,and more recently introduced the Skyactiv-D 2.2L diesel engine in Japan, where it was the first diesel engine on the market to meet that country’s stringent new emissions standards without requiring expensive urea after-treatment technology to reduce nitrogen oxide, plans to introduce a diesel in the U.S. for model year 2014, the Mazda6.
But Mazda has other ideas for fuel efficient vehicles as well: the new Skyactiv suite of engines and technologies includes gasoline-powered motors as well. Introduced in 2012, the Mazda CX-5 is the automaker’s first production vehicle sporting the KODO (Soul of Motion) design language that was first shown in the Shinari concept vehicle several years back.
The CX-5 is powered by the new Skyactiv-G 155-horsepower, 2.0-liter four banger that is capable of 35 mpg (6.72 l/100 km) on the highway and 26 mpg (9.05 l/100 km) in city driving with a six-speed manual transmission. The transmission is part of the Skyactiv suite as well and Skyactiv focuses on both reduced emissions and better fuel consumption. The Skyactiv engine and transmission were first introduced in the 2012 Mazda3.
Compared to Mazda’s previous 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the Skyactiv-G is capable of producing as much as 15% more low- and mid-range torque with 15% lower fuel consumption. This gives the CX-5 the best highway fuel economy of any SUV in the U.S. including hybrids.
The Mazda CX-5 is the automaker’s smallest SUV and is only slightly smaller than the company’s CX-7. It’s close in size to the Kia Sportage, riding on a 106.3-inch wheelbase (two inches shorter than the CX-7) and just about six inches shorter overall. Interior dimensions are similar for both, with more than sufficient room for four (the rear has a third seatbelt for squeezing in a fifth passenger).
DRIVING THE 2013 MAZDA CX-5
If you get behind the wheel thinking SUV, you will be sorely disappointed. The CX-5 doesn’t drive like other compact SUVs we’ve driven. It is more engaging and, if you can use the term for an SUV, more sporty. You can hear the company’s Zoom-Zoom commercial playing in the background.
Steering is tight, responsive, and predictable. The ride is firm but not harsh. The cockpit layout is good – controls and switches are where the driver needs and expects them to be and the seats provide good support.
When you press down on the accelerator, you see Skyactiv technology in action, including a 13.0:1 compression ratio, direct injection, variable intake- and exhaust-valve timing, and four-into-two-into-one exhaust manifold. The Atkinson cycle engine, normally found on gas-electric hybrids, provides for an expansion stroke during which more efficient power is produced, allowing for more fun driving, lower fuel usage, and no need for premium fuel.
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is good looking, fun to drive, and changed my view of what Mazda stands for. It’s also a positive sign of future Mazdas to come.
2013 MAZDA CX-5 – THE DETAILS
|2013 Mazda CX-5|
|Drivetrain||Front engine, front-wheel drive|
|Engine||2.0 liter/155 hp/Inline 4|
|Curb weight (lbs)||3208|
|Length x width x height (inches)||178.7 x 72.4 x 65.7|
|0-60 mph (seconds)||8 (estimated)|