2013 Mazda CX-5
Over at Mazda, it’s all about cementing their own identity in the booming compact crossover market, with a clean sheet effort, the 2013 CX-5 crossover utility vehicle. All-new from the ground up, the five passenger CX-5 also includes the first ground up application of Mazda’s SKYACTIV philosophy which seeks hybrid-like fuel economy using traditional gas and diesel powertrains.
From its lightweight high-strength chassis, to its high-compression SKYACTIV-G 4-cylinder petrol engine, the CX-5 is designed to offer the best of all driving worlds. The super-efficient SKYACTIV-G 2-liter has 155 horsepower, a sky-high 13 to 1 compression ratio, and a 4 to 2 to 1 exhaust system. Linked to a pair of low-drag 6-speed transmissions, the CX-5 delivers government fuel economy highway ratings of 30 miles per gallon or better in front and all-wheel drive.
On our first drive, the CX-5’s SKYACTIV chassis felt solid and sporty, quite superior to the Escape based Tribute it replaces, and for that matter all other compact crossover rivals. Quick, solid steering and a firm ride that is more MX-5 Miata than SUV. Now, the gas 4-banger struggled a bit on hills, but delivered a smooth, quiet performance in normal highway and urban traffic. A stronger turbo diesel option is due for 2014 and we think it will be a big hit.
The sporty crossover philosophy carries over into the CX-5’s KODO design language. The brand's smiley face adorns the front end, albeit with a proper dose of aggression. And the flanks sport signature wavy character lines, but toned down and more like the Mazda3 than the over-the-top Mazda5.
Inside, where the well-equipped space combines familiar Mazda sports car styling with one of the roomiest cabins in the segment. Rear legroom is quite good, and the 40-20-40 folding rear seatbacks deliver excellent cargo flexibility.
Prices for the decidedly “Zoom-Zoom” CX-5 compact crossover will slot in just below the slightly larger CX-7, starting at about $20,000 when it arrives in showrooms early in the new year.
Engine: SKYACTIV-G 2-liter
Price: Starting at about $20,000