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Big and Luxurious

Mazda CX-5 sport utility vehicle remains a solid choice in class.

It’s been around for nearly three years with only minor changes because Mazda believes it has a competitive winner with the compact Mazda CX-5 sport utility vehicle (SUV), which can also be called a crossover vehicle. For 2015, keyless entry was added.

Tundra

Mazda hasn’t changed much in the CX-5 for 2015, except adding keyless entry. Mazda Motor Corporation photo

With top safety ratings and numerous awards, it has become a sales champion in Mazda’s automotive stable. It was the first of the company’s vehicles to employ SKYACTIV® technology to create a lighter, stronger body using 61 percent high-tensile steel but a lighter chassis using independent front-strut and multi-link rear suspensions. Both improve driver confidence and handling; a nice feature for any SUV.

The CX-5 also inaugurated the KODO “Soul of Motion” design language used on Mazdas today that gives it a sleek roadside profile with muscular fender arches and contoured angles flowing smoothly into a strong yet sleek look. Top safety ratings from government and insurance industry crash tests make it an attractive family vehicle. A healthy average EPA rating of 26 miles per gallon can impact a family’s budget.

In addition, Consumer Reports rates the Mazda CX-5 reliability above average.

We test-drove the CX-5 Grand Touring, top-of-the-line above the base Sport and Touring CX-5 trims. The extras–six-speed automatic transmission and steering wheel manual paddle shifters, all-wheel-drive for mild off-roading, bigger engine, 19-inch alloy wheels, leather trimmed bolstered front seats, and nine-speaker BOSE audio system–came to $8,000, but the price seemed justified.

Our test vehicle also had a tech package for $1,425 that included navigation using TomTom routing and speech recognition, which unfortunately didn’t correctly interpret voice commands. Also TomTom requires an acknowledgement of the potential dangers of using it (distraction, accuracy, etc.) every time the CX-5 is started.

The ride was average, possibly limited somewhat to the design of the suspension system. Wind and engine noise under acceleration permeated the cabin, requiring higher radio volume.

The inside is spacious and well designed, with readable and reachable gauges and controls, plenty of adjustable spaces with easily folded flat second-row seats, and in the event of a flat, a spare donut tire is in the trunk.

Front-seat passengers enjoy contoured side-bolstered seats, and a fold-down center armrest comforts second-row riders. Access and egress are easy, and Bluetooth, blind spot alert (flash and beep), and rear camera are all standard. Sirius satellite radio came at no charge.

Towing is rated at 2,000 pounds.

Likes: Handling, looks, mileage, versatile, nice interior
Dislikes: Noisy, TomTom navigation
Bottom line: Top Mazda innovations at a decent price make a reliable vehicle.

Tom Crosby is a contributor from Charlotte, N.C.

May/June 2015 Issue


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