Auto review by Veeno Dewan

Mazda’s newest baby – The new Mazda 2013 CX-5 Skyactiv mid- size crossover is designed to attract younger buyers and is certainly sharp looking enough to accomplish that task. It is the first of a new generation of Mazda vehicles to incorporate the company’s”Kodo” or “motion in soul” design language. The CX-5’s sleek front and rear lights, long hood, sharply angled A-pillars, sloped C-Pillars and steep rear back window give it a rakish appearance. Big fenders and flared wheel arches with a choice of big 17- or 19-inch wheels, make it look tough and muscular.

So what exactly is Skyactiv?

Basically it is a suite of ultra-efficient engines and transmissions and weight reduction measures designed to achieve fuel savings without resorting to hybrid or electric vehicle technology. The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is the first CUV to receive the full impressive Skyactiv treatment. For example, almost every component of the vehicle, the body, the chassis and suspension, the transmissions and the all-wheel drive system are now lighter and stronger than the components found in competing vehicles.

The technology also extends to the engine including a 155 horsepower 2.0-litre gasoline engine with a race-car style high compression ratio of 13:1.

Model wise the GX entry level model starts at $22,995 offers as standard equipment including push-button start, variable speed windshield wipers, cruise control, 4-speaker audio system with CD, MP3, USB and auxiliary input jacks, power windows and door locks, air conditioning, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, trip computer, cloth seats with 6-way manual driver adjustment and 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks.

A convenience package” (17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth and steering wheel mounted audio controls, privacy glass, colour display screen and HD radio), the GX tops out at $27,690 with automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

GS models are priced at $27,895 for FWD and $29,895 with AWD. Standard additional equipment includes automatic transmission, glass moon roof with power tilt and slide, auto on/off headlights, fog lamps, rain sensing windshield wipers, 6-speaker audio with colour display screen, rearview parking camera, illuminated vanity mirrors, and premium cloth seating with heated front seats, six-way power adjustable driver’s seat and 40/20/40 split folding rear seatbacks.

Our tester was the GT model equipped with the SKYACTIV-G 2.0L engine, brake assist, hill hold assist, intelligent key system, 19” alloy wheels, all-wheel drive, power moon roof, rain-sensing wipers, rearview parking camera, BOSE audio system w/ 9 speakers, dual zone auto climate control, Blind Spot Monitoring System, leather upholstery, 8-way power driver’s seat, power driver’s lumbar support, 40/20/40 folding rear seat The top level GT trim level also offers leather wrapped seats, steering wheel, shift knob, brake handle and leather look door inserts priced at $32,495. The driver’s seat is 8-way power adjustable.

The Mazda CX-5 GT can be outfitted with extra cost Bi-Xenon headlights, adaptive, auto-levelling front lighting system, navigation system and Sirius satellite radio. Mazda also offers blind spot monitoring and a back-up camera as options.

Interior wise the CX-5 has a typical Mazda sporty look and feel. Sharp styling, comfortable seats and a high driving position dominate. Rear seat legroom is better than expected, thanks to a segment leading 2,700 mm (106.1 in.) wheelbase, while the available 40/20/40 rear seat folds at the push of a button. The clever tri- split seat allows you to seat two people and still carry a long load. Cargo capacity is 966 litres (34.1 cu. ft.) behind the rear seats and 1,852 litres (65.4 cu. ft.) with the rear seats folded. Also of note is the new TomTom navigation system that’s easy to use. The Mazda CX-5 gets a 2,000 lb tow rating.

On the road the CX-5 certainly performs well enough. The responsive 2-liter engine generates a large amount of its torque from 2500 to 4000 rpm and proves very tractable. The six speed automatic equipped tester we had for a week proved to be a comfortable, effortless vehicle to drive through the city, urban grind and did stellar service on some long distance cruising.
To sum up the Mazda CX-5 performs and feels like the sporty compact sedans that Mazda does so well yet offer the attributes and versatility of a CUV. The light weight and fine handling dynamics made it easy to toss the CX-5 hard and fast. Meanwhile, the six-speed automatic makes great use of its engine matching shift points and delivers enjoyable and well-balanced acceleration and performance.

Transport Canada fuel ratings for the 2013 Mazda CX-5 fuel consumption are 7.8 L/100 km (city) and 5.7 (highway) for the front wheel drive model with manual transmission, while the automatic with front-wheel drive is rated 7.7 city/6.1 highway and the all-wheel drive model 8.0 city/6.4 highway.

The figures actually make the CX-5 in the top class and with its competitive pricing, The CX-5 looks like a sure fire hit for Mazda offering class beating fuel economy without the price penalty of having to buy and expensive hybrid vehicle. Highly recommended as a stylish, refined and brilliantly engineered family vehicle.

2012 Mazda CX-5 priced from $22.995
GT model as tested – $32,495

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