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View Full Version : Quick pic/review of my Sky Blue CX-5 GT AWD w/ Tech package



CodyZoom
03-26-2012, 09:07 AM
Greetings folks,

Friday morning I received the highly anticipated email from my salesman indicating my Sky Blue 2013 CX-5 Grand Touring AWD w/ Tech Package had arrived at the dealership and would be ready for pickup later that day. Needless to say, Friday was an unproductive day at work because my mind was already in zoom-zoom mode.

Purchasing the car was a breeze, but I can’t speak to Mazda’s financing options. Prior to departure the dealer donned my CX-5 with front and rear mud guards, all-weather mats, and cargo tray. The roof rails and rear bumper guard are on back-order. The front guards are great, but the rears look a little bulky to me. Overall I don’t mind though. Also, I would wait until you can get aftermarket all-weather mats (those digital ones from weathertech I think). The Mazda mats are fine, but I can foresee crumbs, dirt and litter finding the nooks and crannies. Having said that, I am completely happy with the interior/exterior, it is truly a beautiful car.

Performance.
There’s one major thing I want to address that I disagree with on most reviews – power. I feel this vehicle is adequately powered in the city and on the highway. This is coming from a 24 year old guy who’s last two cars were an 07’ WRX and an older Saab 9000 with a 2.3 liter turbo – two fast cars. In fact, on the highway today as I was merging I dropped the pedal, the 2.0 liter screamed up to 5k rpm and I got up to 55-60 rather quickly. (I also like the exhaust note at that rpm!). This is not a WRX, but I was impressed if not at least satisfied - keeping in mind it’s a naturally aspirated 4 cylinder (manual mode is fun too!). Power aside, steering is crisp and confident and the ride quality is smooth, but it’s no caddy for sure. My girlfriend has the 2011 Escape and I noticed the steering on the Mazda takes a little more effort, which I prefer. The Escape can be turned with one finger easily. The brake seems fine, but it’s a little mushy. Maybe that’s because I’m not used to it yet, but I noticed a difference from my last vehicle. One more observation is how it seems to limp into first gear. I understand Mazda has made efforts to increase economy by adjusting the transmission behavior. In my opinion, the vehicle is very sure-footed and I love driving it.

Interior/Exterior.
The exterior is by far my favorite of any CUV. I am VERY happy with the Sky Blue. It’s sexy, sporty and quite the head-turner; at the same time I don’t feel ridiculous in it. I personally like the black plastic along the bottom. Inside, the view out is quite good – not the best, but still very good. The Bose sound system is boomin’! Hooking up the iPhone/iPod is a breeze and the display screen is very intuitive – this coming from non-techy guy. I heard just a couple complaints about the sound, but I like it very much. The Audio/Bluetooth/Nav are all intuitive and easy to use. I have yet to use the SD Card update feature, so no comments there. Knobs, buttons switches and the like are all quality build – the interior is one of the high points in this vehicle. Have not used the rain sensing wipers yet. My one complaint about the interior is the lack of storage. I test drove the 2012 CR-V (Sooooo glad I didn’t take that plunge) and my girlfriend has the 2011 Escape, both have much better storage cubbies. Day to day is fine, but they’d come in handy for road trips. Head and Leg room are great. I am 6 feet tall and don’t feel cramped anywhere in the car. Rear cargo is also perfect for my needs. Love the 40/20/40 seats for snowboarding trips.

Fuel Economy – I only have about 50 miles on the car, so I can’t say much, but on my 12 mile commute through Washington, D.C. I was able to achieve 32.2 mpg on the car’s fuel economy indicator. This is 65-70% highway driving. At one point (about the 8th mile) my display read 34.5 average mpg. I can easily see getting 32-35 mpg on the highway in the AWD version. Take in mind that I drive very economically though. I rarely get above 70 mph on the highway and accelerate/brake smoothly. City driving has been right on the 24.5-27 mpg range.

I hope this helps some of y’all. If you have questions please ask. I can upload additional pictures as well. Overall I am in love with this CX-5 and wouldn’t change a thing, except more cubbies!

CodyZoom
03-26-2012, 09:18 AM
Forgot 1 tiny complaint about the tranny - maybe it's because this is my first automatic since I've started driving, but from a stop, or from coasting, as you press the gas pedal the transmission seems to have to "think" about what its doing for a second before delivering any power to the wheels. I only say this because the 2011 Ford Escape didn't seem to have this quirk. Having said that, it's not enough to really think about and is barely worthy of mention, but I just wanted to be thorough and wanted to see if anyone else noticed.

ourlee
03-26-2012, 09:18 AM
great write up, enjoy your new car. i'm torn between your blue and white. i'll let my wife decide when the diesels come. thanks for the review.

mddriver
03-26-2012, 10:55 AM
Good luck with the car. Good comments. That type of mileage in the Washington traffic is great. The highways are probably more stop and go then driving in the city. I love the Sky Blue, but when it comes my time to buy I'm looking at a Touring and in the pictures I've seen, the Sky Blue just doesn't look right to me with the 17" wheels. I haven't seen one in this color in person yet. If anyone has good pictures of a Sky Blue Touring I'd love to seen them. The dealer posted pictures not always that good. I'm leaning towards the red, silver or white. They all contrast nicely with the black trim. My local dealer has blacks, grays and silvers on his lot and I've seen a red one at another dealer.

drfranklin
03-26-2012, 11:29 AM
Thanks very much for the review. Great pics. I'm struggling to choose between the 2012 CR-V and the 2013 CX-5 (I haven't test driven the CX-5 yet). Can you please provide some detailed differences in your assessment of both.

CodyZoom
03-26-2012, 12:00 PM
I was looking at the small SUV market because I wanted a vehicle that did a lot of things fairly well. I wasn't particularly looking for just hp, fuel economy, towing/cargo, or off-road capability; I wanted a little of everything since my hobbies include camping/hiking and LOTS of snowboarding trips - hence the CUV market. I looked at almost all of the CUVs extensively but only drove the CR-V, Escape and CX-5. The CR-V is a great vehicle and I have a lot of respect for it. The interior on the EX-L model was very nice, comfortable and even seemed a little classy. The driving experience was what you'd expect - very comfortable and smooth. I praise Honda for their ability to produce quality, reliable and practical vehicles.

What the CR-V does better:
- Better interior room - though not by much.
- Better folding rear seats. The headrests angle down automatically, so no need to adjust any seats, just pull a latch. The CX-5 is the same way, except, depending on your seat positions, you might have to take out the headrests or move some seats around.
- Better Back-up camera. Honda comes with three different views, so - if you're horrible at backing into spaces, you may like this better, but the CX-5's does the job nicely for me.
- Reliability? Honda is known for it's reliability, and the CR-V is a proven vehicle, but Mazda is also pretty reliable, however - new vehicle = increased risk

What the CX-5 does better:
- styling. CR-V is a soccer-mom car to the T. CX-5 is pretty cool, young, fresh and sexy looking. I personally feel they did a great job inside and out. The CX-5's interior is better in my opinion. It's classier, more modern, sits upright a bit more, is very intuitive and you feel like you're getting more out of your money than the CR-V.
- Driving experience. I drove the CR-V first and liked it, smooth and easy, but the CX-5 was smooth, easy and FUN!
- Pricing. I could be wrong, but I believe the CR-V, is a bit more, plus you don't get as many bells and whistes. Mazda packed in quite a few neat features like the Blind spot monitoring system which has already come in handy.
- Gas Mileage - CX-5 wins this one by a little bit. I drive a lot of city, so the 25 mpg city was a compelling factor as well.

So, overall it might be a personal taste. They are both arguably well built machines, but to me the CX-5 has soooo much more character and I know I would have regreted getting the CR-V knowing the CX-5 is out there.

Drive the Honda first, then the Mazda in an equal trim level. I'm interested to hear your opinion as well.

xwedge
03-26-2012, 01:06 PM
great review!

kvetcha
03-26-2012, 02:59 PM
Good luck with the car. Good comments. That type of mileage in the Washington traffic is great. The highways are probably more stop and go then driving in the city. I love the Sky Blue, but when it comes my time to buy I'm looking at a Touring and in the pictures I've seen, the Sky Blue just doesn't look right to me with the 17" wheels. I haven't seen one in this color in person yet. If anyone has good pictures of a Sky Blue Touring I'd love to seen them. The dealer posted pictures not always that good. I'm leaning towards the red, silver or white. They all contrast nicely with the black trim. My local dealer has blacks, grays and silvers on his lot and I've seen a red one at another dealer.

We just picked up our Sky Blue Touring last weekend. I can get some shots this week and post them.

Kornik
03-26-2012, 05:26 PM
Performance.
Thereís one major thing I want to address that I disagree with on most reviews Ė power. I feel this vehicle is adequately powered in the city and on the highway. This is coming from a 24 year old guy whoís last two cars were an 07í WRX and an older Saab 9000 with a 2.3 liter turbo Ė two fast cars. In fact, on the highway today as I was merging I dropped the pedal, the 2.0 liter screamed up to 5k rpm and I got up to 55-60 rather quickly. (I also like the exhaust note at that rpm!). This is not a WRX, but I was impressed if not at least satisfied - keeping in mind itís a naturally aspirated 4 cylinder (manual mode is fun too!). Power aside, steering is crisp and confident and the ride quality is smooth, but itís no caddy for sure. My girlfriend has the 2011 Escape and I noticed the steering on the Mazda takes a little more effort, which I prefer. The Escape can be turned with one finger easily. The brake seems fine, but itís a little mushy. Maybe thatís because Iím not used to it yet, but I noticed a difference from my last vehicle. One more observation is how it seems to limp into first gear. I understand Mazda has made efforts to increase economy by adjusting the transmission behavior. In my opinion, the vehicle is very sure-footed and I love driving it.

I also think CX-5 has enough power. What it lacks is low rpm torque. The engine just doesn't pull below 2500rpm. That plus the fact that transmission is '6th gear happy' for fuel saving purposes means that many times you feel like hesitation in acceleration before it actually drops a gear and starts picking up speed properly.

I have also noticed that when you want to accelerate really fast from stand still you have to press the pedal aggressively. I have a tendency (from my previous car) to push the pedal only about 1/3 to get things started and shortly after the car gets rolling push it all the way down. That works great in my Range Rover (tons of low rpm torque and only 4 gears) but in CX-5 before I know it's already in second or third gear and when I push the pedal all the way in, it surprises me with sudden downshift back to first gear resulting in rough ride. "If you want to get off quick, just do it at once" it seems to tell me.

And I also noticed the initial hesitation - there is about 0.2sec delay between the time I press the pedal and the time that the engine reacts when getting off the line. Long enough that I've noticed it, not long enough to cause me any troubles (I'm not racing after all).

mddriver
03-26-2012, 05:36 PM
Looking forward to the pictures.

CodyZoom
03-26-2012, 07:35 PM
Regarding your last note - During the test drive my salesman told me the vehicle puts itself in neutral during a stop, such as at a stoplight in order to save gas. That way it's not stressing the transmission. I haven't looked into this any further, but it could be right. I also agree with your comment how you can't really baby it up to 10-20 mph then press a little harder. You need to give it a thorough push right from the start for smooth acceleration. I have a feeling this will take little getting used to. Cheers and enjoy your new vehicle!

Kornik
03-26-2012, 08:39 PM
Regarding your last note - During the test drive my salesman told me the vehicle puts itself in neutral during a stop, such as at a stoplight in order to save gas. That way it's not stressing the transmission. I haven't looked into this any further, but it could be right. I also agree with your comment how you can't really baby it up to 10-20 mph then press a little harder. You need to give it a thorough push right from the start for smooth acceleration. I have a feeling this will take little getting used to. Cheers and enjoy your new vehicle!
Well, you not always can push hard from the start, especially when you're turning. Like when you have to turn left on the traffic lights to take the ramp onto the interstate. I usually accelerate to 15-20mph and only after I'm straight on the ramp I push it to the floor. But I found a solution - manual gear lock. Now I just slide the lever to the left and keep it in first, then after I turn I just push to the floor and slide the lever to the right (notice that I do not actually change the gears manually, I just lock it in first for a moment). Works great for me.

kvetcha
03-26-2012, 09:10 PM
Sorry, didn't have much time, but I snapped this while running errands.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7082/7019440583_da03317e0f_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/8729138@N05/7019440583/)
CX-5 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/8729138@N05/7019440583/) by sola6loria (http://www.flickr.com/people/8729138@N05/), on Flickr

poggie
03-26-2012, 10:54 PM
Power / acceleration felt fine to me on my test drive. I didn't even notice the delay. My only concern is altitude (above 4000ft) and long elevation gains when driving to Tahoe. Any experiences with this sort of driving? I am assuming it will probably need to kick down a gear or two but would ultimately do fine.

jtsimaras
03-27-2012, 12:52 AM
Thanks very much for the review. Great pics. I'm struggling to choose between the 2012 CR-V and the 2013 CX-5 (I haven't test driven the CX-5 yet). Can you please provide some detailed differences in your assessment of both.

We struggled with this one as well---test drove both of them 3 times each. We went with the Mazda in the end---still waiting upon the delivery. Reason we went with the CX5 over the CRV was because of appearance, gas mileage, the Bose Stereo and fun factor. Hope we made the right decision as CRV's are sure known for their resale, reliability and more.

inodes
03-27-2012, 04:12 AM
- Better folding rear seats. The headrests angle down automatically, so no need to adjust any seats, just pull a latch. The CX-5 is the same way, except, depending on your seat positions, you might have to take out the headrests or move some seats around.

Note this on the US models. If you're really concerned about this, suppose it would be easy to get your hands on the headrests found in all other markets. They're intended to help the folding of seats.

Non US markets: http://www.netcarshow.com/mazda/2013-cx-5/800x600/wallpaper_4d.htm
US market: http://www.netcarshow.com/mazda/2013-cx-5/800x600/wallpaper_4e.htm

Thanks for the brilliant post Cody. Love your insight.

inodes
03-27-2012, 04:23 AM
Hope we made the right decision as CRV's are sure known for their resale, reliability and more.

Reliability

Honda is known for reliability in the US - Sure. But in German and Italian tests the Mazda's have come out very high.
Good AutoBild (German) and JD Power (German and Italian) and you'll see that Mazda, Honda and Toyota constant rank high in quality and reliability tests.

Past few years, Mazda had some of the only cars to reach the 3 year, 100,000km endurance testing with zero faults.

CodyZoom
03-27-2012, 08:23 AM
Power / acceleration felt fine to me on my test drive. I didn't even notice the delay. My only concern is altitude (above 4000ft) and long elevation gains when driving to Tahoe. Any experiences with this sort of driving? I am assuming it will probably need to kick down a gear or two but would ultimately do fine.

I understand your worries. In one of the youtube reviews (I believe by "The Fast Lane") the CX-5's 0-60 mph performance was SIGNIFICANTLY reduced. I am at low altitude so that doesn't factor in as much. If you can, you may want to wait until either a gas-turbo or a diesel-turbo comes out. The turbos perform much better at altitude. Good luck in your pursuit, I hope you find what you're looking for.

CodyZoom
03-27-2012, 08:25 AM
Note this on the US models. If you're really concerned about this, suppose it would be easy to get your hands on the headrests found in all other markets. They're intended to help the folding of seats.

Non US markets: http://www.netcarshow.com/mazda/2013-cx-5/800x600/wallpaper_4d.htm
US market: http://www.netcarshow.com/mazda/2013-cx-5/800x600/wallpaper_4e.htm

Thanks for the brilliant post Cody. Love your insight.

Thanks inodes! I've learned much from reading your posts, so please continue. I really like the non US-spec rear head restraints. I will have to order some if possible.

inodes
03-27-2012, 09:57 AM
Thanks inodes! I've learned much from reading your posts, so please continue. I really like the non US-spec rear head restraints. I will have to order some if possible.

I reckon they'd be easy to order. At the end of the day though, someone at Mazda USA likes the big headrests... so be it.
That's the beauty of letting each Mazda order specifics to fit each country.

One perfect example of how Mazda listens to each country is related to stability control....

We have crappy roads here in Australia (and most likely the crappiest drivers). For each vehicle that is imported, Mazda tunes the car's stability control in Australia and adjusts it to suit our roads. The same thing happens with the US. As a result, car magazines in Australia, always praise Mazda vehicles for superb handling where the DSC is "just right".... conversely Toyota (and sometimes Honda) are belted for getting it wrong.

Worst case of DSC gone wrong was one where a Toyota SUV was running simple tests on the dirt during the Wheels "Car of the Year" competition (which on a side note is the worlds oldest car mag award). The Toyota flipped unexpectedly with a delayed and then incorrect response from the DSC.
The magazine wrote a letter to Toyota showing the result.
The reply from Toyota (which was published), suggested it flipped because they didn't do an ISO compliant test.

The magazine said (and rightly so), that if customers flipped in similar circumstances, that using the car in an "ISO compliant" fashion was plain nonsense.
Comment was made in the same breath that Toyota should copy Mazda's practice of tuning DSC for each country, then the accident wouldn't have happened.

Headrests may be a small aspect, but Mazda have tended to consult each country for the greater good of each market.

cptkloss
03-27-2012, 10:08 AM
Few (other) things about "CR-V vs CX-5" (i dont own any but have tested both recently)

- CR-V lcd screen (used by camera and stuff) is small and far into the dashboard, uncomfortably so for me. Mazda's is MUCH better.

- CR-V folding seats, one thing they always want to showcase is not without faults: they got stuck when salesperson tried to fold them (extended headrests i guess). When folded, i expected the seats to fold really flat, alas, they're just like any other, lay at an angle.

- CR-V armrest/center console .... this is more of a curiosity rather than a pro/con. They went for "van-like" solution - a small folding armrest attached to the chair (hehe, try to spot it on the official photos, sure they are not proud of that solution) , independent of center console.

- base CR-V comes with 16in steel wheels.... i'm not sure if there's any other crossover still offering steels...

I was able to get 32 mpg on my test loop (25 miles of moderately hilly highway, driving 65mph on cruise control with ECON on)

CR-V is a worthy contender...i'm leaning towards CX-5 at the moment. (comaring CR-V LX to Touring CX-5 --> base honda is missing stuff i want: BT and camera)

mddriver
03-27-2012, 12:41 PM
Kvetcha, thanks for the picture. Hope you have time for more. It shows what (I'm assuming is) a quality camera can do.

kvetcha
03-27-2012, 01:58 PM
Kvetcha, thanks for the picture. Hope you have time for more. It shows what (I'm assuming is) a quality camera can do.

It was my iPhone 4, actually. :)

I have a DSLR I'll try and get some shots with after we wash the poor thing down. It's living outdoors under the tree line right now, so there's pollen and debris galore.

mddriver
03-27-2012, 03:36 PM
Some of the dealers out there should get some iPhones. It would greatly improve their on-line pictures. The blue really pops in your picture.

jeremy44
04-18-2012, 01:20 AM
correct
not sure about Australian specs, but EU specs have a knob next to the handbrake to control the nav, phone etc... for Canada and US, we do not have that knob but instead two larger cupholders
all we get is a touch screen to control most of the functions

inodes
04-18-2012, 05:04 AM
correct
not sure about Australian specs, but EU specs have a knob next to the handbrake to control the nav, phone etc... for Canada and US, we do not have that knob but instead two larger cupholders
all we get is a touch screen to control most of the functions

It's strictly a European spec item. It is missing from all Asian, Australian and North American vehicles.

ceebeepee
03-05-2013, 09:09 AM
I too was torn between the CRV and the CX 5. I read reviews from Car & Driver and Edmund's, till my eyes dried up. The next day I went to test drive the two vehicles armed with the previous days homework and an open mind. The reviews I read really favored the CX5 and I took my time in comparing what I was seeing in person to that which I had read and found in almost all cases that the reviews remained true to their claims. I drove ( and purchased ) the 2014 CX5 with the 2.5 and if there was an issue with power before I feel certain that it has been remedied. All and all the CX5 won me over in just about every category but I must say that the CRV is more than a worthy opponent. The fact is that I believe you could not make a bad choice between the two. I feel that for many, the purchase decision could boil down to which vehicle wins the eye candy test.

SapphireHearts
03-05-2013, 11:22 PM
Good write up. Congrats on your purchase. Good choice on the color.



Jeff