20,000 miles in a CX5 GT-R...

:
CX5 GT-R
To start off, the title is a bit of hyperbole. I have 19,4XX miles on my GT-R, currently.

I'd like to begin the description of my time in the car with a short emotional take on it:

It's been fun, reliable, surprisingly refined, and a pleasure to drive!

Now the nitty gritty...

...I bought this vehicle new, with a little over 700mi on it back in late Feb/early March of this year. My dealer gave me a decent value for my trade-in ($9200 on a 2015 CX5 Touring AWD with new tires/brakes, but $1800 needed in repairs, and 106K miles on the odometer), and sold me the 2019 GT-R for dealer invoice minus the $1250 rebates at the time. I purchased the $2400 bumper-to-bumper 10 year, 150K mile warranty on this GT-R. If my last CX5 was any indicator, I will get my money back on it. If I don't, I paid $2400 amortized to give me peace of mind for the next 5 years, and that's worth it to me! YMMV, but we can debate this elsewhere.

Initially, I had not sprung for the added warranty. I drove a hard bargain on it, and walked out after finalizing the deal. I came back 2 hours later after realizing that yes, this vehicle was a blast to drive, and I WAS keeping it long-term. I had to re-do all of the loan paperwork and everything. That kindof sucked. Worst part of the experience, really, not bad!


That out of the way...


Brakes: The brakes offer decent feedback, and are what I'd call "average". Nothing about them stands out---good, or bad. "They're brakes..." is what I'd say about them. These are still single piston, but the rotors are larger in the GT-R and Signature models, being 12.6" up front, and 11.9" for the rear, vs 11.7" and 11.9", respectively, in other other models, and I can't tell a lick of difference in how the vehicles stop.

Steering: The CX5 retains its near telepathic steering input and feedback is not that of an SUV, but that of a sport sedan or dialed back sports car, even. My one complaint is that on long sweepers, the EPAS will sometimes interpret your continued steering input as a request for "help", and feed a bit of boost into the equation for perhaps a millisecond...or maybe I'm just imagining it or hitting a smoother/oil slicked spot on the road? This doesn't happen every time, and it's not repeatable with the precision I have as a human being. It is also by and large not noticeable, and I doubt many others have noticed it. It doesn't upset the car, and it doesn't warrant any level of concern of any nature. It's more of a "little tickle in your gut", if your "gut" were your hands, if that makes sense? It is so minimal that I question, as above, if this is truly the case. Overall, I'd say EPAS is executed AMAZINGLY! in this vehicle. Great feedback, great "weight" on the sporty side of the spectrum.

Suspension: This is an area where the CX5 GT-R really impresses me. Body motions are very elegantly damped. The suspension has excellent feedback, and responds well lazing about, or pushed hard. You can unsettle the car if you make rapid transitions repeatedly, however. There is simply no way to hide 7.5" of ground clearance and nearly 60% of the weight being over the front axle. In practical use and on back road twisties, it's amazing. Local parking-lot SCCA races? It will probably be a poor choice. The articulation of the suspension is smooth and refined. Rebound control is EXCELLENT. This feels like a very "mature" suspension, in that it has literally zero bad habits, or unbecoming traits. I have no critique except that if you want to change how the vehicle handles, lower it. But then you might should consider a car/sedan. By comparison, my 2015 also was very excellent, but it lacked some of the "polish" this suspension has. It felt like it worked harder, and while it was a bit more "raw", it accomplished the same thing. The 2015 is like a jock in the locker room that slams lockers around and grunts, and performs out on the field in a way that backs it up. The 2019 is like a calm and composed athlete that simply goes about dominating the field just as well as his more exuberant counterpart.

The AWD system: I drove the vehicle briefly in the snow, and it was excellent. It is also excellent in the rain, and going up and down gravel roads/hills. One one occasion, the vehicle did cut power, and on another occasion, I felt notable slip. Both occasions were on cold/damp roads under near WOT when I was crossing the center line. If you've ever owned a powerful vehicle (500+hp, RWD), or a sport bike, you understand how predictable this was. The bias was enough on one of these occasions for the vehicle simply to cut power momentarily to prevent a possible issue. The other occasion, I felt a bit of looseness up front, but no power was cut (I was not at WOT at that point). Both occasions underscore the limitations of the CX5's AWD system. It cannot actively vector torque left/right, but only fore and aft. It is an excellent system, but it is not on par with some of its more expensive counterparts like the Audi SQ5, etc. It does handle spirited driving in normal circumstances and inclement weather with surefooted composure, however, as well as loose terrain, VERY well!

The transmission: I have bad luck with automatics (My 2015 CX5 being the only one that ever made it much past 100K miles without significant issue, for me), and the reason I bought the extended warranty, in part. So far, it has performed amazingly, with a few quirks. I do notice shift-flair and have ever since it was new, in the same degree, SOMETIMES, on SOME shifts. I do not know if this is actual slippage, or simply an electronic quirk dictated by incline, throttle position, and a host of other factors that causes the torque converter to unlock in a certain way at a certain time. I will say I have noticed the same phenomenon with my Jeep Grand Cherokee, and it made it to 93K miles without any issues I could attribute to this (it had other problems), and it had SIGNIFICANT shift flair (by my standards). It, also, was VERY creative with locking/unlocking the torque converter (545RFE transmission). At this time, I choose not to read into this, as no codes have been thrown, nor is driving compromised by it. The other quirk I have noticed is that when I coast to a NEAR stop, and then accelerate, sometimes I get very limited response, but higher rpms (1800ish), and then the transmission grabs a gear and goes. What I think is happening, is the vehicle has stayed in 2nd or 3rd as it slowly coasts, but the torque converter is unlocked under 10mph. When I accelerate, the torque converter "flashes", but the abysmal gearing advantage gives me no real thrust, so it quickly downshifts and off I go. This is not a mechanical issue, but rather a programming quirk. Again, it is simply an observation, and a critique, not something that upsets me. During part throttle, WOT, and all other applications, the 6-speed SkyActiv in both my 2015 and 2019 is near telepathic. It is an EXCELLENT, and swift shifting "slushbox". Mazda deserves a pat on the back for this one! Also of note, both my Jeep Grand Cherokee, and my 2015 CX5, when cruising at 70-80mph on a long road trip, and then flooring it, would SLAM! into a downshift (violently and destructively sounding! It was NOT normal sounding, but seemed normal operation) sometimes. My 2019 has yet to do this.

The engine: This is what really separates the GT-R and Signature trims from the others. The power is instant at all rpms, and it suites the vehicle perfectly. Hilly terrain and the freeway are where it makes itself known on a daily basis for me. My lifetime average so far is 26.4mpg. On the last road trip I went on, it bested my 2015 by over 1mpg (same route, a year ago). It is powerful and efficient, and has excellent manners. Coupled with the SkyActiv 6-speed automatic, there are zero "dead zones" in the powerband. I have bested a 6.2L SVT Raptor as well as a 2006-2010 Civic SI from a freeway punch before. The engine motivates this CUV with enough authority to actually be FUN! The surprising part is how far beyond the EPA acclaimed mpg it is stretching each gallon! The vehicle is rated at 27mpg highway, and with all my shenanigans, my lifetime average for combined driving is only 0.6mpg less, and climbing! If you're considering an upper-trim CX5 but are leaning towards not buying the turbo, you should never set foot in the turbo, because it's just that much better. I had a 2018 GT with Tech as a loaner for 4 days while they finalized the deal on the CX5 GT-R, and diagnosed my 2015 CX5 (failed HP FP and FP regulator) in the shop, so I got a good chance to back-to-back compare. It's no contest. The turbo motor really takes this vehicle to the next level in both fun and practicality.

The interior: The controls for the NAV/etc. are placed in front of the center console, and at first this is awkward, what with the dials instead of a touch screen. After about a week, however, I wanted nothing to do with smeary touch-screens, and the controls became second nature. Mazda really got this "right". The seating has held up excellently, with only a few minor "wrinkles" to the side bolsters (which can, annoyingly, rub on the center console creating a "creak" sometimes if you lean in the seats or take a hard corner). The rest of the interior, likewise, looks nearly brand new, except for the piano black...this trend, I cannot support. There is no way to prevent microscratches.. The overall interior style reminds me of late 2000's BMW. Very straight forward, and tastefully minimalist. The seats aren't the best I've felt, but they aren't bad, either. They are on the firmer side, and you have to properly adjust them for optimal seating. This is something I've always taken the time to do, but some people will find it a hassle to "set up". The materials used seem upscale and are solid to the touch.

The exterior: The style of the Gen 2 CX5's has really grown on me. Coupled with the GT-R and Signature rims, it really looks good to me. I feel like wider tires would enhance dry weather handling and "the look", but on the flip side, they would harm handling in rain and snow and ice, as well as lower mpg. Mazda made a choice, here, and I feel like it was the right one. The paint has held up decently to a couple of door-dings, as has the body work, although 2 exceptionally hard dings have caused me a bit of angst, one I had fixed, the other is very very minor and I likely won't address it. Overall, par for the course. The windshield has taken some serious rock hits, each time with me expecting to have t o have it replaced, only to inspect it and find myself in shock to not be able to determine where the rock even hit! This is NOT my experience with my 2015...it cracked by looking at it hard. The wipers...they're okay. I did replace them with Bosch Envision, and highly recommend them. I also recommend a PPF wrap, if rock dings are something that bother you. I had this done, and it has provided excellent protection. I do not believe I have any paint chips yet, at just under 20K miles, thanks to it!

Driving Impressions: This CX5 is QUIET! The 2015 I had before it was a "buzz bomb" in comparison. My drive consists of roughly 2 miles of gravel road every day. My 2019 has not developed any rattles, creaks, or other noises due to this. It feels like it's carved from billet and the suspension does the work instead of body-flex. My 2015, while rigid, is not in this league, and it quickly developed some squeaks and rattles. Likewise, road noise is very damped even at 85mph, in my 2019. At 85mph in my 2015, you were screaming into your cellphone. In my 2019, you are talking calmly and people are asking you to Google things for them as they think you're sitting at home. The heater and A/C are both good, but the A/C does seem to be on the "weaker" side of the spectrum based on other vehicles I've owned. In short, it's a very refined ride, and Audi, BMW, and MB owners would not feel out of place in the least with this level of NVH. One thing where Mazda did fall down on, is tires. The A36's were down to 4-5/32 by 17,000 miles, when I had them replaced with CrossContact LX25's. The CrossContact LX25's are MUCH more surefooted in the rain (the A36's hydroplaned on me several times even at moderate speeds of 50-55 on very banked roads with minimal surface water.) Also, the whole vehicle would shake until the tires warmed up when on the freeway. The LX25's mitigated this 90-100% (to the point that I can't tell if it's the tires, or if the road just has a few irregularities), and are quieter and "grippier" in all conditions, to boot! I highly recommend this tire and just dumping the A36 junk in general, as quickly as possible, both for your own safety and enjoyment!

Features and Function: Let's go ahead and get this out of the way: The NAV system is a bit immature (crashes, refuses to find XM, things of this nature from time to time). It needs a few software updates to really be up to snuff, or a faster processor, or something. Otherwise, it's excellent! All of the controls are extremely intuitive. Cooled seats...now this is something I never really knew I needed, but now I know I need them in my life forever. They're just something you have to try on a hot day to understand! That said...I really wish they were integrated with the faux suede insert seats. The full-faced leather is very slick/sticky/hot at times, and I've never been a fan. The swiveling headlights are great! Another thing I never knew I'd not want to ever be without. Intuitive. Telepathic. The LED's seem to be of the same tint, left/right, and they are plenty bright, but as with most LEDs, CRI isn't as good as incandescent or HID, and at the periphery and at the end of t heir reach, your ability to resolve objects diminishes compared to these other types. Their "throw" and how well it's managed, however, mitigates this as a disadvantage, functionally, but you will notice yourself straining to see things at their boundaries, even IF the boundaries are plenty far. The rain sensing wipers are mediocre at best. I find them passable enough that I don't often "override" them, but they are not what I'd call intuitive or telepathic in their decision making. Again, opportunity for improvement.

The auto-off/on high beam is similar, although better. I still find myself every now and then reaching up to dim them because it just hi-beamed someone. My Jeep also had a 3-stage dimming algorithm that it went through on the REGULAR headlights, as someone closed with you at night. This was an excellent high-line feature, and Mazda would do well to integrate it. The radar cruise control deserves special mention. It is absolutely amazing! It can be used following motorcycles on a curvy road with oncoming traffic on the other lane and it doesn't make missteps! I can use it in busy 4-lane traffic. It is simply excellent. One word of caution, however, is that large speed differentials and short follow-distance settings need monitoring! You will arrive on that stopped traffic jam at too high a rate of speed for safety. PAY ATTENTION! The auto-braking? I set it on least sensitive after it dumped everything on the floorboard once when I didn't slow to its liking as someone turned in front of me. This also lowers the speed at which it can prevent a wreck. Again...technology is NOT a substitute for proper driving! Don't lull yourself into a false sense of security!

The heated windshield and steering wheel are also very nice. Not earth shattering, but "very nice". The tire-pressure monitoring system needs individual tire PSI read-outs. As-is, it's ho-hum, just being an idiot-light. Climate control is very minimally invasive. It runs the fans at a much lower rate than most people, myself included, would manually set them at on a hot day to cool the vehicle off quickly. Otherwise, it does a good job, and the dual-zone is a life saver for my girlfriend and I on road trips, and she LOVES the rear vents and heated seats for when she rides in the back. All of the seats have solid heating. It's not super aggressive, but it's definitely effective. The cooling is more subtle, but very VERY welcome! The sound system? It's a Bose, what can I say? I find it adequate, but sub-standard for what Mazda is going for. It would make a good sound system in the base model. It lacks the fidelity of the HK, Bang, and others. The lane assist? I find it all but worthless. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, really, I wish they'd just left the stupid thing out if they were going to make it such a fickle creature. It's more annoying than the MS Word paperclip, and about as helpful. The HUD, on the other hand, is amazing! I had one on my C6 Z06, and never was really excited by it, but the NAV instructions broadcast via the NAV are an excellent way of keeping your head on a swivel in traffic without missing that unfamiliar turn!

Sport mode...we've talked about this one a lot on this forum. I do not know how the earlier years and trims were programmed, but sport mode in my 2019 seems to have been refined, based on posts I am reading. It does NOT raise the shift points, but what it does do is keep you in lower gears and downshift more aggressively when the brakes are applied. Unlike earlier years, it will shift into overdrive if you spend much more than a few seconds cruising at 60mph or higher. I find it to be neat, but maybe 0.001% of my time has been spent utilizing it. I found that for gunning it from a roll, your best bet is to manually be in the correct gear and then push the shifter over and let the ECU do the rest of the work for you, because even in sport mode, you s till get a downshift or two often enough, and there is still significant lag-time compared to simply selecting the correct gear prior to needing it.

What broke? How's maintenance so far?:

-My only equipment failure has been the driver's side mirror. Without warranty coverage, replacing it would have cost $730. The folding/extending was sluggish or incomplete in range of motion, at times.
-Maintenance is very affordable. I buy Mobil 1 5-30 EP at Wal-Mart for $25/5 quarts, and then utilize the Dealership for labor, filter, and the rest of it. A tire rotation and detail included pushes the cost at the dealer to $60 (plus the $25 spent at wal-mart), for @$85 synthetic oil changes and tire rotation. I do this every 5K miles. Very tolerable typical operating cost!

What modifications did I do?
-Canadian OEM Mazda front/rear floor mats, rubber rear cargo mat. The OEM USA mats don't even compare.
-Ceramic tint the front windows to match the rear, as well as go clear ceramic on the windshield. It blocks heat amazingly well on 100*F days in South Texas when I visited!
-CrossContact LX25 tires. They have been a wonderful upgrade in every way from the Toyo A36's.
-Bosch Envision wipers. They are a noticeable upgrade, but not earth shattering when the OEM's are new, they do pretty darn good!
-PPF. I had the whole hood, and part of the fenders, roof, the A-pillars and the piano black trim done, as well as t he whole bumper, and the headlights. The paint is going to last very well, and my PPF looks brand new still, minus 2 small pin-prick looking hits from rocks (that would have left a gnarly chip!) and 1 small install imperfection.


Closing thoughts:

Mazda's CX5 GT-R and Signature models are a shot at the up-town market while still maintaining aggressive pricing. I feel like they've done a REMARKABLE! job, but I would be very happy to see the Signature model include some upgraded features along with a slightly inflated price tag, to set it aside from the GT-R with something different than just "softer leather/360 camera (in the US)". I feel like more power, 245's on all 4 corners, or at least 235's, and better executed features as well as active torque vectoring and larger brakes, along with a few other high-line features such as remote start and active damping/suspension at $40-45K like the SQ5's predictive-suspension/camera setup, would definitely sell!

As it is, I bought the GT-R because it had 98% of what the Signature model did, and for the difference I chose the 10/150K bumper to bumper warranty. Overall, however, I feel like these two vehicles are great competition for the GLC300, Q5, RDX, and other vehicles costing $10-20K more, as long as you understand that there are trade-offs. For example, the CX5 feels more "solid" than the GLC300 and is quicker, but the NAV likely doesn't have the quirks, and the leather likely isn't as high-end. In short, I think Mazda has given us an excellent bargain, but they can always refine it! It's been a rather enjoyable 20K miles, and I look forward to many more. This vehicle is more than an appliance. It's actually FUN, and very well made/thought out, by and large.

69763356_10100196894585071_2767389437611474944_o.jpg


71593857_10100201459447051_7580884557549797376_o.jpg


67401706_10100186894989341_6254323722803478528_o.jpg
 
Last edited:
:
CX5 GT-R
@Unobtanium
Whats your real world mpg with your 2015 and comparing it with your GTR?

I did not compare it for that long, as I re-set it with each tank, but as I recall, it averaged about 24.5mpg on the same commute that my CX5 GT-R averages about 27mpg on, driven normally. Driven spiritedly, it averaged 23.5mpg, while the CX5 Turbo averages around 25mpg if i REALLY hammer it for that drive for a full tank of gas. If I go GENTLE with it, I average 30-31mpg for the commute for a tank, vs around 27-28mpg for the 2015.

It really does just get better mpg all the way around for me.
 
:
CX-5 2017 GT AWD
Many thanks for the reply. This info is what I needed to finalize my decision jump on the GTR. I drive my 2017GT on manual mode all the time, have you tried driving it in manual? Any feedback comparing the GTR with the 2015 on manual mode?
 
:
CX5 GT-R
Many thanks for the reply. This info is what I needed to finalize my decision jump on the GTR. I drive my 2017GT on manual mode all the time, have you tried driving it in manual? Any feedback comparing the GTR with the 2015 on manual mode?

I don't. The computer knows best. Also, with the 2.5T, there just isn't any sense in it. It pulls hard at any rpm, so you're not really worried about "being in the sweet spot". The whole thing is "the sweet spot".
 
:
2019 Mazda CX-5 GTR
I've had my GTR since February and am close to 16,000mi. I mirror most of your observations and absolutely love the vehicle. I also use the radar cruise control every day for my 40mi commute, but it doesn't come close to the system in my wife's 2017 Pacifica. The RCC in her van is light years ahead in smooth operation and dealing with sudden slowdowns.

Infotainment system works fine for me once it finally boots up. I primarily use CarPlay (Waze), so the Mazda nav system is mostly irrelevant for me. I'm perfectly happy with the sound from the Bose system. It has only locked up on me once since I've had the car.

Love the engine, the HUD, the handling and the quietness of the cabin. The rear seat could have a bit more legroom. Steering wheel could use a bit more vertical adjustment (lower).

BSM system lingers on, way too long after you pass another car.

I've had zero issues to date, only regular oil changes. While I have not actually measured the tread of the tires, they visually look extremely good after 16k miles. My commute is 90% highway through.
 
:
Soon to be 2.5T CX-5
I too will/would purchase the GTR over the Sig for said reasons.

Unless, they come out with a "Special" 300+ hp version, then I will splurge the extra cash for that without hesitation. I, too, think that it would sell really well and would be welcomed with open arms.
 
:
CX5 GT-R
I've had my GTR since February and am close to 16,000mi. I mirror most of your observations and absolutely love the vehicle. I also use the radar cruise control every day for my 40mi commute, but it doesn't come close to the system in my wife's 2017 Pacifica. The RCC in her van is light years ahead in smooth operation and dealing with sudden slowdowns.

Infotainment system works fine for me once it finally boots up. I primarily use CarPlay (Waze), so the Mazda nav system is mostly irrelevant for me. I'm perfectly happy with the sound from the Bose system. It has only locked up on me once since I've had the car.

Love the engine, the HUD, the handling and the quietness of the cabin. The rear seat could have a bit more legroom. Steering wheel could use a bit more vertical adjustment (lower).

BSM system lingers on, way too long after you pass another car.

I've had zero issues to date, only regular oil changes. While I have not actually measured the tread of the tires, they visually look extremely good after 16k miles. My commute is 90% highway through.

Nice to see someone else who does more with their vehicle than look at it! Happy motoring!
 
:
2019 CX5 Reserve AWD
Great detailed review. Are you vying for a job with Mazda? LOL

I agree with you on the A/C. My 16 seems to cool better and faster than our 19.
Also, our 19 is getting the same mileage as my 16 and the 19 only has 1000 miles on it. It can only get better.
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
:
Canada
:
'18 CX-9 Signature
Great read Uno, thanks.

You've put more mileage on your car in seven months than I have in 21, lol. It's a shame Mazda USA doesn't offer the unlimited mileage warranty that Mazda Canada does.
 
:
CX5 GT-R
Personally think they could pick up a handful of customers just by increasing it to 100k.

I agree 100%, but GM disagreed, as they used to have a 100K mile powertrain warranty, and then discontinued it as they determined it was not a driving factor in sales, allegedly.

I know I would LOVE! a 5-6 year unlimited mileage warranty. I had to spend $2400 extra to make sure I was covered for the length of the loan.