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CX-5 GT "First Drive" Owner's Review

2013 CX-5 GT FWD w/Tech Package
Yesterday I picked up our new CX-5 in Orlando, FL and drove it back to our home in Alabama. Here are the specs: Grand Touring with Tech Package, FWD, Zeal Red Mica exterior with Sand/Black interior. Although this will primarily be my wife's vehicle, I conducted all of the research and completed the actual purchase. We had considered and test drove the 2012 Honda CR-V but my wife wasn't impressed (uncomfortable driver's seat and too little power/torque at the low end). I'm glad that she didn't like it or I wouldn't have discovered the just-arriving CX-5. We test drove a Touring model locally but leather seats and a non-black (or at least partly non-black) interior were must-haves and the only one I could locate was at a dealership in Orlando.

After the 500+ mile drive home yesterday, I'm impressed. The vehicle handled beautifully and was comfortable and fuel-efficient. Even though local traffic in central Florida was incredibly slow/start-stop (which assisted with the "break-in" period but otherwise was frustrating), after 600 miles of combined city and highway driving the car has averaged 30.0 mpg! I suspect it will only get better and am anxious to see how it does on a full-highway drive (we'll be taking a trip next month so I guess that will be my opportunity). The CX-5 is no rocket off the line but at least you don't have to slam the gas pedal to the floor to kick it into a lower gear and, of course, you have the option of the manu-shift if needed (which the CR-V sorely lacks).

Despite years of back problems, I had no issue finding a comfortable driving position and got "numb bum" only because I couldn't use the cruise control, as I was trying to constantly change speeds/rpms during the break-in. The infotainment system is very intuitive and user-friendly; I really like the simple layout compared to some of the jet fighter cockpit displays I've seen in vehicles these days. For probably the first time, I'm actually a bit jealous of my wife's car (and I drive a Hyundai Genesis, which I love).

I'll be glad to try to answer any questions Forum members might have at this point (and perhaps will post some photos if the sun comes out this weekend). Zoom zoom! :)



Mazda Fan
'10 Mazda5 GT, 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R
Good to hear! Don't be afraid to post updates for those of us who are mulling over a similar purchase. (breakn)
2013 CX-5 Touring FWD; 2013 BMW Z4 35i
You've touched on a couple of items that no one on this or other forums seems to elaborate on, having to do with the Skyactive automatic. The design of this box is a fairly radical departure from the norm (torque converter only operates at crawl speeds and then double clutch mechanicals take over). The net result of this appears to be a somewhat sluggish pull off the line, but acceptable, if not superior, higher speed shift actuation. Can you share your impressions on this aspect of your car?
2013 CX-5 GT FWD w/Tech Package
I would agree with your characterization. It can be a bit sluggish from a dead stop if you are trying to gain speed quickly, for example, heading up hill on a merge ramp to the interstate. You can overcome this by manually downshifting
if necessary. However, if you are already at cruising speed, it is very responsive to a demand for a surge of speed, such as when attempting to pass a scary 18-wheeler. Under normal driving conditions, the gears shift very smoothly, with no signs of hesitation that I sometimes experience with the CVT in my Hyundai Genesis.
2012 Mazda CX-5 GT Diesel with Tech Pack
However, if you are already at cruising speed, it is very responsive to a demand for a surge of speed.
This is good to know. I did test drive and thought that the transmission was very smooth from take off, but also very quick to change up. My test drive was at less than motorway speeds, so I imagined that overtaking on the highway would be plagued by a lazy take up.
When travelling on the highways, I've often had to tackled too many long trucks where a quick overtake and re-merge is necessary (often into the oncoming lane). To have overtaking power, is something I wanted to be sure of.


16 CX-5, Old: 06 Mazdaspeed6, 08 CX-7, 01 Protege ES/Mp3wannabe
Nice write-up, let us know how the MPGs look on your road trip :)
2013 CX-5 GT FWD w/Tech Package
1000 Mile Update and Pet Barrier

My wife has now had the vehicle for just over a week and loves it. She has no complaints about the acceleration, whether from a stop or while cruising. Her contacts have been downloaded to the car via Bluetooth and she's already taken advantage of the hands-free calling (not new technology but a first in one of her vehicles). At 1000 miles we've averaged 29.8 mpg in mixed driving; no complaints about that!

We were hoping that our two large dogs would fit comfortably in the cargo area with the second row seats upright, but it was a bit too cramped so the seats are down and a barrier is installed to prevent front seat access to the critters. At least with this configuration, there's plenty of room for both the dogs and other items (unlike the Honda Fit the CX-5 replaced). FYI, if you too need a pet barrier, I can recommend the Petego Walky Guard. It clamps onto the headrest posts, is adjustable, is easy to install and uninstall and, unlike most metal barriers, it isn't pressure-mounted to the headliner so no creases or dirt on the "ceiling" and no rattling. Because we installed it on the front seats we combined it with a mesh center barrier to block access between the seats.

All in all, loving the CX-5 so far!