Everything about the Mazda CX-5 is stinkin’ great… except for the engine, which is a stinkin’ snooze (slams fist on desk).
One Week Later…
Every time I drive a new Mazda (minus the turbocharged CX-9)… it seems like the same ol’ story. The cars are pretty top-notch. Specifically – the design, the handling, the interiors, the textures, and the color palettes are all unique AND seemingly above their class. The new Mazdas are precise – meaning they handle & react well. Even the CX-5 doesn’t really feel like a crossover when you’re behind the wheel. It feels pretty maneuverable & light on its feet.
It’s just not powerful. The Mazda engines are lack-luster. They feel/sound like they’re working too hard for too little results. And if I gossip-heard right, the CEO at Mazda is pretty adamant on keeping them that way. It’s kind of a buzz-kill… because I really WANT to be a Mazda fan, and connect with the brand that’s so connected to motorsports.
BUT you know what?
As I racked up road-trip miles on the Mazda CX-5, I began to realize, maybe I’m being too darn hard on the thing… just because I’m another whiny enthusiast/journalist hung up on some fantasy engine.
I mean look – as it sits, gas mileage in the CX-5 is great… seemingly a couple MPGs better than competitors. The thing is super easy & economical to drive. And that’s the point of a crossover in this size & price bracket, right? You USE it. Day in & day out… and you expect it to deliver a lot of bang for the buck, with no inconveniences or irritations. Hopefully even a little comfort & serenity to get you through the traffic & chaos.
Adding a turbo & making more power sounds like the thing to do from a car guy’s keyboard. But really, what’s the point here… in the Mazda CX-5?? To gain 50 more horsepower that you’re NOT gonna use, kill a few MPGs, add more failure points in the engine, raise the price of the vehicle… and have to use premium gas??
I yell for a turbo option, because that’s what enthusiasts do. We yell, gripe, & complain for high performance engines in vehicles we wouldn’t buy… even if they had the engines we’re yelling for. And if Mazda listened to a guy like me… it would potentially squeeze the CX-5 out of its sweet spot. Mazda got the CX-5 right. And it’s exactly what it needs to be.
MSRP: from $24,000
MPG: 27 avg
Engine: 2.5L, 187hp
PS: If you take the new CX-5 on a test drive, don’t let the center-console radio controls initially deter you. You’ll get used to them quickly, and it becomes natural & convenient.