While this is only the second Mazda vehicle I’ve ever driven, I’m quickly becoming a fan of the brand, at least of their SUV crossover vehicles. I miss my SUV, having traded it in for a more gas efficient sedan, but SUVs and crossovers have really stepped down their gas guzzling ways, so maybe it’s time to take another look at our favorite family friendly vehicles.
Recently, we had the chance to drive the 2016 Mazda CX-5 and I have to say, the brand and the vehicle have become a household favorite, especially with the kids. Here’s a breakdown of what we love, what we’ve warmed up to, and what we’d change.
What we love about the Mazda CX-5
Driving the Mazda crossovers like the CX-5 and the Mazda CX-9 feel like driving a car. When you’re behind the wheel, there’s not an overwhelming feeling of bulk and you don’t feel like you’re hauling the whole world. When you look back, you realize all the room your family is enjoying or the amount of cargo you’re able to haul, but it doesn’t feel that way when you’re cruising.
The look and style of the CX-5 is gorgeous; not too boxy or curvy and creates stylish lines whether you’re driving to soccer games or a corporate meeting. The style is sure to appeal to everyone and is far from the ‘mom van’ look that we see in many SUVs and some crossovers.
The seating is crazy comfortable, especially compared to my 2010 Toyota Camry, and even more so in the backseat. Standards in the CX-5 include Bluetooth, push-button start, a four-speaker stereo with voice commands, an auxiliary input jack and a USB port. Drivers can opt for additional features including dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, a Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch touch-screen display, satellite radio, navigation, a power moonroof, a rearview camera, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and low-speed automatic braking.
What we’re starting to love about the Mazda CX-5
We’re used to touch screen everything, so the Mazda CX-5 infotainment controls on the center console only surprised me… but after a while, I found it made controlling the system much easier and driver friendly.
It’s actually safer because the controls become simple so quickly that you control most of what you need – radio channels, CD, navigation – without your eyes having to leave the road. You’re not reaching forward; you don’t need to leave your position at all. And, best of all, no pesky fingerprints all over your nav screen.
There’s 64.8 cubic feet of room so it seems that the cargo space in the CX-5 is greater than most. This includes easy-to-fold rear seats that make a flat load floor, a middle pass-through for long items (which, sadly, my Toyota Camry does not have and we’ve never understood why) and plenty of small compartments for storage of garage door openers, spare change, sunglasses and more.
Truth time: What we’re not crazy about on the Mazda CX-5
Acceleration is reserved and far different from that of the Ford Escape that we drove that features a turbocharged engine. If this is a priority for you, I would definitely test drive it and try it yourself. However, keep in mind that the starting price of the CX-5 is lower than that of it’s Ford branded competition. The Mazda CX-5 also has better fuel mileage than the Escape in both city and highway, beating it by at least 4 miles per gallon on both counts.
The steering is comfortable, but incredibly responsive, of which I’m not a fan. We have a new driver in the house and I feel like any over correction on his part could put us in a ditch, though many other reviewers liked this feature, so I suppose it’s all a matter of opinion.
For more information and starting price and trim levels for the Mazda CX-5, check out their website.