For a company that makes good full-size SUVs, we have wondered for some time why Mazda hasn’t made a smaller one. Well, now it has.
Only thing is, the CX-5 needs more power to compete with cars like the Honda CR-V. But it costs less and gets better mileage. And comes with a lot of stuff standard, in three trims, starting at $20,695. The top-of-line CX-5 Grand Touring ups the ante to $28,295; the AWD model costs $23,345. Lots of goodies to choose from.
But right now, you get only one engine—a 2-liter with 150 hp (at 6,000 rpm) and 150 lb-ft of torque. The press release:
All 2013 CX-5 models are equipped with the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine. At 13:1, SKYACTIV-G features the world’s highest compression ratio for a mass-produced car. By comparison, a Ferrari 458 Italia supercar has a compression ratio of 12.5:1.
Mazda thought you’d like to know that in case you were thinking of buying an Italia instead.
The CX-5 has just appeared at the Chicago Auto Show, and it’s not bad looking. But in a market with the Tiguan and even the RAV4, the only break the CX-5 really has going for it (besides price) is best-in-class fuel economy:
Front-wheel-drive (FWD) models equipped with the standard SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission are EPA rated with an estimated fuel economy of 26 city/35 highway/29 combined mpg—the highest highway fuel economy rating of any SUV in North America, including hybrids.
The company had a terrible year and now forecasts a net loss of $1.29 billion in FY 2012, its fourth straight year of losses. Mazda is seeking alliance partners (good luck) and is attempting to counter the cost of making cars in Japan by building a factory in Mexico and pushing exports.
Mazda has always made very good cars, sometimes quirky ones, and we hope the CX-5 can provide the shot in the arm it needs.
What would be your choice in buying a small crossover? Would the CX-5 be on your list?