By Duane Pemberton
The smaller-sized crossover SUV market is on fire right now and Mazda hopes to grab a big slice of that pie with its current CX-5 Sport edition. It’s a very capable vehicle for its size and does an admirable job of capturing the “Mazda Zoom-Zoom” feel to it..
Mazda has done a really good job with the design of this car – all angles of it really appeal to me and I frankly feel it’s one of the best-looking rigs of its kind in its relative price-point. The “smiley face” on the front-end is pretty muted but still kind of there and I think that’ll have a greater appeal.
- Halogen headlights
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
- Air conditioning with pollen filter
- Power windows with driver’s one-touch down/up feature
- Power door locks with keyless remote entry
- 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback
- AM/FM/CD/MP3-compatible stereo with automatic level control and 4 speakers
- Advanced front air bags, front side-impact air bags and side-impact air curtains‡
- Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)** & Traction Control System (TCS)
Inside is a rather spacious cabin when you consider the overall dimensions of this vehicle. I found the front seats had very good room and even the rear ones were pretty solid. Cargo volume in the rear is more than enough for several cases of wine and there’s even more when you fold-down the rear seats.
Mazda powers this Sport Edition with its 155-horsepower “Skyactiv-g” 2.0L 4-cylinder engine which is mated to a 6-speed automatic or manual – your choice. With the 6-speed manual my test vehicle was equipped with, I found the power to be decent but not great – another 25-horsepower or so would be marvelous. I did appreciate the “feel” of the manual transmission – the throws between gears wasn’t too bad and it really did help create a more sport-like feel to this CX-5 “sport”.
All-wheel-drive is available but with it, only comes the 6-speed automatic transmission, if you want the manual, you’ll be confined to the Front-wheel-drive platform.
What really sets the CX-5 sport apart from many of its competitors is its best-of-class handing. Cornering is very fun as its steering-wheel feel and relatively-low body roll feel a bit “germanesque” and that’s a good-thing. It begs you to take it out on the open roads and really open it up – you’ll be glad you did.
This one was equipped with a pretty standardized audio system with no navigation but did support playback via CD-Audio, mp3/wma-encoded CDs, satellite radio and AM/FM with bluetooth telephony as well. Note that bluetooh is an optional package for the “Sport” model so that’s something to consider if you’re out shopping for one of these. Overall sound quality was okay but not great – it uses a four-speaker setup and doesn’t have a high-power amplifier – to get the upgraded audio you’d have to step up to the “touring” edition of the CX-5.
Analog dial-switches are used to control the interior heating and cooling – no automatic climate control here folks – pretty standard fare for a small crossover in this pricerange, however.
In the end, Mazda has done a really good job of delivering a fun-to-drive crossover with the CX-5 Sport – starting around $21k . While it does lack some of the conveniences I’ve found in some of its competitors in terms of electronics, it more than makes up for in “funability”.
If you’re at all in the market for a small SUV that does have an AWD option and one that you’ll enjoy driving then book a test-drive at your local Mazda dealer today.