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Review: 2013 Mazda CX-5

Cars, Reviews  /   /  By Derek Mau


  • Responsive handling
  • 6-speed manual transmission enhances the driving experience
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Stylish exterior design


  • Lack of horsepower with no option to upgrade
  • Weak set of tech features compared to competition
  • Below average sound and navigation systems

The CX-5 is the first model built under Mazda’s “Skyactiv” product-development strategy that joins a newly designed four-cylinder gasoline engine with six-speed (manual and automatic) transmissions and an all-new lightweight chassis.

Handling performance is the main reason to choose the 2013 Mazda CX-5. The CX-5’s handling is as good as it gets in this class. Praise the Mazda engineers for the CX-5’s neutral handling and great corner-hugging ability. We like the CX-5’s six-speed manual transmission smooth shifting action and it makes the CX-5 really engaging to drive.

2013 Mazda CX-5 interior

Our biggest complaint is the lack of power from the Mazda CX-5’s 155-horsepower four-cylinder engine because a boost would come in handy when traveling uphill, or merging onto a busy freeway, or wanting to pass slower traffic, or even just off the line when battling a Prius for pole position.

The front and rear seats are comfortable, but like many small SUVs, the rear seats may be tight for three adults, especially on long trips. With a standard USB port and optional Bluetooth and navigation, reviewers consider the 2013 Mazda CX-5’s list of tech features dull compared with models that have standard Bluetooth and optional rearview cameras and infotainment systems

As a complete package, we like the 2013 Mazda CX-5 a lot. Good cargo space, excellent fuel economy and a quality interior are wrapped in a sporty, attractive exterior. Best of all, the Mazda CX-5 is just as fun to drive as it looks.

2013 Mazda CX-5 has maximum cargo space of 68.1 cubic feet with rear seats folded

For more performance, consider the VW Tiguan. It has 200 hp, but costs thousands more.

For more cargo and passenger space, consider the Chevrolet Equinox. The Equinox is much larger than the CX-5 and has lots of passenger space thanks to its rear seat that slides forward and back . The flip-side is the Equinox doesn’t have the agility of the CX-5 and its fuel economy numbers aren’t as good.

The Mazda CX-5 may not be a clear leader in the small crossover segment, but its economy numbers, engaging dynamics and checkbook-friendly base price make a compelling case for young families who need something more utilitarian than a sedan or a hatchback.

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