For years, Mazda has had a gaping hole in its product line, and has been completely absent from the white-hot compact crossover market. All that changes when the all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5 hits the showroom floor this month. Wisely, Mazda is marketing the CX-5 as a small CUV built for the motoring enthusiast. All CX-5’s are powered by a 2.0L SkyActiv four-cylinder rated at 155hp, with best in class 35MPG highway mileage for a non-hybrid crossover. A six-speed manual is available on the base, front-wheel drive Sport only, a six-speed automatic is the only available tranny on all other trim levels. With a towing package, a CX-5 can haul up to 2,000 lbs. Here’s a breakdown of models and pricing:
CX-5 Sport: $20,695 FWD, $23,345 AWD
The base CX-5 includes 17″ alloys, push button start, full power accessories and a four speaker CD stereo with USB port.
CX-5 Touring: $23,895 FWD, $25,145 AWD
The mid-level CX-5 adds Bluetooth connectivity, a 5.8″ color touch screen and HD Radio (an option on the Sport), foglights, power driver’s seat, Blind Spot Monitoring System and an upgraded six-speaker audio system.
CX-5 Grand Touring: $27,045 FWD, $28,295 AWD
The top-spec CX-5 adds 19″ alloys, moonroof, leather seating, heated front seats, two-zone auto climate control, Bose Surround Sound and Sirius satellite radio.
A Technology package that adds Tom-Tom powered navigation, auto-levelling xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers and anti-theft alarm are available on Touring and Grand Touring models.
While the choices are aplenty for small crossovers, Mazda has been missing in action here for over a decade. The tired small SUV they sell as the Tribute, a badge engineered Ford Escape does not fit in with the brand’s ‘zoom zoom’ tag line. With the CX-5, Mazda has finally put itself in play in a market segment it should have been in years ago, but better late than never. While the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue may rule the market, the CX-5 should stand as an alternative to the ‘driver’s’ small crossover, the VW Tiguan. Yes, it is down on power, but its lower pricing, and superior gas mileage may win some buyers. The Garage will be sure to review a CX-5 as soon as one becomes available, so watch this space.