Oct
05

2013 Mazda CX-5

Note: Read our full review of the 2013 Mazda CX-5.

It was like a scene out of a cheesy TV show, but it actually happened to me last Saturday afternoon. I didn’t accelerate fast enough from a stoplight, and the Neanderthal in the Jeep behind me got ticked off. He wheeled into the left lane and—before zooming by me—shouted, “Hey, buddy [he actually called me buddy], put your foot on the gas!”

I had put my foot on the gas. The problem was, I was driving a Mazda CX-5!

Don’t get me wrong. I love the CX-5, the new-for-2013 compact SUV. I admire its athletic profile, attractive interior, and sporty handling (for a ute), and I think its road manners and comfort level are first-rate.

Infused with SKYACTIV technology, the CX-5 refuses to waste fuel. No matter how hard you try, you can’t get a burst of power when you accelerate from a stoplight. Instead, you get slow-but-steady acceleration.

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One Consumer Guide editor described the CX-5 as “pretty pokey. It takes a rather disconcerting moment to get going when you stab the throttle from a stop.” Another CG editor explained what happens next: “The CX-5 feels sluggish down low and needs to build up some revs before displaying any real strength. However, it cruises nicely and has adequate highway passing go.”

The happy result of this pursed-lip fuel sipping is incredible gas mileage. I walked around the office and polled my fellow Consumer Guide editors, each of whom had test driven hundreds if not thousands of cars. “Have you ever driven an SUV with better gas mileage?” I asked. The answer was a resounding no. We checked our database for potential contenders and found that no non-hybrid SUV had ever come close to the CX-5’s fuel-economy numbers.

After 8,735 miles of driving our 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring, we are averaging 30.0 miles per gallon.

That’s right, 30 mpg in an SUV.

The caveat is that most of our driving has been on the highway—about two-thirds, in fact. However, we’re based near Chicago, where city driving is usually stop-and-go and expressways are often congested. For us, 30 mpg for a sport ute is stunning. In our last long-term, fuel-conscious SUV, the compact 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport—whose power delivery was considerably worse than the CX-5’s—we averaged just 22.9 mpg. In fact, our long-term 2012 Hyundai Accent is getting just 29.2 mpg, and that’s a subcompact car.

Some of our editors have put up eye-popping mpg numbers with the CX-5. Witness their mileage logs, which include their comments:

  • Ed Piotrowski: A phenomenal 32.18 mpg in 147 miles, 60% highway.
  • Don Sikora: 33.59 mpg over 825 miles of 85% highway.
  • Damon Bell: 31.58 in 102.0 miles of 70% city. Very nice.
  • Don Sikora: 34.86 mpg over 585.1 miles of 90% highway. EPA hwy is 32 mpg.
  • Becky Artz: With 80% highway and 20% city conditions, I got 31.7 mpg. Very impressed!
  • John Biel: This tester averaged 35.1 mpg over 116.9 miles, with 61 percent of miles under city driving conditions.
  • Don Sikora: 34.58 mpg over 308.7 miles of 95% highway on regular.

The next time I see my Neanderthal “buddy,” he’ll likely be fueling his Jeep at the gas station—and I’ll be zooming by him in my “pokey” CX-5.

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