I’ve found the perfect urban wagon for young couples and families. It’s also ideal for empty-nesters, a vehicle that respects the limits of their retirement incomes without boring them to death on the road.
Meet the 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD, the most complete compact crossover-utility vehicle I’ve driven to date. That includes the CX-5’s outstanding Japanese rival, the redesigned Honda CR-V.
The CR-V has a slightly larger four-cylinder engine than the CX-5 — 2.4 liters for the Honda (185 horsepower, 163 foot-pounds of torque), compared with 2 liters for the Mazda (155 horsepower, 150 foot-pounds of torque). But it’s the overall quality of Mazda’s engineering and vehicle design that’s impressive.
A larger engine, for example, does not guarantee better driving. What matters is how engine power is produced and transmitted. In the CX-5, those operations constitute a collective work of genius.
Mazda’s engineers have developed a suite of new vehicle technologies trademarked “Skyactiv.” The term refers to engineering vision — a blue-sky approach to the possibilities of technology in which, in this case, fossil-fuel engines can be made more efficient while simultaneously designed to offer a “fun-to-drive” experience. Manual and automatic transmissions can be made lighter and designed to seamlessly transfer power from engine to drive wheels. A vehicle’s body can be engineered and designed to enhance the fuel savings and driving pleasure provided by engine and transmission.