Confronted with sizable out-of-pocket expenses for scheduled maintenance on my '06 PT Cruiser, I started shopping online. I regularly haul a pair of grandchildren, both small enough to need car seats,...
Confronted with sizable out-of-pocket expenses for scheduled maintenance on my '06 PT Cruiser, I started shopping online. I regularly haul a pair of grandchildren, both small enough to need car seats, so I needed a bit of interior room and flexibility. The PT Cruiser's mediocre gas mileage had me also looking for improvement in that area. Somewhat to my surprise, and after dozens of comparisons, online and in person, the CX-5 was my choice. It's the first really new "new" car I've had in 19 years.
Positives: I've driven small cars, and preferred them, all my life. The CX-5 is the largest vehicle I've ever owned, but it drives as if it were smaller. Handling is nimble, and the 6-speed gearbox might be the best manual transmission I've ever used, and I've used a lot of them over 69+ years. Throws are short, gear ratios are very well spaced, engagement is crisp, and frankly, it's a pleasure to row through the gears in traffic. 6th is truly an overdrive for highway use, and I don't generally use it under 50 mph.
The interior isn't revolutionary in design, but it's attractive and restrained, which is fine with me. Seating is comfortable, though a bit flat for my tastes. More expensive trim levels have more seat adjustments than the base model I purchased, and that might help. There's plenty of headroom (I'm 6' 1"), and in a pinch, I can carry grandkids in their car seats, one parent in front, and the other squeezed between the car seats in back. That's not a comfortable arrangement for the adult in the back, however. I very much like the USB port inside the console, which allows me to use my iPod for music, but keeps it out of sight in the console.
The CX-5 base model with the 6-speed won't win many drag races, but I'm getting a little old for that, and I'd rate the power as "adequate." Not at all exciting, but sufficient, and so far, I'm getting 27 to 28 MPG in purely city driving, so I've no complaints in that regard. I'm looking forward to a road trip in the summer to test the car's highway manners and mileage over a longer period.
It warms up quickly (important here in Minnesota), and since I did not opt for all-wheel drive, winter traction with front wheel drive is "adequate," but no more. The base model comes with virtually every feature I'd probably order in years gone by, including A/C, 4-wheel disc brakes, alloy wheels, etc. One of my few complaints is that base models are available only in Silver, Dark Gray and Black, and the lack of color was almost a deal-killer for me. Another complaint is that the more powerful engine, with only a 1 mpg mileage penalty, is not available for the base model. Mazda complicates it even further by only offering the 6-speed manual in the base model. So, moving up a trim level to get a color or a larger engine means having to give up the 6-speed. I wasn't willing to do that.
So far, I'm very well satisfied with the car. It's substantially larger than the cars I've owned and driven previously, and standing outside it, the increase in size is evident, but behind the wheel, it's nimble and quick to react, and feels and drives much smaller (and genuinely "sportier") than it really is.
Most SUVs, regardless of size, look pretty much like boxes on wheels. That's not nearly so much the case with the CX-5, and I very much like its looks. Despite being larger, it has a lower coefficient of drag than the PT Cruiser it replaces. For now, at least, I'm a fan.