I was provided with a Mazda CX-5 from DriveSTI for a week for a test drive and review. I was not compensated, and all opinions are my own.
It's fall here in Virginia, and it's just gorgeous! With gas prices the lowest they've been in ages, it was time for a road trip. So my family headed down to Charlottesville to soak up some fall foliage and presidential history. We were given a Mazda CX-5 to review, which made the drive even better.
I've been driving a big honking minivan for the past 8 1/2 years, so I was really excited to try something new. This was my first time driving a compact SUV (it has two rows and seats five). I just loved the handling, the sharp turns, and the quick acceleration on hills and on-ramps, so different than my usual drive! I was also impressed by the gas mileage: I did all of my regular weekly driving, plus the road trip (five hours back and forth) before I had to fill the tank.
The CX-5 Grand Touring had a nice-sized screen with built-in GPS to help us find our way, and all five of us loved listening to Sirius satellite radio. We were also able to hook up our phones and iPods through Bluetooth and listen to podcasts that way. It really was ideal for road tripping, but it made regular errands around town more pleasant, too. Everything was easy to learn, which I appreciated.
As I shared on Instagram, the trunk on the CX-5 was HUGE. My son wanted to sit back there! The only down side about it–there was no automatic opener. It's really hard to open a manual trunk with your hands full of groceries. That's something I've gotten used to, I guess.
We all felt the interior was roomy, too. My 6'5″ husband even had extra head room in the passenger seat, and all three kids rode happily (sitting next to each other) in the back seat. They're 8, 8 and 11, and they had room in between them so they didn't feel crowded. They commented several times that they thought this would make a great “4-person family car,” meaning that for the long term, it might not work for five. I have to agree. I can't see three big teens sitting that close regularly, especially on a long road trip.
As a mom, I'm always looking for safety features. This car had plenty! I found the blind-spot monitoring helpful–there's a sensor on the side mirrors that beeps if you're signalling to change lanes. There's also brake support to help in the event of a crash (the car senses rapid deceleration), and the all-wheel drive helps with slick roads and ice. New to me was the rearview camera; the kids kept laughing at me when I would turn around in my seat to back up. “Use the camera, Mom!” Since I had to drive to swim practice before dawn, I also noticed how wide and bright the front lighting system was. It was really helpful on dark curvy roads.
US News has ranked the Mazda CX-5 at #5 for affordable compact SUVs, with a price point lower than those above it. The CX-5 Sport starts at $21,545, while the full-package Grand Touring (the one I drove) starts at $27,970. To learn more about the Mazda CX-5, with specs and pricing, head to a local dealership or the Mazda USA website. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter. Happy driving!