Over the course of a year, there has been no other vehicle parked in our garage that I've complimented as much as my CX-5, nicknamed Blue. The variety of positive remarks was never extraordinary, but the number of times I repeated them was. Every time someone asked, "So, how do you like the CX-5?" I replied, "I like it a lot," and began listing its many attributes.
I'd begin with design. The CX-5 with its Kodo style looks fresh and original. Compared to the busy mixes of lines and shapes on the Ford Escape or Toyota RAV4, the CX-5 is astutely simple, athletic, and attractive. For more flair, I added Mazda's optional roof rails ($250), crossbars ($125), Yakima snowboard carriers ($137), trailer hitch ($318) and wiring harness ($11), Yakima bike carrier ($205), all-weather mats ($95), and cargo cover ($200). The racks gave the CX-5 a rugged look, though they did boost wind noise inside.
I'd then describe how the compact physique belied a roomy cabin steeped in simplicity and capacious enough to shuttle five passengers comfortably. Sub-6-foot-5 back-seat riders enjoyed generous elbow- and kneeroom, a contrast to what my previous 2011 Nissan Juke SL long-termer offered. The dash layout, climate control switchgear, and TomTom navigation/multimedia screen required no drastic learning curve and looked great.
Blue covered all the right bases. And for that, it'll be a top CUV recommendation of mine for years to come. Mazda: Bring on the ...
As a Grand Touring model, Blue came packed with amenities. It had automatic door locks, leather, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio connectivity, tilt/telescoping wheel, HD radio, heated front seats, 5.8-inch display with rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, moonroof, blind-spot monitoring system. Making Blue all the sweeter was its Grand Touring Tech Package ($1325) with bi-xenon adaptive headlamps, navigation, and security
| Our Car |
| Service Life || 14 mo/28,831 mi |
| Base Price || $27,840 |
| Price as Tested || $29,265 |
| Options || Grand Touring Tech Package ($1325: navigation, HID headlights, keyless entry, auto-dimming rearview mirror); rear bumper guard ($100) |
| Average fuel economy || 26.4 mpg |
| EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ || 26/32/22 mpg |
| CO2 emissions || 0.73 lb/mi |
| Problem Areas || None |
| Maintenance Cost || $456.21 (4-oil change, inspections; 3-tire rotations; 1-cabin-air filter) |
| Normal-Wear Cost || $861 (tires) |
| 3-Year Residual Value* || $14,187 |
| Recalls || None |
| * Automotive Lease Guide |