I had to. Our recently delivered long-term CX-5 was too cute, too compact, too new, and too blue not to give it a label. So, recalling my fond memories of the 2003 comedy "Old School," its name had to be Blue, and its Instagram hash tag #MyBoyBlue. (Mazda calls the trademark hue Sky Blue Mica, but that's much too long for my naming purposes).

Associate online editor Erick Ayapana and executive editor Ron Kiino drove the revamped crossover before much of the staff, and after hearing them say good things about it, I was excited when Mazda agreed to hand over the keys to a newly built CX-5. Blue came straight from Hiroshima, Japan, with a litany of standard features and options -- we're spoiled, we know.

Our highest grade Grand Touring front-drive edition sports 19-inch alloys wrapped in 225/55R19 Toyo rubber, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, and a power moonroof. Heated leather sport seats, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, auto door locks and windows, rearview camera, and Bluetooth phone connectivity are on the standard goods list, too.

Mazda recommended that we check off the Grand Touring Tech Package (code: 1GT) on our order sheet, so, of course, we gladly complied. For an extra $1325, navigation, adaptive auto on/off bi-xenon HID headlamps, keyless entry, and auto-dimming rearview mirror were thrown into the mix. We also opted for a rear bumper guard accessory ($100) that protects the bumper from being scratched while we're filling the 34.1-65.4 cubic-feet of cargo space.

Even after a long week in some of AMG's mega-HP rides, #MyBoyBlue still wows me with its great steering and chassis feel.

Since taking delivery of our CX-5, I've put it through some paces and have already noticed a few things. I immediately took a liking to the clean-looking, comfortable interior; the easy-to-use navigation and media system; and its very stylish and modern design. But it was the chassis feel that really had me grinning. While no sports car, the tallish CUV is sporty, and it definitely lives up to the Zoom-Zoom pedigree. There's no mistaking the CX-5 for a MazdaSpeed creation. The 155-hp Skyactiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder needs plenty of throttle and a whole lot of gearshifts from the Skyactiv-Drive six-speed automatic to get the 3312-pound CX-5 moving. From a standstill, 60 mph arrives in 9.4 leisurely seconds; a quarter mile comes in 17.1 seconds at 79.9 mph. Its 11.7/11.9-inch front/rear disc brakes take a relatively respectable 113 feet to halt it from 60.

Raw numbers aside, Blue is a fun ride. And to boot, it's a fuel miser -- 32 mpg on the highway and 26 around town isn't too shabby. During my daily 50-mile commute and frequent runs to San Diego and back, I'll be putting those fuel-economy ratings through plenty of real-world testing. I expect to enjoy many road trips and outdoorsy adventures, too. So over the next 12 months, check out #MyBoyBlue for an inside look at where we go. It should be fun.


2013 Mazda CX-5
Base price $28,140
Price as tested $29,565
Vehicle layout Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 2.0L/155-hp/150-lb-ft dohc 16-valve I-4
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (f/r dist) 3312 lb (58/42%)
Wheelbase 106.3 in
Length x Width x Height 178.7 x 72.4 x 65.7
0-60 mph 9.4 sec
Quarter mile 17.1 sec @ 79.9 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 113 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.84 g (avg)
MT figure eight 28.4 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)
Energy cons, city/hwy 130/105 kW-hrs/100 mi
Total mileage 8228 mi
Average fuel econ 26.6 mpg
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 26/32/29 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.68 lb/mi