Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD: Good choice for young families
31 Oct 2015 - 16:08
By Warren Brown
Ordinary works. I can get accustomed to it, even favour it.
For one thing, you don’t have to worry about where you park ordinary, unless you do something egregiously silly such as choose a spot in a dark alley in an unfamiliar city.
Law enforcement people leave you alone in ordinary, particularly if you are sitting behind the steering wheel with noticeably gray hair. You’d have to do something pretty outrageous to get their attention. Otherwise, you can almost hear them thinking: “Leave the old guy alone.”
The only bad thing about being gray-haired and driving something as ordinary as this week’s subject vehicle, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD crossover utility vehicle, is young men. What’s with them? The posted speed limit, clearly visible in stark black and white, is 30 miles per hour.
I am going 30 mph, maybe 32 mph, but clearly not fast enough for the fellow in the loud Dodge Challenger behind me. He moves close to my rear bumper, then swerves to my right before rudely cutting in front of me.
He’s a young man in a hurry — to go where? I don’t know. That 30 mph limit pretty much controls the length of George Mason Boulevard in Arlington. If Mr. Challenger keeps moving as fast as he’s moving, he’s likely to run into one of his former classmates now wearing an Arlington County Police uniform.
I like the ease and comfort of ordinary represented by the CX-5 Grand Touring AWD. It sits relatively high, with a ground clearance of 8.5 inches. You can see everything front and rear. You feel in command of your driving situation. And this one comes with a bevy of advanced driver-assistance options - rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitor, emergency brake assist-city. Put it this way, if another motorist is intent on speeding past you on your blind side, you see the bad actor in plenty of time to avoid trouble.
But my favourite technology on the CX-5 Grand Touring is the rear cross-traffic alert system, especially at around 7:30 on a weekday morning when parents are rushing to work, others are herding their young ones to local school bus stops and high school students are speeding to class.
The rear cross-traffic alert system helps eliminate the danger of a back-up collision or, worse, hitting a young child walking behind the CX-5. That technology seems to me to be valuable enough to be required by federal traffic safety officials.
It costs money, of course, about an extra $1,505 when coupled with other advanced driver assistance systems. But it is well worth it, I think - certainly in comparison to the insurmountable grief of striking a child walking to school.
The new CX-5 Grand Touring AWD comes with a stronger engine - an optional 2.5-liter gasoline inline four-cylinder model (184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque). You won’t beat anyone off the mark with this one. No matter. It is a dedicated family hauler. Besides, the 2.5-litre engine has more oomph and only marginally worse fuel economy than the base 2-litre gasoline four-cylinder (155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque).
The bigger engine delivers 24 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The 2-litre engine gets you 26 in the city and 35 on the highway. Both run on regular grade petrol, which was priced at $1.99 a gallon in several neighbourhoods in Northern Virginia last week when I checked.
I like this one. Interior fit and finish are excellent. Interior materials seem substantially improved over those used in the 2014 and 2015 models. But if you are an audiophile, you won’t be crazy about this one. The sound system delivers dreadfully ordinary reproduction. Oh, well.
Nuts & Bolts
Bottom line: The Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring is a good choice for young families seeking maximum utility, excellent safety and reasonably good fuel economy.
Ride, acceleration and handling: It gets good marks in all three, meaning it will please most people looking for solid family transportation.
Head-turning quotient: This one fits well in any supermarket or school parking lot.
Body style/layout: The CX-5 is a front-engine, compact crossover-utility vehicle available with front-wheel or all-wheel-drive. There are four side doors and a rear hatch. There are three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring.
Engine/transmission: The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD comes with a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder, 16-valve gasoline engine (184 horsepower, 185 pound-feet of torque) linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. A 2-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine is available.
Capacities: Seating is for five people. Maximum cargo capacity is 64.8 cubic feet and 34.1 cubic feet with all passenger seats in place. Fuel capacity is 14.8 gallons. Regular grade gasoline works fine.
Mileage: I averaged 28 miles per gallon in highway driving.
Safety: Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes, ventilated front and solid rear; four-wheel antilock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; traction and stability control; rear parking assistance; side and head air bags.
Recommended options: Rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning system.
Pricing in US: The 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD starts at $29,470. Price as tested is $34,140, including $3,790 in options.
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