Compact SUV; Built in
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $12,600 – $26,300*

2013 Mazda CX-5

2013 Mazda CX-5

2013 Mazda CX-5

2013 Mazda CX-5

  • Fuel economy
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Rear-seat exit
  • Coarse surface road noise

There are several really good compact SUVs on the market. After our first experiences behind the wheel, we thought the 2013 Mazda CX-5 not only belonged on that list, it vaulted to the top of it. CX-5 feels sportier than its main rivals, with little penalty in ride quality or overall practicality. We also like the tastefully finished interior and outstanding fuel economy. Any CX-5 is a worthy choice, but the entry-level Sport model with the 6-speed manual transmission is surprisingly fun to drive and equipped with lots of features at a great price.


Mazda replaced the Tribute and CX-7 SUVs with one new compact crossover, the CX-5. The CX-5 offered two-row seating for 5 passengers. The larger 7-passenger CX-9 remained in the line up.

Mazda targeted the made-in-Japan CX-5 at the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and Kia Sportage. We at Consumer Guide included the Ford Escape in the mix as well.

CX-5 was the first Mazda vehicle designed from the start to incorporate the company’s various SKYACTIV technologies. Mazda said SKYACTIV was focused on optimized internal-combustion engines and lightweight design. It was a holistic approach that looked at all portions of the vehicle and developed the various pieces together to make the most of existing technologies while increasing efficiency and maintaining a fun-to-drive character.

Almost everything about CX-5 was new. New engine. New transmissions. New all-wheel-drive system. New suspension geometry. New styling. And on, and on, and on. Even the bolt heads were redesigned to weigh less while still fitting standard wrenches. Sizewise, CX-5 was similar to the outgoing CX-7.

Mazda offered the CX-5 in three trim levels: base Sport, volume Touring, and top-line Grand Touring. Power windows, power locks, push-button start, and air conditioning were among the features standard on all CX-5s. Touring models added fog lamps, a 5.8-inch center color display, rearview camera, blind-spot alert, Bluetooth wireless cell-phone link, and several interior trim upgrades.

Grand Touring extras included heated leather trimmed seats, 19-inch wheels and tires, power sunroof, automatic headlamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a 9-speaker stereo system.

Available options included a Bluetooth wireless cell-phone link for Sport models, and a sunroof and upgraded stereo package for Tourings. Touring and Grand Touring were each available with a Technology Package. The contents of the Technology Package varied between the two models, but both included a Tom-Tom-based navigation system and bi-xenon headlamps.

Each Mazda CX-5 trim level was available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All used Mazda’s 2.0-liter “SKYACTIV-G” 4-cylinder engine. It was good for 155 horsepower. Front-drive Sport models came standard with a 6-speed manual transmission. A 6-speed automatic transmission was optional for it and standard on all other CX-5 variants.

The EPA rated front-drive CX-5s at 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway with the 6-speed manual transmission and 26 city/32 highway with the automatic. All-wheel-drive versions were rated at 25 city/31 highway.

All CX-5 models came standard with federally mandated and otherwise expected safety features. Touring and Grand Touring models added blind-spot alert and a rearview camera.

Yearly Updates

2013 CX-5
For its sophomore season, CX-5 offered a larger, more-powerful available engine, updated infotainment features, and new available safety features.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Each Mazda CX-5 trim level was available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. In 2013, all used Mazda’s 2.0-liter “SKYACTIV-G” 4-cylinder engine that was good for 155 horsepower. Front-drive Sport models came standard with a 6-speed manual transmission. A 6-speed automatic transmission was optional for it and standard on all other CX-5 variants.

dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 155
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 150
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
dohc I42
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/153
Engine HP 184
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 185
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic

1. 25/31 with AWD. 2. 24/30 with AWD.

Road Test

Acceleration is adequate from a stop, with the manual transmission-equipped Sport feeling a bit quicker than automatic Grand Tourings. Fine shift action and an easy-to-use clutch make the manual Sport a joy to drive. The automatic transmission is very smooth and well behaved. Downshifts are timely, and manual gear selection via the shift lever further improves control.

In Consumer Guide testing, a manual-transmission Sport, which is front-wheel drive, averaged 30.3 mpg. A front-drive 2.0-liter Sport with the automatic averaged 29.3 mpg in mostly highway driving. Our extended-use front-drive 2013 Grand Touring with the 2.0-liter engine averaged 29.7 mpg over nearly 18,000 miles. An all-wheel-drive Grand Touring with the 2.5-liter engine returned 26.6 mpg in mixed driving. These results are excellent for any vehicle, much less an SUV that doesn’t employ any sort of gas/electric drivetrain. Note that front-wheel-drive versions use a 14.8-gallon fuel tank, while all-wheel-drive models have a 15.3-gallon capacity. CX-5 uses regular-grade gasoline.

CX-5 rides comfortably with good bump absorption and body control. We noticed little difference in ride quality between the 17-inch wheels and tires on Sport and the 19-inchers on Grand Touring.

CX-5 feels more like a small car on the road than a small SUV. We mean that in the best possible sense. The Sport model lives up to its name with nicely weighted and accurate steering. Grand Tourings, especially with AWD, feel a bit heavier on their feet, but remain quite nimble and fun-to-drive. Body lean is kept in check, and any CX-5 imparts confidence on its driver. Braking action is smooth and strong.

Engine noise is noticeable at start up and under vigorous acceleration, but it recedes nicely at cruise. Coarse-surface road noise is very audible at times, but not enough to be a deal breaker.

In general, CX-5’s controls are easy to decipher and simple to use. Gauges are large and clearly marked. The available TomTom-based navigation system uses touchscreen controls and has a larger display screen than the unit in the Mazda 3 compact car.

CX-5’s interior is tastefully finished in a mix of soft-touch and hard plastics. Nicely textured surfaces, attractive metal-look detailing, and “Piano-black” accents add some visual interest on models with all-black interiors. Grand Touring’s standard leather upholstery enhances the interior’s visual appeal. The leather looks and feels good, and the contrast stitch detailing comes off well.

Even larger drivers should be comfortable up front. The seats are comfortable, nicely bolstered units, and offer an SUV-like upright driving position. Headroom is good, even under Grand Touring’s standard sunroof. The standard tilt-and-telescopic steering column assists in fine tuning driving position. Entry and exit are easy.

Good, but not outstanding, rear-seat space. Six footers will have enough headroom, even under Grand Touring’s sunroof, but knee room shrinks to barely enough behind another big person–some cooperation on seat placement should make it possible to leave enough space in back so both can be comfortable. Toe room is good. Entry is easy, but exit is a bit more challenging because the rear-wheel arch intrudes into the door opening.

Good cargo space behind the rear seat, but underfloor storage is limited to only a few small gaps around the spare tire. The rear seat folds nearly flat with the cargo floor. Sport models have a 60/40 split. Tourings and Grand Tourings get a nice 40/20/40 split with easy-to-use release handles in the cargo bay. Interior small-item storage is about average with a covered two-level bin under the center arm rest, a nice-size cubby in front of the shifter, two console-mounted cupholders, and a drop-down glovebox. Bottle holders and small bins in the doors provide a bit more storage, as do the small trays behind the door pulls.


Model Tested: CX-5 Grand Touring AWD with 2.5-liter engine and navigation

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 7
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 7
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 9

Total: 68


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.3 179.3 72.4 65.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
65.4 15.3 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.1 39.0 41.0 39.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2013 CX-5 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Keyless entry
Description: When using keyless entry system, driver’s door may fail to open and power operation of window may not work because of corrosion on electrical connectors. (2013-14)
Rough idle
Description: Engine may experience rough idle because of drop in oil pressure that can be caused by foreign objects stuck on oil pressure relief valve or the OCV. (2013-14)
Water leak
Description: Rear camera may become inoperative after using a high-pressure car wash. (2013-14)

Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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