Considering the size of the utility vehicle and its versatility, the zero to 60 mph sprint was accomplished in 8.4 seconds, average for its class and a full second faster than last year's model. All models are propelled by a six-speed automatic transmission. There is no manual transmission.
Pricing is attractive with well-equipped base models starting near $21,000 and the top of the line reaching a little over $27,000.
Interior impressions are favorable. Inside there are soft-touch materials and a dashboard layout that sparkles against the competition. Buttons and gauges are placed intuitively on the dash and steering wheel. The multimedia screen that displays navigation, phone and audio controls as well as backup camera, is well-shaded from sunlight, an annoyance in some other SUVs.
Helpful blind spot monitor warning lights on outside mirrors offset vision difficulty at both rear pillars.
The only disappointment was the sound quality from a Bose nine-speaker system that did not have the high notes inherent with the brand name.
The Grand Touring was equipped with a $1,600 Technology Package including a Tom Tom-styled navigation system that worked OK, adaptive front HID lighting and Smart City Brake Support.
The latter works with the aid of a laser sensor pointing out from the front end. It looks for objects ahead such as pedestrians, cars and other stationary objects and, after warning to brake, will apply brakes to avoid a collision at speeds under 19 miles per hour.
The CX-5 is Mazda's top selling crossover SUV and, with the new power boost, the company hopes to continue its upward trend in sales. Through September, sales are 60,668 compared with 43,319 during all of 2012.
Len Ingrassia is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.