CleanMPG Reviews the 2013 Mazda CX-5

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by xcel, May 11, 2012.

  1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    This is a classic question.

    In an AT it's Deceleration Fuel Cut-Off (DFCO) and high drag in gear versus idle gas consumption and low drag in neutral.

    Basically, with the usual significant difference between the drag in neutral and in gear, it's more efficient to be in neutral for deceleration. But, if you have excess speed such that you'd need to slow down faster than you would in neutral you keep it in gear for as much time as you need, trying to make sure it's in DFCO.

    Of course, the ideal is that you use Driving Without Brakes: get your foot off the gas and begin deceleration in neutral as early as possible. With perfect foresight you can take your foot off the gas much earlier than you can when coasting in gear.

    Once you've N-glided, gears feel so draggy. ;)
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jmeagher:

    An AT for the wife is absolutely the right decision. Even my older Accord is equipped with the AT due to that one reason and one reason alone. And it cost me 20% more in fuel use too :(

    I digress and back to the topic at hand. I get sidetracked on these rants and interests as anybody that knows me can tell you ;)

    Getting anywhere near 70 out of the CX-5 with an AT would probably be impossible. It just has too many cards stacked against it before you pushed the Start button. Saying that, pulling 43 from a 32 mpg rated CX-5 with the 6-speed AT is absolutely excellent and thank you!!!

    Pulling 70even in the MT is riding at the ragged edge of what the CX-5 can deliver. I am throwing the book at it with at least 4 to 8 very quick shifts (up, down and N) of the MT for every single mile traveled. Using an SG-II, I was shifting down for any overpass or topo climb of over maybe 1.5% grade while accelerating but as soon as I reached a target to match the ascent I was on (not much in the way of ascents between here and Milwaukee by the way), I immediately went into a DWL approach. Do not worry about the terminology; you’re a bicycle rider so you do that already naturally. With the AT, allow it to perform your shifts for 98% of the time. However, the steepest areas, consider a single tap of the paddle and run at a steady speed during the climb (do not accelerate) and prior to the crest, upshift and look at the following descent to boost your overall average.

    A NICE-On can provide better fuel economy than Fuel Cut or DFCO if you can glide at a higher speed for a lengthy period. Only use Fuel cut or engine braking when you must stop ahead. Otherwise I encourage allowing an intermediate technique based NICE-On to improve your CX-5’s overall.

    Are you in the Milwaukee or Chicago area by chance? If so, we could knock out a short clinic this weekend so you have a lot more tools in your tool box for those times when you decide I have had it with $3.50 to $4.50 gas and want to do something about it ;)

    Please post your experiences and reasons for your CX-5 purchase vs. whatever else you could have bought instead.

    And welcome to CleanMPG :) Did you like the CX-5 review write-up I posted yesterday and does it match your experiences?

    I see Colin replied after I posted and he nailed it.

  3. EVuser

    EVuser Well-Known Member

    Off Mazda topic but you tossed the first brick.
    Are you aware of any one doing a final drive gear swap for the civic (honda) manuals. My guess would be offered ratios might be worse.
  4. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    If it was easy to do, I would have by now. I'm not aware of any easily available part for the current models. The other choice is the Si transmission that's even worse.

    For mine I can get the previous-generation VX/CX and swap the whole transmission. The individual gears aren't made to be swappable, and I suspect the current model is the same.
  5. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member


    How about cabin noise at highway speed (above 55 mph) ?
    Also, can you verify 1500 lb towing capacity from the owners manual in the 6MT?
  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi EVuser:

    OT but a little table top exercise called “What if” never hurts. A swap with at least a 30% reduction to bring the Civic MT down to 1,767 or ~ 100 R’s under the 5-speed AT would do wonders. The current 4.29 final to 3.00. This would be fine since the energy losses of the MT are less and the two tranny’s in the same car would probably perform very similar in the upper gear ranges afterwards. The MT’s 1st is currently so low that you can all but skip it but second gear launches are a little steep. Fortunately with a 30% taller final (lower ratio), first then becomes a 2.2 ratio from the current 3.143. This is still shorter than the current MT’s 2nd gear at 1.87. It would make the Civic a very nice MT indeed.

    As Andrew pointed out however, nothing is available and the expense to do a swap on a brand new car would negate the savings? Why Honda continued to use the 5-speed with the buzz bomb gearing still befuddles me every time we have this discussion. The Honda Fit is even worse :(

    With winds out of the SSW at almost 20 mph right now, the steady states will have to wait. Tonight after 10:00 PM, the winds will calm some to ~ 8 mph from the S and I can get some number than. Unless something else comes up???

    Carcus, cabin noise seemed pretty subdued yesterday but I will pay more attention to that tonight. The tow rating is 2,000 pounds per Mazda but I will pull out the manual in a few minutes to double check.

  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Carcus:

    I just did a quick read of the Manual cover to cover and discovered some interesting things.

    2013 Mazda CX-5 Review

    Regarding towing, 2,000 pounds is spec for both the AT and the MT, 300 pounds is the maximum tongue weight (10 – 15% of the trailer weight recommended) and if towing over 1,000 pounds, Mazda recommend trailer brakes.

    Other interesting items and features.

    The DRLs suck down 60W, the same as the high beams. I wish I knew this yesterday but the manual says to get the DRLs to shut off, you need to leave the headlight switch on the light stalk in Auto and the day/night sensor will turn them off and on as appropriate. With the switch in the off position, the DRLs are always on. I found that out the first time I started her up. I will verify the Auto with no DRL operation when I place the manual back in the CX-5 in a few minutes.

    With just under 800 miles on it, I believe only CGAutomotive out of Chicago has had the CX-5 before us? The manual was cracked so somebody over there read it. This is unusual as sometimes I have pulled the manual in cars with over 5K and the book has never even been opened. Good for them if they had it last?

    And a new feature I did not know Mazda had incorporated. It is called SCR or “Secondary Crash Reduction”. We have probably all seen the VW slow motion crash commercial when it locks doors, turns on the hazards and does something else that I cannot recall at the moment during/after a crash. Well come to find out Mazda has a similar system and while the doors are already locked from the slow speed presets you setup when you get the CX-5, in the event of a crash with airbag deployment or a even a somewhat harsher low speed one without air bag deployment, the E-Flashers turn on automatically. I thought that was pretty cool. I get a kick out of the smallest things ;)

  8. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Thanks Wayne.

    2000 pounds ... very nice.

    With only 800 miles on a high compression engine, the car may still be breaking in to maximum fuel economy.

    -a very respectable 8.5" ground clearance and front wheel drive make it somewhat off road/dirt road capable.
    -2,000 pound towing is enough to get a couple of dirt bikes around on a trailer, and (even though my boat weighs more) I think it would get me the short distance to the dock without a problem. (but taking any "high drag" tow up onto the interstate with only 155 hp/150 tq might not work out so well)

    If the Cx-5 MT had been available back in 2009 (before I bought my pickup) this would have been a strong contender for me.

    /I might have to consider the diesel version if it makes it to the U.S.
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  9. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Regarding the DRLs, I did not see them lit with the Light Switch in Off or Auto while the car was idling needlessly in the drive for the check. With the light switch to on, the DRLs are off.

    Other niceties include damped sunglass holder and glove box doors plus a spring loaded center console arm rest that pops up when you open it without having to lift and hold it. This is the stuff of far more expensive vehicles.

    There are three 12V/120W max outlets, one under the central dash, one inside the center console and one back behind the rear seats in the hatch area. There is also a single switched lamp about a foot off the cargo area floor on the left side as well.

    A small negative is that the sun visors are vinyl covered with a cloth like texture appliqué. It detracts from the overall nice looking cloth headliner treatment and well appointed cabin.

    Carcus, I might have to consider the 2.2L SKYACTIV-D turbo-diesel if it makes its way here too but only if it arrives with the 6-speed manual ;)

  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Here are the 2013 Mazda CX-5’s speed vs. FE results.

    Setup: Yokohama Geolanders set at their max sidewall of 44 psi.

    Speedometer Accuracy

    The speedometer displays approximately 58.5 mph while the GPS is at 60 mph.

    Odometer and aFCD Offset

    From our round trip fuel economy aFCD calibration drive loop, the odometer was found to under report by 3.5% (good for owners as their warranty is that much longer) while the aFCD was found to over report by 3.14%. I used a 0.9686 offset to arrive at the actual mpgUS results at the various speeds.


    Tonight’s winds were from the South at 10 mph and temps ranged from 73 to 76 degrees F for the bi-directional North and Southbound drives with Cruise Control (CC) set at the various speeds.

    Actual CC speeds were set per a Garmin GPS as the OEM Speedometer under reports actual by almost 2 mph.

    Displayed results were taken after a minimum of 10 miles, an elevation delta no greater than 10’ from start to finish and the aFCD and Trip A were reset after the steady state speed with CC set was achieved.

    2013 Mazda CX-5 - Steady State (CC set) Speed vs. FE

    mphaFCD mpg displayed (average of NB and SB legs) mpgUSActual (mpgUS)
    70 mph37.836.6
    65 mph40.238.9
    60 mph43.542.1
    55 mph45.944.5
    50 mph47.746.2

    2013 Mazda CX-5 – Speed vs. FE

    60 mph NB and SB legs after minimum of 10 miles and start to finish elevations not more than 10’ from one another.​

    A caveat to the 70 mph SB leg into the wind. Traffic was heavy and for at least 3-miles I was bunched up with other vehicles while maneuvering around them with at little as 1 to 2 mph differentials. In other words, into the wind at 70 mph and there was a lot of traffic side and distant improving the average tremendously. On a best fit speed vs. FE curve, 70 mph should have come in at approximately 34.75 mpg or just slightly less than its EPA highway figure vs. the 36.6 mpg shown in the table above.

  11. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    OR.....we could just admit my forecast was right!

    /lol, just kidding. Darn good numbers for a non hybrid, non diesel of this size.
    //Mazda has accomplished something here.
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  12. 300kmileprius

    300kmileprius Well-Known Member

    Makes the mazda 2 look so silly....A car that small should get much better FE than the cx-5.
  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jesse:

    The 2 at 35 mpgUS highway and the CX-5 at the same does not make any sense and I am sure the 1.3L SKYACTIV-G mated to the CVT in Japan is making amends for this prior to its arrival here in the US.

    A few more additions regarding the CX-5.

    This is the driver’s side door side mirror controls above the window and door lockouts, and window lift controls.

    Does anyone notice anything "unusual" about the side view mirror control layout?

    2013 Mazda CX-5 Review


    Also there was a creaking or clicking within the cabin that I could not find while driving down the road two nights ago. I know where it is now. The driver’s side seat clicks when you are sitting in it and moving around. I will take a closer look underneath and at the rails to try and pinpoint where this clicking is coming from tomorrow during the daylight hours.

    Last edited: May 13, 2012
  14. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    To me, the mirror control is reversed. I would say the L and R (and respective control movement) should be at the 11 and 1 o'clock positions -- not the 5 and 7. Japan's on the opposite side of the world so maybe it makes sense over there.

    Hopefully the seat creak is just a one time mistake. How was the wind/road noise at highway speed?
  15. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Why not at 3 and 9, with up and down at 12 and 6? What's that center button do? Fold it?
  16. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Here is what I think is "unusual" about this : I think that the upper ,round switch should be like a joystick for up/down/left/right , and that the lower switch (to left of the lock/unlock)should select the right or left mirror. Most people are already familiar with round or rotary joystick-type controls.
    Do I win a prize ?
  17. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    I believe that's for the passenger ejection seat. But to get that option you also must buy the sunroof package.
  18. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Very important to not get the L and R confused when using the ejection seat option.
  19. jmeagher

    jmeagher Member

    Ok xcel, I feel better about my 43 now :) Still, seems like I can do better.

    I've been reading up on your jargon and I think I get the basics. I've been doing the neutral coasts and I can appreciate how much more efficient they are than the fuel cutoffs.

    I also picked up a scanguage II so fiddling with that now also. I programmed the transmission temp into it to assuage my paranoia about putting too much strain on the transmission. I'm getting some crazy 2800 degree temps, which I'm assuming are erroneous. Either that or Mazda has invented some pretty amazing alloys for their transmissions!

    Thank you for you kind offer to show me the ropes. I would take you up on it, but I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area, and while the trek would give me some great opportunities to practice efficient driving, it doesn't seem that practical :)

    And as a point of interest, we tend to have gas closer to the $4.50 mark that $3.50. I think we pretty much have the highest gas prices in the nation.

    I did like your review, and thought it was pretty much spot-on. I differ only in the handling -- you mentioned some body roll at higher speeds - I'm not getting it, or noticing it, but I also have the 19-inch tires on there, which might be masking it.

    Why I bought it? That's a long story, but to condense it down: I initially was convinced the Prius V was our new car. I was ready to configure and order one online but the wife (the brains in the family) insisted I test drive one. To my horror, I couldn't stand it. Everything about it on paper appealed to my inner nerd and tinkerer, but there was zero sex appeal. It was a really tough day for me.

    I briefly thought of pulling my kid out of college and instead buying a Tesla (there's a lot of those cruising around here), but sanity prevailed and I started looking realistically at options. We're replacing a 2000 Rav4 4-cyl, so it was basically the new Rav4, the new CR-V, a Hyundai and the CX-5.

    The CR-V was designed by a one-legged engineer, because the e-brake pedal is placed so close to the left of the brake pedal that you have to contort so it doesn't rub up against your shin as you drive. Otherwise a VERY strong contender. Great-looker, great handling.

    The new RAV4 was nice but the handling was not that impressive, plus the pricepoint seemed high for what you got. I felt like I was paying a premium for their track record; fair enough, but you'd expect that more from Honda and their offering was cheaper!

    The Hyundai was ok, but frankly the design of the cabin felt odd and the handling was so so. That and, as a designer, I can't quite get over the fact the the Hyundai logo is an italicized Honda logo.

    The Mazda was great. Sort of love at first drive honestly. I'd never driven a Mazda before in my life. It sticks to the road, has a normal comfy interior, and the clincher were the back seats. Unlike EVERY other car we looked at, they fold flat to the center arm rest/console cover. Our dog Oliver like to ride so that his head rests on the center console and in th CX5 there is no gap, no seats folded up before it: perfect. On a more-rational front, I feel like the CX-5 is taking all of the existing technology for ICE and squeezing everything possible out of it, which makes a lot of sense to me (I laugh at my hybrid-driving Eco-conscious neighbors who haven't replaced their 1950s-vintage weatherstripping -- but I'm also happy they support new tech; someone has to invest in it to make it viable).

    And that's the short version of the story! We've been shopping for about 11 months.

  20. peskeguy

    peskeguy New Member

    Hi xcel,
    Thanks so much for the great info on the CX-5. I stumbled across this forum while searching for online reviews, but am also amazed at the fuel economy figures you've managed, and will definitely be trying out the techniques listed elsewhere on this site.

    My wife and I just went to test drive a CX-5 MT, and I definitely love it. Awesome handling and clutch feel. There was only one thing the salesman told me that I thought was mindbogglingly dumb if it is actually correct...

    I tried to play the radio with the engine off and he said I needed to start the engine. Is that true? Can you only play the radio with the engine running?

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