I am so excited today to share with you a VIP guest blogger. This VIP is a very special person to me. It is my husband, who will be launching his website this fall called Tips From Dad. Tips from Dad will be a great resource for anyone who might need advice from an expert in some important areas including: How to choose the right preschool, Should you buy or lease a new car? Can you sell your house by yourself, without an agent? How do you find the perfect house for your family? Should you buy an Electric Vehicle(EV)? Dad is gearing up to help you with all these topics and much more, but today he helped to write this guest post, an in depth review of the 2016 Mazda CX-5. The Mazda CX-5 is an awesome car. Dad also posted a short video here to show you some of the interior features that are hard to photograph.
Hi everyone! Dad here. This review actually began back in 1995, the year we bought our first Mazda, the MPV minivan, to replace our Honda Odyssey. The MPV was a good deal cheaper than the Honda and we thought we’d give it a try. Let’s just say it didn’t meet our expectations in many ways and after driving the MPV I never planned to drive another Mazda until now. Last week we did an extended test drive of the 2016 Mazda CX-5 and my initial expectations were quite low. My memories of our old MPV were still clear in my mind and I did not expect to like this car at all. I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed driving the CX-5, but I wasn’t the only one who loved it. Our entire family fell in love with this car, even our dog. We made excuses to take a ride in the car, something that never happens in our house. We were all very sad when our test drive was over. The CX-5 is a very safe vehicle which would make any driver very happy. If you haven’t considered a Mazda for your next car, you really need to try one out, it will be well worth your time.
The CX-5 is the 5 passenger crossover from Mazda. This model has four doors and a rear hatch that opens and closes very easily. I was worried that without a power closing option on the rear hatch that it might be hard for my wife or kids to open and close it, but I was wrong. It was very easy to use and didn’t come down too fast and was not too heavy. The interior space worked very well in this car. Five adults were very comfortable, plenty of room for everyone. The rear seats fold down and create a completely flat space along with the trunk area. This flat space made transporting furniture or packages or even groceries very easy. It also became our dog’s favorite space, she could rest very easily while we were driving. The trunk space is quite large and spacious and had plenty of room for a nice Costco trip. A retractable shade/sun cover could extend over the entire trunk space to either hide things or during our test drive, it kept the sun away from the melting ice cream.
The experience for the driver was very comfortable and all the controls are well laid out. There was an easy to read dash area with all kinds of tools that allowed the driver to accomplish things (make phone calls, lower the volume, change the radio station) while keeping focused on the road. The voice commands(button was right on the steering wheel) worked very well. One thing we often needed to do while driving was to cancel the navigation commands once we recognized where we were going. In the CX-5 all you needed to do was to push the button, say “cancel navigation” and the navigation commands ended. All cars should be this easy to use!
The driver was really treated like royalty in the CX-5. The luxurious leather was very comfortable and fully adjustable with various switches which moved the seats forward, reclined, or moved up higher or lower. The leather did not feel hot at all, even though it was over 90 degrees. The armrest was in the perfect position so the driver would be in comfort during the entire ride. While this model was only a 4 cylinder it had good initial pickup thanks to the 2.5L SKYACTIV-G engine which was rated for 33 HW MPG (pretty awesome gas mileage for a crossover). This model also had a Sport mode which we tried a few times and we could definitely feel a nice additional push of speed. The handling was very clean and responsive and the sight lines were exceptional. The air conditioning and climate controls were easy to figure out and had many options to keep all the passengers in the car very cool and comfortable. The two front seats could be warmed individually during the winter as well.
Our CX-5 came with a very good navigation system with a few nice safety features. One of our favorite parts of the navigation screen, that really should be standard on all cars, was a speed limit icon. How many times have you driven on a new road and not been sure what the speed limit was? No worries in this car. On the middle left side of your navigation screen there is a speed limit icon. The really unique part of this feature is that the speed limit graphic changes as your speed exceeds the limit. You can see a video of this speed limit alert system on this video here. This alert helped us a few times when we were speeding along, not realizing that we had exceeded the speed limit (especially since we moved to a new area and we are not totally familiar yet with the different speed limits on each road). The downside of this feature is that anyone who can see the nav screen (which is everyone else in the car) also knew when we were exceeding the speed limit and they enjoyed telling me to “slow down Dad”…… The Navigation worked great and we easliy got to our destination while following the clear directions. Sometimes I might be driving the kids to school and they remember they needed something at Target. All you would need to do is type Target into the search bar and all the closest Targets would come right up on the screen and then the navigation would direct you to the one you chose. The radio and sound quality in this car was superior. This Mazda CX-5 came equipped with the upgraded Bose speaker package. If you enjoy listening to high quality music, you might want to invest in the Bose package upgrade. The radio had options for AM, FM, Sirius XM, or you could even plug in your device and access the songs you have downloaded. The sound quality was incredible, you might even feel like you were attending a personal concert in your car.
While many new vehicles have incorporated a rear camera feature, the usability really varies from car to car. Many rear cameras have odd views or the camera itself just doesn’t have the right resolution. This rear camera was one of the best cameras I’ve tried. The image was clear and the resolution was excellent. You could clearly see what was at the end of the driveway, and avoid hitting your trash can or the neighbor’s cat. The rear camera which I loved during the day was surprisingly even better at night. The technology in this camera must use some type of night vision because it really provided me with a bright image even when it was pitch black outside. We live on a very dark street but with this rear camera view we felt much safer driving at night, as the camera illuminated the entire driveway and streets. The interior lights were also incredibly bright and turned right on when a door was opened. This feature really helped when we arrived home after an event and the kids needed to collect all their stuff. The lights inside the car allowed us to easily find everything we needed. The headlights were LED and illuminated the road or driveway better than any car I have driven. Not only were the headlights really bright, but they had an adaptive front lighting system. What does that mean? The adaptive front light system allowed the lights to turn with you as you round a corner. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it makes a huge difference when you are on a dark windy road. If you will be doing a lot of driving at night, you really need to take a look at a new Mazda.
Being a 2016 model, this vehicle had all of the state of the art safety features including things such as: Distance Recognition Support system, Blind Spot monitoring, Rear cross traffic alert, and much more. The crash tests on this car made this a top pick in its class. You will feel very safe while driving this car. The blind spot monitoring kept me from changing lanes and running into someone who might be hiding in the blind spot. When you put on your blinker, the sensor checked if a car might be in the space you plan to turn into. If there was a car in that spot, you would hear a big BEEP and realize that you better not change lanes quite yet.
My favorite feature on the Mazda CX-5 was the commander switch. This set of buttons and knobs allows you to control many of the features on the main screen including your radio and navigation systems. The knob in the center spins to highlight various options and pushing it in is like clicking on your mouse to choose something. It’s intuitive, its easy to use, and it gives you excellent control without taking your eyes off the road for even a second. Once you learn where the buttons are you never even have to look down. It took me a few days to figure it out, but once I did, I felt like I could control everything I needed to in seconds. Even though I have not driven the Mazda in a few weeks, I find myself reaching for the Commander Knob and wishing my current car had one. It was really brilliant and quite an advancement in safer driving for me.
Our dog has always hated the car. She has tried every car we have had over the past two years and she has always spent the whole car ride drooling or throwing up and looking quite miserable. She has never looked at ease or comfortable in a car. The Mazda CX-5 was our dog’s favorite car by far. Here is why. She figured out that after she jumped in through the rear hatch area, it was all one big level area, and she could easily make her way right up to the front and get a great view of wherever we were going while she was leaning on the center armrest. Occasionally she’d even lean over and give one of us a little kiss on the cheek. This car was tested by kids in elementary school, middle school, high school and even three kids over 6 feet tall. The Mazda CX-5 was family and dog approved and our opinion on the Mazda brand has completely changed. If you are in the market for a 5 person car, you must give the Mazda CX-5 a test drive.