Mazda CX-5 Sport
|Rating: 7 / 10|
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|A manual SUV has become an especially difficult thing to find. The Mazda CX-5 is one of the most popular crossovers on the market, and I was able to track one down with a 6-speed manual.|
The Interior: Standard cloth seats that are surprisingly comfortable. Plenty of space inside in the front seats, back seats, and trunk. Much more space than I remembered actually.
The Tech: Minimal. Push-button start and a good ol' fashion radio with real buttons and a cd player. It's actually a little refreshing not having the big infotainment touch-screens that are taking over modern cars.
Driving: It's not going to win any races, but it's also not meant for that. The clutch has a good feel to it, maybe a tad on the light side of things. The shifter feels springy and a little cheap and plasticky, but it shifts smoothly. It has good handling for its size and is still probably my favorite crossover to drive in the non-luxury segment. You have to temper your expectations a bit if you're coming from a high-powered car, but for what it is - a family-hauler/stuff-hauler, it does the job well.
The Value: I've always been of the mindset that Mazda gives you a little more for your money than its competition, and I think this holds up against the competition of its generation. This one has 131k miles and is listed just under $9k, which isn't too shabby in the time of pandemic pricing. This one did not show any signs of slowing down or having any issues related to age or mileage. And at 26 mpg city / 35 mpg highway, its got very good fuel economy for an SUV.
Overall, if you have to drive an SUV, it's a solid choice. It's not going to win any races, but it's also not meant to. It's a family hauler, with plenty of space, and pretty good driving experience. I just wish Mazda would have offered one with AWD, but this one is another case of base model only if you want the manual. And I know it's too much to ask, and I'm not even really an SUV fan, but I wouldn't mind seeing a 6-speed manual in the new turbo-charged, AWD CX-5. I might be able to get behind that one if they went for it.
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