Tag Archives: small sport-utility

2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD

Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWDMazda CX-3 flickable fun, but practical too

Small hatchbacks have always been fun to drive and practical too. So why shouldn’t a small crossover with a hatch be much the same?

Well, more and more tiny crossovers are being made and mostly they are pretty entertaining to drive. This week’s bright metallic blue (dynamic blue mica) Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD fits that bill.

Steering is light and lively with quick handling and downright perky acceleration when you toggle the Sport mode on the console. That pumps up the revs so the 146-horse 2.0-liter I4 has maximum torque, which also is 146. The Mazda zips away from stoplights with relative enthusiasm, but you’ll need to toggle back to the normal setting or it holds the engine’s revs way too long and eventually will suck down gas mileage.Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD

But hey, toggling the Sport mode is almost as much fun as shifting a manual transmission – almost.

Add to that the practicality of all-wheel-drive to help steady the little crossover in winter slop, plus excellent fuel economy and you’ve got an attractive and cute ute, er crossover to take the place of any small sedan or hatchback.

The CX-3 is Mazda’s smallest crossover, just down a notch in size and wheelbase, from the CX-5. Both handle well. Continue reading 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD

Advertisements

2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

CX5-3Sharp looking CX-5 also performs

            The 2016s are in!

Not all of them mind you, but Mazda has released its revamped CX-5 small sport-ute early and it remains a good-looking ute in a mostly ho-hum market segment.

That’s the first plus, because generally you aren’t hung up on looks if you’re shopping for a small ute. But the tested Grand Touring model with AWD was decked out in Soul Red Metallic paint, a sparkling red that added $300 to the sticker, but worthy of the charge. Mazda has refined the big front grille some and this model featured a smoke gray grille along with black lower fascia on the sides and over the wheels for a sportier look that also protects those areas.

Better yet for looks, the test ute came with silver and gray sport 19-inch wheels, up from the standard 17-inchers.

Related Video: See Mark put the Mazda 3S to the test at Road America.

While a base Sport CX-5 will run you just $22,675 for a front-drive model, the tested version lists at $29,470, plus an $880 delivery fee. With options, this one hit $34,140. That’s above average for the segment, but then the Grand Touring more than performs to the price.CX5-4

First, it has AWD for winter traction, something we’re not so concerned about on these warm summer days, but come December, you’ll be happy to have it. Continue reading 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

Mazda CX-5 better than ever with more powerful enginemazda cx5

Give Mazda credit, once it decided to remake its small sport-utility for 2013, it didn’t rest on its laurels, although it could have for a couple years.

Nope, for 2014 it rolls out a new efficient, and more powerful 2.5-liter I4 using its Skyactiv technology that aims at fuel economy, plus performance.

So, while last year’s CX-5 mid-size sport-utility was a delight to drive, with upscale looks and feel, the 2014 ups the performance ante and still delivers excellent gas mileage for a ute with all-wheel-drive.

I tested the top-level Grand Touring model with AWD, so it tips the money scales at $28,870, but that’s still well below the average price of a new vehicle these days. With a fancy, and mostly unneeded, tech package it hit $31,890, right at the average cost of a new vehicle.

But here’s the deal, the new 2.5-liter engine with variable valve timing and Skyactiv technology manages an EPA rating of 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, just one mpg lower than the 2.0-liter I4 that comes in entry-level models and that makes just 155 horses. The power difference is noticeable. Continue reading 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan SE 4Motion

Volkswagen Tiguan: Putting the Sport into Sport-Ute

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed driving Volkswagen’s restyled Tiguan, a small sport utility with the emphasis on sport.

The silver test ute was the mid-level SE with 4Motion, a giant sunroof and a navigation system, so it started at a very un-small price tag of $32,480.

Thing is, for that price I can find a lot of fairly sporty utes that don’t require premium fuel, get better gas mileage and frankly have better acceleration than this I4 turbo unit, at least during normal driving situations. Continue reading 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan SE 4Motion