Sunday, April 26, 2015

Test-drive of two small SUVs (Mazda CX-5 Touring and Honda CR-V EX-L)

I test-drove two small SUVs yesterday to see for myself if the everybody else's reviews match with mine. They are:
- 2014 Mazda CX-5 Touring
- 2015 Honda CR-V EX-L

I was mostly looking forward to driving Mazda CX-5 to see that zoom-zoom character that everybody is talking about.   

Mazda CX-5 Touring:

The first test-drive was Mazda CX-5. I was impressed with the handling and steering feel. Now I can see what they mean by "zoom-zoom". It felt more like a sporty sedan in mid-range driving and cornering. On the other hand I was a bit disappointed with throttle response and I know it is all computer controlled. They programmed the throttle response so when you press the gas pedal at the beginning, there is not much response. I know why it is done this way; that's how you can save gas and meet the advertised MPGs. If you are not an aggressive driver, then this will work in your favor and you will be able to achieve  the expected MPGs. However, if you are getting quick response off the line, you will need to press that gas pedal more and then your are in a way getting non-linear acceleration; the computer thinks that you are trying to race. 

When you switch to manual mode with this automatic transmission, then you have the full control and the throttle response is controlled better by keeping the RPMs in the optimal range. 

When it comes to practicality and space, this car is good enough for a family of 5 as long as kids are out of baby seats. The trunk space is good.

Overall, since this car is not giving you any luxury or interior elegant feel, this car is for drivers who care about how feels in your steering wheel and how connected you are to the road. 

2015 Honda CR-V EX-L (leather interior):

I was not expecting much from Honda CR-V going into this test-drive, and I was surprised. Maybe this is because of the bad picture I painted in my head about the old CR-Vs from 10 years ago. 

I picked the EX-L model with leather interior. As soon as I started driving I realized that I like the initial throttle response from this engine and CVT transmission and how they programmed it. In mid-range driving, the CR-V seemed to have better pickup compared to CX-5 when driven in automatic mode. The suspension was in this CR-V was slightly softer than the one on CX-5, but I kind of liked it because this CR-V was not trying to beat CX-5 in its game. Honda did their own thing and made this CR-V feel more like a luxury SUV by having rich interior and properly tuned suspension that lets you feel the road but cushions it a bit to provide that luxury feel with not much noise in the cabin. To be honest I was never a big fan of CVT transmission in the early days, but Honda tuned this one nicely. 

Overall, this CR-V is not a vehicle that you want to take mountain driving, but it is a great small SUVs for urban and long-distance driving with luxury feel that you would typically expect from a fully loaded Honda Pilot or Acura MDX. 

What is the verdict?

There is no verdict here. Yes, everybody puts these two mid-size SUVs in the same category and compares them directly. They are both good in their own way and you need to decide for yourself what fits you. 

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#cars #testdrive #Honda #HondaCRV #Mazda #MazdaCX5 #driving #handling 

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