By ANN M. JOB
A new, 2013 sport utility vehicle is at the top of the fuel mileage charts, and it's not from Honda or Toyota.
The smartly packaged, functional and new-for-2013 Mazda CX-5 earned a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 29 miles per gallon from the federal government.
This puts the CX-5 ahead of competitors such as the well-known Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
It also means the CX-5 ties the 2013 Nissan Juke, which is a smaller-sized SUV, as best fuel-sipper among non-hybrid SUVs.
Better still, while the Juke's turbocharged four cylinder requires premium gasoline, the CX-5's naturally aspirated four cylinder needs only regular unleaded.
The CX-5 is a recommended vehicle of Consumer Reports magazine, which lists reliability at better than average.
Mazda puts a lot of standard equipment into this five-passenger, crossover SUV. Every CX-5 comes with 17-inch, alloy wheels with Yokohama tires, rear spoiler, body-colored outside mirrors and door handles, push-button start and one-touch power up and down driver-side window.
And with a starting retail price of $21,790, value is part of the CX-5 story â¿¿ to a point.
This starting retail price is for a CX-5 with front-wheel drive and six-speed manual transmission.
Most drivers today buy automatics, and the starting price jumps considerably â¿¿ to $23,190 â¿¿ for a CX-5 with automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. A 2013 CX-5 with all-wheel drive has a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $24,440. All-wheel drive is available only with automatic transmission.
All CX-5s come with a 155-horsepower, naturally aspirated, direct-injection four cylinder.
The competing 2013 Honda CR-V, with 185-horsepower four cylinder, has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $23,625 with front-wheel drive and automatic. The CR-V's highest government fuel economy rating is 26 mpg in combined city/highway driving for a front-wheel drive model.