It's hard to point to a small SUV that's generating more buzz than Mazda's new CX-5. Maybe it's the slick TV spot that borrows a piece of our childhood through the use of The Six Million Dollar Man theme song and images. Or maybe it's that people really want an SUV but they also want the CX-5's estimated 35 mpg highway. Whatever the reason, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 is getting a lot of attention and that's exactly why we're adding it to our long-term fleet of vehicles.

Base price for a 2013 Mazda CX-5 including the $795 destination fee is $21,490, a good price for a crossover SUV that's very similar to the Honda CR-V. The top of the line CX-5 with all-wheel drive tops out at just under $30,000. We opted for a two-wheel drive/front-wheel drive Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring. Base price is about $28,000, but with options the total bill comes to an MSRP of $29,980.

Standard features include a tilt and telescoping steering wheel that's also leather wrapped and has audio, phone and cruise controls. Leather sport seats, remote keyless entry, dual zone climate control and a rear seat that folds down in a 40/20/40 split are also included. 19-inch alloy wheels, fog lights and a rear roof spoiler are part of the package too.

The new CX-5 is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. The low-priced Sport model has the option of a six-speed manual transmission, but our Grand Touring has an automatic. That engine is good for 155 hp and 150 lb ft of torque. Traction control and stability control are included.

We added a few options like Grand Touring Tech Package ($1,325). It includes HID headlights, adaptive front lighting, navigation system and an anti-theft alarm. We also opted for a rear bumper guard ($100), a rear cargo cover ($190) and remote start ($525) to combat against the oppressively hot Atlanta summers.

We already have a few road trips planned for the CX-5 and we plan to pile in plenty of hazardous materials like home improvement equipment, beach toys and kids. If we're lucky, our Zeal Red Mica Mazda CX-5 will clean up nicely enough to hit the town and entertain some out of town guests along the way.

We're also hoping to report that our red Mazda delivers on its EPA estimate of 26 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway. You may have noticed Mazda touting the CX-5's 35 mpg highway, but that's for CX-5's equipped with a manual transmission, we opted for the automatic since we're sure most shoppers will want that feature. We're also hoping the CX-5 is as much fun to drive as every other Mazda. Check back frequently to see how our Mazda CX-5 handles the rigors of daily life - and then some.

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Brian Moody heads up the editorial team. He has been an automotive writer and presenter for 15 years. Prior to that, Moody spent several years working in local television news and worked at a few used car dealerships in Sacramento, California. His first car was a 1964 Buick Skylark, but today he has a strange fascination with 1990s era GM luxury cars - don’t ask. Brian lives near Atlanta with his wife and two kids.

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