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EPA Rates Mazda CX-5 Most Efficient SUV on Sale

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer January 2012
  • According to the EPA, manual transmission, front-wheel drive CX-5 models hit 35 mpg in highway driving and 26 mpg in the city.
  • All-wheel drive models are capable of an impressive 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.
  • The new fuel economy ratings mean the CX-5 is the most fuel efficient SUV on sale, though new offerings from Ford and Buick may challenge its title.

If you're looking for a small SUV that's great on gas, Mazda's upcoming CX-5 might be just the car for the job. The Environmental Protection Agency recently rated the CX-5's fuel consumption, announcing that the compact SUV can reach up to 35 miles per gallon in highway driving - better than any other SUV on sale.

Announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, the CX-5 features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes use of Mazda's lightweight SkyActiv technology and delivers 155 horsepower. According to the EPA, front-wheel drive models equipped with a manual transmission are capable of the impressive 35 mpg highway figure and 26 miles per gallon in city driving, while the available six-speed automatic drops highway gas mileage to 32 miles per gallon. All-wheel drive models, which are only offered with the automatic transmission, are rated at 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

Those remarkable numbers give the CX-5 the distinction of being the most fuel-efficient SUV on the road today. While several competitors come close - including four-cylinder versions of the midsize Chevrolet Equinox, which are also rated at 32 mpg on the highway in automatic guise - none can match the CX-5's miserly 26 miles per gallon in city driving.

The CX-5's gas mileage ratings are great news for Mazda, who continues to tout the fuel-saving benefits of its new SkyActiv technology. According to the automaker, SkyActiv technology combines lightweight materials and efficient powertrains to improve fuel economy without resorting to electric power. Set to go on sale this spring, the CX-5 is the automaker's first U.S.-market model to adopt the technology.

Interestingly, the CX-5 may not hold the title of America's most fuel efficient SUV for long. The 2013 Ford Escape, also shown in Los Angeles, will offer a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that could rival the CX-5's miserly powerplant, while Buick's upcoming Encore SUV features an even smaller engine pulled from the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic that could also achieve tremendous gas mileage. Regardless, it's clear that many automakers are beginning to turn their attention to fuel-efficient compact SUVs.

What it means to you: Although the CX-5's four-cylinder won't offer impressive performance, its fuel economy is unmatched.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
EPA Rates Mazda CX-5 Most Efficient SUV on Sale - Autotrader