Nearly time to replace our Mazda CX-5, so what’s next?

Our 2016.5 Mazda CX-5 is creeping up on 70,000 miles. We owe a fair bit less than $10k on it. It still has a little bit of value and a ton of life. It’s about that time to consider shuffling it off for something new, or making the decision to keep it for another ten years. My wife is doing well at her job. I’ve taken on some new work that’s paying a steady share. Perhaps it’s time for a change?

On my wife’s short list is… well, it’s a very short list. She loves the Acura RDX. She’s never driven one. But the exterior styling, size, and upgraded amenities appeal to her. And I have to say she’s made a decent choice here. I recently went for a lap around Road America in an Acura RDX. Now, to be fair, Juan Pablo Montoya was at the wheel, but the vehicle itself still blew me away at just how capable it really was. JPM was one handing it through some corners will getting the Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system to live up to its name. We’re talking a bit of oversteer and plenty of available power at corner exit.

My wife will not drive the RDX that way. But I’d be happy knowing I could hop into the left seat and not be bored. I don’t get bored with the Mazda either, mind you. The CX-5 delivers crisp handling, probably the best in its segment really.

But what’s next?

We don’t need a crossover. My wife would consider a sedan. But it’s the RDX that has first grabbed her attention. We can’t lease, because she puts a fair bit of miles on her vehicle. And she does need space to shuttle around the occasional co-worker or visiting doctor.

The RDX sits, as I’d spec it, just outside the top of our price range. We don’t need the A-Spec package, but I would certainly prefer SH-AWD. Living in California means we don’t need the all-weather aspects of the system, but it’s a fantastic setup in terms of driver enjoyment.

I don’t have a budget in place for this yet. This is merely the beginning of a much more involved conversation. If you were in a similar place, which direction would you be thinking for your next car?

And yes, my ideal answer here is ’68 Charger… but this isn’t my car. It’s my wife’s and she drives it everyday.

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23 responses to “Nearly time to replace our Mazda CX-5, so what’s next?”

  1. Kamil K Avatar

    I like the RDX quite a lot. The only thing not to love about it is its infotainment interface but event that isn’t a deal killer. The Honda two-liter engine is *cook_kissing_fingers_dot_gif*.

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      The engine is indeed tempting, but the price isn’t. I had no idea these cars pushed into the mid 40s. And I don’t care for that Star Trek grille and the dinner-plate-sized Acura emblem in the middle of it. Seriously, I think it’s bigger than the wheels on a ’72 Honda Civic.

  2. Kamil K Avatar

    Also… 4Runner. Yes, everyone seems to have one these days but you know you kind of want one. Also, it sucks on gas.

  3. Zentropy Avatar

    When it comes to my wife’s vehicle, it’s her call entirely. She told me generally what type of car and features she wanted (she hates researching vehicles), and I offered up a few models for her to go drive. She ultimately bought an Audi Q5, and she’s very happy with it. It wouldn’t have been my choice, but she and I prioritize completely different factors when it comes to cars. For her, it’s like buying a kitchen appliance or an HVAC system. For me, it’s more like adopting a pet.

    My recommendation is that you let her buy the car she wants. Use your automotive insight only to steer her away from a bad decision, but don’t try to influence the choice based on your preferences.

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      Motion seconded.

      Also, recommending a vehicle to her means you get the blame for every minor annoyance or major flaw. Is the sun visor not quite wide enough to cover the full gap between the A pillar and the rear view mirror? Your fault. Did the manufacturer cheat on the emissions test and provoke a mandatory buyback? Also your fault. Let her choose what she wanted and you can wash your hands of all blame.

      1. dr zero Avatar
        dr zero

        Those sound like very specific complaints!

        1. 0A5599 Avatar

          I replaced my wife’s daily driver of 11 years with a higher trim level of a newer platform of the same vehicle. She never knew what I selected for her until after the papers were signed. That was a couple years ago. Just this week, she complained she preferred the old one because the seats adjusted to a more comfortable position.

  4. Maymar Avatar

    If you’ve already been happy with the CX-5, upgrade to a newer one with turbo?

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      Better yet, put her in the Mercedes 280 for a month, and when she finally moves back to the CX-5, it will seem speedy by comparison.

    2. Vairship Avatar

      Better better yet: the “old” CX-5 is only three years old, not even paid off yet, and will easily be good for another 70-100K miles. Why not
      run it a few more years (several of those with the car fully paid off, saving up for its eventual replacement)?

      Don’t forget that any new vehicle will start off underwater by $10K on top of its own rapid depreciation when driven off the lot. Why build up so much debt
      when you don’t have to?

      1. 0A5599 Avatar

        I understand and agree, but keep in mind this is Jeff you’re talking about. He tends to make car buying decisions from emotion, and isn’t afraid to jump into money-sucking deals. That’s how he gets subject matter for some of his best articles. Wombat, Civic, benz, Montero…they keep the constant supply of press vehicles coming to his driveway with full tanks of gas.

        1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
          Jeff Glucker

          I literally broke something on my Montero last night… *sigh*

          1. 0A5599 Avatar

            I look forward to the write-up next week.

  5. danleym Avatar

    Don’t buy a Crosstrek. Multiple shift forks failed about 4 months ago on our 15 that I bought new. 45,000 miles, thankfully just under warranty. Then the clutch fork failed a few weeks ago at 50,000 miles, outside of warranty but a known issue, so at least Subaru stepped up and footed most of the bill.

    Still- I don’t drive this hard. The only time I drive it my kids are in it. My 2000 Jetta TDI on the other hand, has 210,000 miles, I’ve put 50,000 of those on, and nothing other than routine maintenance. I’m not impressed with the Subaru.

    1. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      50k wasn’t in warranty? I’m shocked that anyone offers a worse warranty an my Fiesta had – 36 bumper to bumper, 60 powertrain.

  6. Sjalabais Avatar

    Voting with Vairship here, trying to think rationally rather than following the urge to replace something newish with something new. Have there been any issues with the Mazda yet? Why does she drive so much, if you don’t mind me asking?

    At the start of the year, we figured it was finally time to replace our fleet (2001 Honda and 2001 Toyota). After four months of negotiations with fools who never showed up, I gave away the Honda to a 17 year old. The replacement, an old Leaf, has been a pleasant surprise: Super low running cost, unfathomably easy to drive, the whole low-windows-high-sills-heavy-door-thing really does feel safe. That is despite the classic Nissan-style cola can layer of metal around that will leave a bump if a mosquito crashes into it too hard. The biggest downside is the silly remaining range of maximum 90 kms (daily use in 20-80% spectrum closer to 50kms).

    So I showed my wife the upcoming Honda e. Insane turning radius, decent range, lots of good features, pretty looks. Now she suddenly wants that one, while I was more in the “look what we buy in 5-10 years”-camp. It’s a bit strange, never even considered a new car and it is certainly not in line with our FIRE-ish approach to finances. Trying to convince her that a 7 year old Civic will do just fine, but she has good arguments in saying that another small car should be an EV, or we should get a wagon again to carry stuff around (the Leaf basically has zero loading space). But the powerful manual wagons I want are extremely scarce around here and coveted by a lot of enthusiasts, keeping prices up…

    tl;dr – despite well-thought-out goals, replacing our ancient fleet is not straightforward at all. Good luck, Mr. Supreme Blooger.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      She sells baby formula to hospitals. Her range is all over Southern California (and Hawaii, but we’re not shopping for an Amphicar).

      Zero issues with the Mazda. She’s just interested in something just a bit nicer for herself (she’s earned it for sure) and when shuttling doctors around on occasion.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Baby formula suggests clients will appreciate trustworthiness, safety, family values. Lots of travel requires the most excellent seats and a smooth, not sporty, suspension. Giving doctors a sense of style and accomplishment requires a clean, thought-through interior made of first class materials.

        Madam, your ride has arrived:

        We can discuss my compensation later.

  7. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    Since the economical move of continuing to drive the perfectly good CX-5 is off the table and the prime driver is luxury, how about a a high spec current generation CX-5 since that adds leather and toys while retaining the basic goodness, reliability and lower costs of a Mazda. My in-laws’ Audi Q3 is a cautionary tale here, since it’s had more major repairs in three years than their Lexus RX 330 had in 9.

  8. salguod Avatar

    So, you have a vehicle that meets her needs, that she likes and has only 70K on it. I’m sorry, what’s the problem again? 😀

    Seriously, the RDX is an excellent choice. Don’t remember how long this generation has been on the market, any chance of a 2 year old one being available to bring it back into your budget?

    A new CX-5 Signature is a good choice as well, as is Sjalabais Volvo wagon suggestion. Although, if the Acura is a stretch the Volvo is likely out.

    An XC40 is another good option.

    My wife has always driven the family vehicle. With 3 kids, that meant a minivan so I chose an Odyssey. Then we got a camper, so we needed an SUV, so I chose a Saturn Outlook. When it was time to replace the Outlook she, rightfully, wanted to choose, since she was the one driving it. The camper was gone, the kids were about to move out, so we had no real specific needs. We ended up with a Prius, which she loved and I tolerated. We replaced the Prius with an Accord Hybrid which we both love. She allowed me to suggest a Mazda 6, which we drove and I really wanted to like, but the Accord was the better car for our needs.

  9. Scoutdude Avatar

    Aviator, yeah I know that would totally break the budget, However I am serious about the Corsair Hybrid or Plug in Hybrid. With the number of miles she drives, the mpg that reportedly will be close to 40, would be nice.

  10. gerberbaby Avatar

    Blazer? 🙂

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