2021 CX-5 Carbon Turbo FWD or AWD

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I am an owner of a 2015 CX-5 Grand Touring FWD, and am considering 2021 CX-5 Carbon Turbo. I am debating if I should get FWD or AWD. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area that hardly ever rains. It is a city car, and the only time it may see some snow is 1 or 2 trips to Lake Tahoe annually, which my old FWD CX-5 seems to handle fine. I am willing to sacrifice a few MPG to get the Turbo. I initially thought I would get Turbo FWD, but does AWD offer any benefit to justify a further hit to MPG and heavier weight for worse inertia? All 2022 CX-5 come in AWD, so there may be some benefit. Thanks.
 

itsmike

CX-5er
At this point, I think the trouble might be finding both options equally available in a market area. If that’s not an issue for you, then I would suggest driving both to see which you like better. I was interested in a fwd myself, but in my local market all that were left were awd, so that’s what I ended up getting. I like the awd, although it does feel a bit heavier than my 2016 fwd and very likely is not quite as peppy feeling as a fwd would be.
 

yrwei52

2016 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD w/Tech Pkg
Contributor
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Plano, Texas, USA
I am an owner of a 2015 CX-5 Grand Touring FWD, and am considering 2021 CX-5 Carbon Turbo. I am debating if I should get FWD or AWD. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area that hardly ever rains. It is a city car, and the only time it may see some snow is 1 or 2 trips to Lake Tahoe annually, which my old FWD CX-5 seems to handle fine. I am willing to sacrifice a few MPG to get the Turbo. I initially thought I would get Turbo FWD, but does AWD offer any benefit to justify a further hit to MPG and heavier weight for worse inertia? All 2022 CX-5 come in AWD, so there may be some benefit. Thanks.
I personally would always get an AWD on a CUV. But in your situation a FWD will serve you perfectly fine and your experience has proved it. Is additional $1,400 MSRP for an AWD really worth it? It’s your call. If you’re considering an AWD CX-5 Carbon Turbo, might as well get a CX-5 Grand Touring Reserve with 2.5T and AWD standard.
 

yrwei52

2016 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD w/Tech Pkg
Contributor
:
Plano, Texas, USA
⋯ I like the awd, although it does feel a bit heavier than my 2016 fwd and very likely is not quite as peppy feeling as a fwd would be.
My experience exactly! And the mpg definitely will suffer.
 
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186746

If you’re considering an AWD CX-5 Carbon Turbo, might as well get a CX-5 Grand Touring Reserve with 2.5T and AWD standard.
Unless you particularly like the Carbon Edition exterior and interior color availability and other trim specific features, and aren’t interested in paying the $2k+ more that a GTR costs over a CE Turbo AWD.
 
Thanks for all your input. I think I will try to get a Carbon Turbo FWD. I am not crazy about Carbon exterior color (it is ok) but I like the red leather seats, but the main reason of choosing a Carbon is really it is the cheapest ticket for the 2.5T engine.
 
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'17, Mazda 6 GT
Thanks for all your input. I think I will try to get a Carbon Turbo FWD. I am not crazy about Carbon exterior color (it is ok) but I like the red leather seats, but the main reason of choosing a Carbon is really it is the cheapest ticket for the 2.5T engine.
Why would you want to put 250hp and 320 torque on a FWD car? Even though its heavy, it will not put the power down properly.

110% if you can afford it, go for AWD, otherwise it doesn t make sense to buy the turbo.
 
Why would you want to put 250hp and 320 torque on a FWD car? Even though its heavy, it will not put the power down properly.

110% if you can afford it, go for AWD, otherwise it doesn t make sense to buy the turbo.
It is a trade off. AWD puts more weight on the car, which will make the car less nimble.
1. longer stopping distance
2. poorer MPG
3. more parts for maintenance
On the other hand, as you said, it puts power on 4 wheels, so it can put the power down better. It has better grip while moving, so it will help turning.

Maybe this discussion does not matter, as itsmike said, it comes down to availability. Carbon Turbo is only available in AWD in my area.
 
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Pueblo county CO
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CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
I prefer FWD.

I avoid Subaru for that reason.

If I wanted AWD I might have bought a Subaru instead of Mazda.
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
It is a trade off. AWD puts more weight on the car, which will make the car less nimble.
1. longer stopping distance
2. poorer MPG
3. more parts for maintenance
On the other hand, as you said, it puts power on 4 wheels, so it can put the power down better. It has better grip while moving, so it will help turning.

Maybe this discussion does not matter, as itsmike said, it comes down to availability. Carbon Turbo is only available in AWD in my area.
The weight difference is 137 lbs., a 3.7% increase, or the same as a smallish person in the passenger seat. If you're that sensitive to weight you'd probably appreciate the AWD ripping corners when zoom zooming on dry roads. On the other hand, if the $1,400 difference is not a key factor, a tiny difference in MPGs and the cost of the occasional differential fluid change should not be a concern either.

AWD is probably the consensus among buyers who want a driver's car which would be why finding a FWD turbo might be a tough get.
 

itsmike

CX-5er
From what I can tell, most of the last run of 2021 CE turbo’s were awd. I was able to locate some non turbo CE fwd in July, but only awd in turbo model. One thing I noticed also is that the red seats were not as available, mostly black/red stitching options at that point.

Also, to anyone considering turbo fwd, I wouldn’t worry too much about putting the power down. I could understand that concern with a track purposed vehicle, but for this application and normal driving the 250 hp/320 torque figures shouldn’t pose any issues unless you’re constantly driving like an asshat and/or on other than dry surfaces primarily. Lots of fwd turbo cars in that power range have been on the market from many different manufacturers for some time now, like the MS3 for example. IMO, the turbo engine should have been the power plant this whole time on the CX-5 as it’s always felt a bit underpowered to me.
 
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'17, Mazda 6 GT
The thread owner cares about the car being nimble. I have a NA Mazda 6 and if I floor it from the stop, especially in a little damp pavement, it will spin the tire. You don't need to be an ass to drive a little bit more spirited a turbo car but with Mazda 2.5T coming at low RPM's, from a start you will spin the tires, you will spin the tires even in AWD not only in FWD.

The cars that you mention are either have some sort of LSD if they are in the more sporty range or they are a spin fest, see Kia/Hyundai products where is better to have the smaller engine with AWD than a high output engine on a platform without any sorts of improvement.
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
From what I can tell, most of the last run of 2021 CE turbo’s were awd. I was able to locate some non turbo CE fwd in July, but only awd in turbo model. One thing I noticed also is that the red seats were not as available, mostly black/red stitching options at that point.

Also, to anyone considering turbo fwd, I wouldn’t worry too much about putting the power down. I could understand that concern with a track purposed vehicle, but for this application and normal driving the 250 hp/320 torque figures shouldn’t pose any issues unless you’re constantly driving like an asshat and/or on other than dry surfaces primarily. Lots of fwd turbo cars in that power range have been on the market from many different manufacturers for some time now, like the MS3 for example. IMO, the turbo engine should have been the power plant this whole timeat on the CX-5 as it’s always felt a bit underpowered to me.
Well, CX-5's are not all turbos because they want to offer competitive options at a lower price point. They probably sell more non-turbos than turbos. Even with AWD exclusively in 2022, you can get a base Sport at around $28,000 on the sticker. In this day and age where the average new car / light truck sticker has hit $38,000, a CX-5 sport qualifies as an entry level vehicle for a young person making a half decent salary. There's not much money to be made in base models, but that's where brand loyalty gets its start.

Is the current 187 hp 2.5L underpowered for a daily driver? Not in my experience. 0-60 is an indicator but not particularly useful. 8.6 seconds is objectively quite adequate and vs. some 8.0 in a mainstream competitor is not something you'd ever notice unless you're an asshat, to use your phrase, in a vehicle not designed for that manner of driving.

More relevant than 0-60 in daily driving, C&D clocks the turbo at 4.6 seconds 50-70. The only source I know of that provides 187 hp specs of this kind is Consumer Reports and they came up with 5.4 seconds in going 45-65. In these coming-up-the-ramp specs the difference is less than counting to one-one-thousand.

The sensation that the 187 horses in under powered in daily driving, whether coming up the ramp or passing, is because the engine and cabin are quiet under normal conditions but before the pedal hits the floor under hard acceleration it gets LOUD. Keep the pedal going down and there's enough giddy up.

I have several flat smooth two lane blacktops around my house that are often deserted with miles of visibility for cops or somebody entering the road, ideal spots to punch it from 55 mph up to the red line and 85 mph to blow out carbon. That's VERY LOUD, but pretty quick.

As a daily driver, a common complaint is the opposite--uneven shifting in low gears at low RPMs, around the 1500 mark or under. My complaint was lugging in low gears/low RPMs. After having a software TSB applied, the ID number escaping me at the moment, I sometimes get a mild jerk on the upshift instead. I'm happy with that trade-off. Oddly, others have reported the opposite--dropping down a gear when it shouldn't. Regardless, the 2022 is purported to offer smoother shifting. If they pull that off in the 187 hp., that should be #1 on the hit list, not the minor cosmetic changes some folks obsess about.
 
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The weight difference is 137 lbs., a 3.7% increase, or the same as a smallish person in the passenger seat. If you're that sensitive to weight you'd probably appreciate the AWD ripping corners when zoom zooming on dry roads. On the other hand, if the $1,400 difference is not a key factor, a tiny difference in MPGs and the cost of the occasional differential fluid change should not be a concern either.

AWD is probably the consensus among buyers who want a driver's car which would be why finding a FWD turbo might be a tough get.
A smallish person gets on and off the car as needed, but the weight of AWD will always on the car. It is like hauling 3 extra spare tires in the truck all the time, and it does negatively affect stopping distance and MPG. I do acknowledge AWD offers better grip when ripping corners. Again everything is a trade-off. Do I need AWD? Probably no. Will I get AWD? Probably yes as that is what available in my local market.

I like my 2015 FWD Grand Touring CX-5, but the only thing I don't like is the power and acceleration. The 184 hp is simply not enough for the car, and I always feel like I am the slowest car on the road. I drive quite passively and I get decent MPG, so it is ok. As I said, everything is a trade-off.
 
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HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
A smallish person gets on and off the car as needed, but the weight of AWD will always on the car. It is like hauling 3 extra spare tires in the truck all the time, and it does negatively affect stopping distance and MPG. I do acknowledge AWD offers better grip when ripping corners. Again everything is a trade-off. Do I need AWD? Probably no. Will I get AWD? Probably yes as that is what available in my market.

On a side note, if no one wants a FWD turbo, then shouldn't all FWD turbo be left behind at dealerships and available now?
My point was how much difference do you feel with that smallish person in the car?

Maybe FWD turbos are hard to find because they are slow sellers so dealers don't order up many of them for inventory.

If you really want a FWD, did you think about a factory order? There may still be time before the 2022s roll out. In general, it's a misconception that factory orders are more expensive than off the lot, though I can't speak specifically to what Mazda does. If anything, with a factory order the dealer saves on the carrying costs of an inventoried vehicle. You don't know if you don't ask.

There might even be one on the boat or already landed he might be able to get for you. My sister-in-law does this repeatedly with VWs. First is was a hard to come by stick, then specific trim/option/color combos. It might have been a couple of weeks, but her dealer would always come up with one that was already on the ground.
 
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CarpeDiem

Under Pressure
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Superstitions
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2021 CE Turbo
Why would you want to put 250hp and 320 torque on a FWD car? Even though its heavy, it will not put the power down properly.

110% if you can afford it, go for AWD, otherwise it doesn t make sense to buy the turbo.
Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you, but it clearly does to many others. I don’t have much trouble “putting the power down” either on the track or street, ditto the last two blown FWD vehicles I’ve owned. But I guess if you’ve never tried it…

It’s a moot point moving forward since all future CX-5s will be AWD only. If you want FWD now’s the time to buy one.
 

erhayes

Contributor
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2021CX5 Reserve
AWD is nice when leaving a stop light when it is raining here in FL. You drive off and hear tires spinning beside you as they loose traction.
 

itsmike

CX-5er
Is the current 187 hp 2.5L underpowered for a daily driver? Not in my experience. 0-60 is an indicator but not particularly useful. 8.6 seconds is objectively quite adequate and vs. some 8.0 in a mainstream competitor is not something you'd ever notice unless you're an asshat, to use your phrase, in a vehicle not designed for that manner of driving.

All I’m saying is the 2.5L non turbo feels underpowered to me, and I’m pretty sure it’s a fairly common opinion. Perhaps because I don’t ever go around on public roads where I think it’s safe and cop-less to blow the carbon out, maybe I’ve never seen all it has to give. Truth is, I’ve never gone WOT on either of my CX-5s, because like you said, that would be driving a vehicle in a manner it’s not designed for, like an asshat. As would any type of driving where you would be worried about putting all the power possible to the wheels in your CX-5.
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
All I’m saying is the 2.5L non turbo feels underpowered to me, and I’m pretty sure it’s a fairly common opinion. Perhaps because I don’t ever go around on public roads where I think it’s safe and cop-less to blow the carbon out, maybe I’ve never seen all it has to give. Truth is, I’ve never gone WOT on either of my CX-5s, because like you said, that would be driving a vehicle in a manner it’s not designed for, like an asshat. As would any type of driving where you would be worried about putting all the power possible to the wheels in your CX-5.
And all I'm saying is the punch is there if you need it, whether going up a ramp or passing on said two-laner. Otherwise, I'm confused--underpowered at 1/2 throttle or 3/4 throttle? Seems like an oxymoron to me. Too loud under hard acceleration making you want to back off--that's a complaint I can see.
 
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