Though less common, turbo drivers also voice complaints about less than smooth shifting, so it's not exclusively a CD issue.Yeah I wouldn’t worry about the minor decrease on CAFE MPG requirement by featuring only AWD on CX-5, but I do believe it’ll hurt the overall sales on CX-5. Just ask the Mazda dealers in Texas and see how many potential customers are willing to pay $1,200 for an AWD here. The same in California, other than some who may be interested in skiing. Like MX693 mentioned above, Honda introduced FWD option on its RDX to increase sales.
I don’t believe the rough shifting complaints are related FWD and AWD setups. It only started happening when Mazda introduced cylinder deactivation which also had to modified the transmission.
CD might have muddied the engineering waters within the 4 configs that had to be handled--normally aspirated FWD and AWD and the two turbo versions. Paring it down to two configs might be the path to simplification, fewer variables, allowing for hardware tweaks and an improvement path forward. I'm not seeing any mention of CD being eliminated. Maybe it is and you're right--it's existence was pretty much on the QT in the marketing so its elimination might also be on the down low. Otherwise, the shifting issues have been purportedly smoothed out while CD has been retained thereby making CD not the root issue. Of course the proof will be in the pudding--driving the thing.
As for the extra $1,300, Mazda's marketing choices can get bizarre when venturing into new waters, such as the upcoming 100 mile range, slow EV crossover and calling it "MX", same as the Miata. But they know what's been selling and how much they make on existing trims. And it might not be $1,300. Having to build only one trans version simplifies manufacturing--they could pass some savings on and shrink that gap a couple of hundred.
In the end, the calculus building off the momentum of glowing reviews probably goes something like this:
If you want best in class reliability (Consumer Reports carries a lot of weight), handling, interior appointments, and distinctive styling, now with a suspension evidently tuned for AWD-only along with additional modes supplementing Sport mode, and you don't want to pay that extra $1,300, fine, go buy a base FWD RAV4 but be sure to add $590 just for Blind Spot Monitoring and whatever else it doesn't have. You were probably looking at Kia/Hyundai anyway if $1,300 is a deal breaker. Or we have a CX-30 you might be interested in.
As for mid- and upper level trims, drivers paying that money who value the vehicle's characteristics won't have too much trouble with an extra $20/month on a 5 year loan.
What Mazda is saying is that while this vehicle is not quite "premium" as the CX-50 is purported to be, it is a cut above the everyman competition in a lot of categories that matter to a lot of people, and dry road drivers who value the vehicle's characteristics should be willing to pay up a little for that. Besides, you're getting an AWD vehicle--that's bound to be a superior dry road driver's experience at the limits.
It's a calculated risk.