I recently spent a week test driving the Mazda CX-5 SUV around the city while I was out and about exploring the restaurant and food scene in and around Vancouver.
This was my first time driving a Mazda and I must say that the CX-5 was a great car to drive in the city. It was not only good on gas consumption but it offered up a smooth ride overall. As it happened the week that I was test driving the car was the same week that the distancing restrictions were coming into place due to Covid-19. My week that was supposed to see me dine inside the restaurants turned into a week of takeout.
I visited Fife Bakery as we were craving their Chocolate Chip cookies, we were happy to find Chef/Owner Felix Yau working in his bakery that day, alas the cookies we were craving weren’t available, instead we settled for the Caramelized White Chocolate cookies, another tasty treat. His bakery features a selection of house-made breads, baked goods including the most amazing cookies.
I visited Miltomates Foods in the Port Kells area of Surrey to experience there Mexican food. They offer takeout and a full catering service that features their made from scratch Mexican food.
Started off with their house-made Horchata and then shared the Salsa, Guacamole and Chips with their house-made salsas. Had some other dishes including the Chicken Emmoladas, my favourite dish, it’s a similar type of dish to the enchiladas but the difference is that it is covered in mole, their is made with their house-made mole with 20+ ingredients, wonderful flavours in this mole.
Yearning for a Cortado we took a drive over to Timbertrain Coffee’s Depot in East Van, here I had a Cortado with oat milk and enjoyed it while sitting in the car as social distancing was key.
Chefs Tushar Tondvalkar and Evan Elman recently co-founded their Urban Tadka company that specializes in Awadhi cuisine (Indian). I did a Media tasting of their dishes to go, picking up from their East Van commissary, and taking them home. Tasted a selection of their dishes, my favourites were the Dal Bukkara (slow cooked black lentils in coconut milk, tomatoes and garam masala) and the Chicken Tikka Masala Kebabs (boneless chicken marinated in ginger garlic paste and kasuri methi then cooked over charcoal and finished in a creamy malai sauce); also had the Malli Ninari (goat shank cooked with fried onion, ghee, and whole garam masala), basmati rice, and garlic naan.
The 2020 Mazda CX-5 offers a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. along with a four-speaker stereo system, and HD radio on base models. A new 8.0-inch infotainment display is available on higher trim levels, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, a navigation system, a 7.0-inch LCD gauge cluster, satellite radio, a 10-speaker Bose stereo system, and four USB ports.
For one of the nights that week, and after craving more tacos, took drive over to the East West Market on Main Street to pickup some locally made tortillas. This is a great market that features a good selection of Latin products, some from local producers and others that have been imported.
The Mazda CX-5 offers good trunk storage space for groceries or personal belongings.
During the week I was able to take in some sunsets, one of those was at Queen Elizabeth Park. I have spent many years visiting this park as I lived fairly close by. It was a glorious evening and the red Mazda CX-5 sparkled with the sun setting in the background.
Inside the SUV their is ample seating and good legroom for the passengers.
The CX-5 features either a 2.5-liter, 187 hp four-cylinder engine, or a 250 hp turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and although all-wheel drive is optional for the base engine model it is included with all turbo editions of the crossover.
Towards the end of my week driving this Mazda, I visited one of my favourite Thai restaurants in downtown Langley. Here we got some delicious takeout, a selection of my favourite dishes to take home.
We had the Power Greens in peanut Sauce, Seasoned Lettuce wraps, Pad Thai Woon Sen, Tamarind Batons, Pineapple Cashew Rice, and the Thom Kha Gai Soup.
Mazda has made its i-Activesense suite of safety gear standard for the CX-5, which means all models now feature forward collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and lane departure warning. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is also included.
I really enjoyed the Mazda CX-5 it was a great car to drive in and around Vancouver in the to try some great eateries.
By: Richard Wolak
Disclosure: Mazda Canada provided me with the 2020 Mazda CX-5 for a week to test drive, and photograph.