The Vessel

For such a long trip, some people may take the option of renting a large RV or maybe at least a big SUV so they can stretch out and relax during the drive. The issue there is the added cost in both the rental fees and the fuel. We’re pretty loyal to our own personal fleet and have chosen to take our family car instead. A 2013 Mazda CX-5. It’s an early production model with the Touring package so we’ve got the built in navigation and sunroof. The CX-5 will save hundreds if not more on fuel costs for this journey. We’ve seen an average of 35MPG with a full load of kids and gear across the Smoky Mountains before and see no reason why we can’t maintain that average during most of our cross country trip.

Here’s a shot of the CX-5 when we brought it home back in June of 2012:
Our new CX-5

Our family was smaller back then, but the CX-5 has proven to be a perfect fit regardless. We’re no strangers to Mazdas either. This CX-5 marked the 10th Mazda we’ve owned in the last 15 years. Most of those being rotary powered toys for racing, but still :)

The CX-5’s fuel economy and sporty handling will make it the best choice for dealing with the winding roads of the Black Hills in South Dakota and the Pacific Coast Highway in California. It’s advantage is also it’s weakness. With all that sporty handling and fuel economy comes the sacrifice of SIZE. The CX-5 is a great compromise, but when you’re packing two small kids and two adults into it for a cross country trip that involves beaches, camping and more… well, it could use some more room for all your gear. Legroom and car seats are fine :)

The other downside to the CX-5 is although we love the styling, the rock chips and the bugs don’t. We’ll have to address the front end for some added paint protection before making the trek.

View all the modifications to the CX-5 in preparation for the trip.


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