We did our first “modifications” to the V&R Machine. I think we gained about 15 horsepower based on the stickers were applied on the C-pillar glass.
Let’s dive into our first moments with the V&R Machine…
It’s been a few weeks since George Torline brought home the V&R Machine. He had our Machine Gray Metallic 2021 Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD at his place in the Twin Cities and have been using it sparingly.
The V&R Machine just slipped over 16,000 miles on the odometer. Even with that kind of mileage, our plan was to use it locally for a while before subjecting it to road trips and such. Also, it is a vehicle to be used when a press vehicle is not scheduled. Or, when George needs to work on one of the press vehicles, we can swap the V&R Machine for that purpose.
There are a few things to note about the V&R Machine. For one, the upgraded leather seats proved to be comfortable. Although George was concerned about the seat cushion in relation to his body, I felt absolutely fine. The Bose 10-speaker audio system was crisp and clear. Yet, this CX-5 did not have SiriusXM on board. Instead, we used our smartphones to mirror on the Mazda Connect infotainment system. We both have an account with SiriusXM for our favorite channels, while I have plenty of music files on my phone.
We did our first “modifications” to the V&R Machine. I think we gained about 15 horsepower based on the stickers were applied on the C-pillar glass. The requisite V&R white letter stickers were joined by a J.W.P. Automotive one on one of the panes of glass. George added a small sticker from the Kannonball Rally, an event he is associated with. Any additional stickers and decals we apply on the CX-5 will represent the entities that George and I – together and separately – support (and vice versa).
Then, George added a set of all-season floor mats to the V&R Machine. These came at the right time with a return to winter conditions. The mats are for both the front and rear seat areas, as well as the cargo hold behind the rear seats.
I bet you’re wondering why we got the CX-5 – a vehicle that is very common in our area. Let’s delve into some facts about the CX-5 here. First off, it is the best-selling model in Mazda’s lineup in the USA, Canada, Australia – to name a few markets. V&R has reviewed his second generation CX-5 three times – the first coming out of the Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally in 2018. I did a review for another publication when this second-generation model came out in 2017. To say that I am familiar with the CX-5 is a complete understatement.
Granted, it would be sexier to get the turbocharged version of the Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter engine. The non-turbocharged engine is more than suitable for our needs. It will also be more cost effective when it comes to running costs. There’s no need to fuel up with Premium, as it is recommended on Turbo models. Although, we agree to use the best regular unleaded fuels out there for the CX-5.
Speaking of running costs, George instituted a key procedure for usage of the V&R Machine. There is a log on board that we’ll use to record our driving stints, as well as fuel purchases. It’s not something digital, but a good ol’ notebook with a pen. This is used for data that you’ll see in future articles on the V&R Machine. I have since created a spreadsheet based on the log that can be shared digitally between George and I. We agreed to record V&R related driving on the spreadsheet. I also added magazine work with a special notation, as well.
In my first two-week stint with the CX-5, I had a few things planned for it. One, is to get me to a medical appointment. Plus, some on-site work for this and other publications. Then, there was the run to Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport for a day trip to drive a couple of new vehicles near Chicago.
During my second week with the V&R Machine, we took it in for a four-wheel alignment to make sure it is fine. A few adjustments were made, and the CX-5 was driving like new. It also made an appearance at the opener for the monthly Cars and Caves meet at Chanhassen MotorPlex and at a wedding in White Bear Lake over the weekend.
So far, the V&R Machine has done very well in maintaining traffic and getting me to where I need to be.
As far as fueling goes, we stuck with using regular – even at the $3.49-3.69 per gallon pump price range. There are some guidelines that we agreed upon – including fueling up with the highest quality fuel around. Sometimes that is not as readily available, but we always shoot for Shell and BP for our fuel.
So far, the V&R Machine averaged 27.0 MPG. Not bad, really.
The CX-5 has returned to George for some maintenance and a much-needed rest. Having the V&R Machine – i.e., a “team car” – at our disposal is a huge help for some of us. It helps when our vehicle work schedule has a lull to keep the mileage and the workflow going.
Here’s to more adventures with the V&R Machine…
All photos by Randy Stern