All the Utility You Need - 2014 Mazda CX-5 Long-Term Road Test
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2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mazda CX-5: All the Utility You Need

September 10, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

It's easy to convince yourself that you need something bigger than a compact SUV. Anyone with more than two kids can probably justify it without much trouble, but for everyone else, compact SUVs make perfect sense.

I drove our 2014 Mazda CX-5 over Labor Day weekend and found its size perfectly suited for all the boring stuff you end up dealing with when you have an extra day off. As you can see, some new additions to the yard fit without even trying and the seats are a snap to fold when you need serious cargo space.

Parking is also a piece of cake in the CX-5 as it will fit into a spot even when fellow drivers don't bother to stay between the lines. The blind-spot warning system works well even though I try not to rely on it and the backup camera has a good range of view to complement a look over your shoulder.

I think the best part of the CX-5 is the fact that you don't feel like you're driving a four-cylinder SUV. It's quick to respond to steering and throttle inputs and the suspension doesn't let it keel over on sharp turns. Engine and road noise is kept in check as well, so it remains comfortable in most driving situations. In other words, a perfect match for a holiday weekend.

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 16,654 miles


Comments

  • kirkhilles_ kirkhilles_ Posts:

    We recently got our Pilot and I have to disagree. The small SUVs really don't offer much more utility than a sedan. Take a close look at that picture - its really not much of a trunk and that stuff could've easily fit in a Civic. A midsize SUV is really the sweet spot. That extra space you get is HUGE when going on a trip and when trying to transport larger stuff. My Dad gave us their old TV and in his RAV4 had to tie it up at crazy angles to get it to fit. We took it out and it fit perfectly in our Pilot. No fuss, no drama. At the same time, its not one of those "monster" SUVs where you have difficult time fitting into parking spaces and such.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @kirkhilles: "The small SUVs really don't offer much more utility than a sedan". Well yeah, not if you carry cargo AND people, like that road trip you were talking about. Let's say however, that you needed to transport a large desk. There's simp

  • evodad evodad Posts:

    I kind of agree with Kirk, our 2011 cr-v may have had one of the best in class cargo capacities at the time (I think), but it's a small floor area. Not really beneficial to the two greyhounds we have over the lower rated cargo area of our previous ford edge which had a larger sq footage of floor space. Because of such issues and a lease coming to an end, we just picked up an '07 MDX which although not huge does offer the extra bit of space we'd like along with the extra 2 seats when needed. Oh and it doesn't feel like you're going to get run over while trying to accelerate and merge onto the highway. I do still think the compact suv/cuv is perfectly usable in 95% of situations for most people and wouldn't have been unhappy not moving up in size but hey it's not my primary vehicle.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    Small CUVs like the CX-5 can be very useful. Still there are some cargo/passenger needs that require something bigger. But looking at the pictures and reading the post, I can't help but think back to all the comparison tests that gave the edge to the CR-V because it has a couple additional cubic feet of cargo room. There really aren't too many situations where the differences in cargo capacity between each of the top small CUVs is actually going to make a difference. If your cargo doesn't fit in a CX-5, chances are the CR-V isn't going to be the answer. You're probably going to need a mid size or 3-row CUV.

  • along the lines of what Kirk said: If the CX5 has all the cargo space everyone needs then in reality you could likely get by with a Mazda3. The CX5 does have more and yet it isn't enough to bring home a chair from the furniture store in most cases. I was hoping to replace a pickup with the CX5 but there are just so many things it can't hold and renting a truck is such a time suck and pain. Sheets of cement backerboard? nope, 10' pipes? nope, chair for the corner of the living room? nope, Patio furniture set? probably not, old tile counter top to the dump? eeek! --- But you do gain a decent amount of height in a CUV over a sedan and even a bit over a regular HB. But both a CUV and a HB have better loading heights than most sedans as there isn't the trunk edge to lift things over. My back won't take leaning in to lift a 60lb back of mortar up and over a sedan trunk edge but out of a hatch it isn't bad. --- Now the drawback to a HB is there isn't much separating you from your cargo. The wrong kind of wreck and the cargo can go over the seat back and right at you. You can end up like this: http://graphics1.snopes.com/photos/accident/graphics/paintcar2.jpg

  • huisj huisj Posts:

    The small SUV vs. sedan argument is silly. If you have anything remotely tall in your cargo, the sedan isn't going to work well. The small SUV vs. other small SUVs argument is somewhat true, though sometimes packaging of the interior can tell as much of the story as the cubic feet specs given by the manufacturers. Two SUVs with the same cargo capacities might realistically carry very different amounts of stuff in the real world. If you jump down a few classes in vehicle, that packaging becomes a really big deal. Try fitting things in a Fiesta or a Versa or a Yaris that you can fit into a Fit. The Fit is the most smartly packaged small car ever.

  • s197gt s197gt Posts:

    i wanted to like the cx-5 and i recently test drove a '14 touring. i am sure it would be my favorite small suv. but i'm sorry, it felt exactly like i was driving a 4-cylinder. while a great engine for what it is there is no comparing it to the smoothness of the pentastar v6 in the '14 grand cherokee laredo i also test drove. different price points obviously but your saying that the cx-5 is all you really need. well, maybe you are right, but it isn't what i want. and i wanted to want it. i didn't think it handled all that sporty quite honestly. i didn't test drive any other small suvs so i suspect you could call it "sportiest" of the small suvs. i cut the test drive short because it didn't take long for me to realize that while i would pay more for a '14 laredo i also knew i would be getting so much more vehicle...

  • s197gt, that's why there are hundreds of different car options out there, because we buy what we want, not what we 'need'. If we only bought what we 'needed' at the grocery store there would only be a couple of items in your grocery bag. Everything else isn't needed to survive but it does make life more enjoyable.-- interesting cross comparison between the GC and the CX, different league on just about everything, size, power, mpg, reliability? --- But if everyone was just issued the car they needed we'd have 3 cars manufactured.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @zimtheinvader: Why do you want to put all that stuff in the car? If you really don't want the truck, just buy something else and a small trailer. All the things you described sounded pretty light and just bulky, so that might be a decent alternative...

  • nsbio1 nsbio1 Posts:

    s197gt: For the Laredo, you will spend more on the car, gas, and on repairs as well. It might be worth it for you, but it might not be for some. This is why there is always a choice: small, medium, or large (hold the fries).

  • quadricycle, the chair wouldn't fit, it was about 2" too big for the opening. it was our first big letdown with the new car that we bought bigger than we needed because it could haul stuff. The backerboard was too wide and would have made a mess trying to rest it at an angle on the interior (yeah, that's the other part of the problem when you get a CUV that is too nice inside for its own good) The pipes wouldn't fit with the hatch closed and there isn't a way to strap the hatch down on them with them sticking out. And it depends on the size of the patio furniture. --- I just got spoiled driving a small pickup just about everywhere for years as there was no hesitation to just buy stuff when we saw it rather than have to go "ohhh, will that fit?" The insurance on the truck is so cheap I could have just kept it and got a Mazda3 or Golf/GTI instead.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @zimtheinvader: I had meant that you could maybe just get a light, single axle, utility trailer to pull with the CX-5. I don't know if the Mazda is rated for towing, but those are only about 800-900lbs unloaded. As for getting a new Mazda3 or Golf argumen

  • 7driver 7driver Posts:

    The CX-5 is rated to tow 2000lbs. Most midsize sedans aren't rated to tow anything nowadays. Although I suspect the reasons are legal rather than technical (wimps!), I wouldn't want to be denied a towing related insurance claim because of a missing rating.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Missing towing ratings for sedans isn't just a legal thing, but a marketing thing. The automakers have the American public convinced that nothing short of a 10,000 lb 12-row Suburbadition XL Heavy Duty with 27 cupholders and individual TVs and DVD players for every seat is sufficient for the basic transportation needs of a couple and small child, let alone 2, maybe even, gasp, 3 children. If Americans were to find out that everywhere else in the world, entire families get by just fine, commuting, traveling, furnishing their houses, even towing! with compact or midsize sedans, maybe they would make more reasonable buying decisions, and the automakers couldn't have that now could they? But we'd maybe get a lot of the cool cars we're currently missing out on.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @stovt001: Along the lines of what you're saying, check out some of the statistics provided in the new Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon article. Its kinda bad... Only half even use them for towing (probably smaller things too), only 35% of Tahoe owners have children

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