Drives Like a Mazda - 2014 Mazda CX-5 Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mazda CX-5: Drives Like a Mazda

May 24, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

"It drives like a Mazda." These five words, as they pertain to our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5, are not just a compliment, they're a succinct description of its overall character and competence. They are to say, the action of the CX-5's various driving interfaces (steering, brakes, transmission and throttle) along with its suspension tuning coalesce into a spirited, precise and rewarding whole.

That Mazda makes even their mainstream cars a cut above its peers in terms of driving dynamics isn't news. It's been this way for decades. It's also been the case that this joie de vivre was accompanied with a persistent "yeah, but," powertrains that were lacking in power or mediocre in fuel economy, or (usually) both.

But the goofily-named Skyactiv suite of technologies has made Mazda the cake-and-eat-it manufacturer. The CX-5 is probably the best embodiment of this, providing driving dynamics unheard of elsewhere in its segment and enviable fuel economy.

Were I in the market for something in the CUV segment, I'd be making a beeline for the local Mazda dealer.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor


  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    I don't know why people keep saying that Mazda's are superior in driving dynamics. Is their marketing that effective? Sure, that philosophy holds when you're sitting in a Mazdaspeed3 (or Mazdaspeed anything), the new Mazda 6, and obviously the RX-8 and MX-5... but I had the misfortune of renting a base Mazda 3 for a week and in terms of driving dynamics it was truly a piece of crap. I had no idea what the front tires were doing most of the time through the dead steering, brake feel was only so-so, the throttle response is lazy, and it had the worst automatic transmission outside of a Corolla. The Mazda 5 is pretty similar. With so many people claiming the CX-5 is a cut above in terms of driving dynamics I have to believe that there's something to it, but not every car in Mazda's lineup is a gem.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    duck87, I think the point is about how Mazdas perform relative to cars in their segment. No, the Mazda3 you rented doesn't belong in the same conversation as the Mazdaspeed3, RX-8 or Miata. But when you're talking about the compact class and the base models typically found on rental lots, I wonder which car would be more dynamically satisfying than the Mazda3. The Mazda5 doesn't really have any competition but it is more dynamically satisfying than the departed Kia Rondo. I drive a CX-9 and when I bought it (2009) I tried just about every other 3 row crossover. Pilot, Highlander, Acadia, Enclave, Tribeca. They all had their strengths and I love the diversity in this class as there truly is something for everyone. The CX-9 was by far the most engaging drive or all of them. It was not even close. It gave up a bit in terms of features and ride quality and it's no standout when it comes to efficiency. But it was the most entertaining drive in a fairly boring segment. So that's the point of this post. I think Mazda does a nice drive of understanding each segment and delivery the most fun driver in each.

  • uthiker uthiker Posts:

    duck87, The first Mazda I ever drove was Mazda 3 rental. Based on my driving experience with that car . I now own a 2007 MX5 GT and 2014 CX5 GT AWD. I traded my 2010 Rav 4 V6 for the CX5 and don't miss the Toyota at all . This is the first time since 1972 I have not owned a Toyota. If you like to drive FUN cars MAZDA ROCKS!

  • vtx1 vtx1 Posts:

    I love my 2014 CX5 Touring AWD as well. It actually drives a lot better than many sedans out there with mushy handling and dynamics. The 6-speed tranny is a true gem. Perfect ratios and very responsive. I wish I had little more power when I'm carrying passengers in the backseat, but that's a rarity. I'm consistently getting 26-27 mpg.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Yeah yeah, I knew I would get a lot of hate for what I wrote, but I won't apologize for the piece of crap I had to drive. And for the record, base model to base model, I thought the Ford Focus had way better handling, especially over bumps, than the Mazda 3. As for the CX-5, I don't know what kind of sedans you drive but there's no way it's better than a Fusion or Accord.

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