Like How It Drives, Love How It Looks - 2014 Mazda CX-5 Long-Term Road Test

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

2014 Mazda CX-5: Like How It Drives, Love How It Looks

October 24, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

I always enjoy driving our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5. The engine is powerful enough to cope with Southern California traffic conditions. The six-speed automatic transmission is best in class for shift timing and smoothness. The ride is controlled, yet never harsh. The handling borders on sporty, and the steering is quicker and more accurate than any rival's.

Yes, I like our CX-5. But I'm not excited about it like I was when I drove a CX-5 prototype with a version of Mazda's 2.2-liter Skyactiv diesel four-cylinder with a six-speed manual gearbox.

That turbodiesel version of the CX-5 went to Europe, but given the realities of the U.S. market, I'm not holding my breath it will ever come here.

That said, when I see our long-term Mazda CX-5 in the fading daylight, I can see the justification for buying it over a Honda CR-V: It looks great from any angle, including this one, which rarely flatters flat-butted crossover SUVs. If I was going to buy a crossover today, vanity might tip the decision in favor of the Mazda.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 19,304 miles


  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    You recently had the CR-V in the LT fleet. It was well regarded and did its job. But there was nothing like the raves that flow for the CX-5. Virtually every CX-5 post is gushing about one thing or another. From the LT posts you would think that the CX-5 was tops in the segment, hands down. Yet the CR-V recently won a comparison test at Edmunds. I'm wondering how that happened and if the Edmunds editors might be having second thoughts.

  • metalmania metalmania Posts:

    I interpret their differences in commentary and the CR-V's comparo "win" a little differently. I haven't read the comparo in a while, but I think the point was made that none of them are a bad choice. I think 1st place for the CR-V came from it being the overall most well rounded package of the group in that test. For the majority of buyers in this segment who are looking for the best overall combination of space, efficiency, and overall utility it probably is the best choice in purely practical terms. A lot of people just don't care if their car is fun to drive or looks great, it's just another necessary appliance. Auto journalists, and some of us as consumers, land more on the enthusiast side and do want some engagement in our vehicles. I think the point is the CX-5 gives up a little (but not much) on pure practicality, but if you're willing to trade a bit of interior room and a more serene ride for a little more "sport" and style then it's a better choice. A lot of people probably won't see that as a worthy trade though. I do, but I enjoy driving even if it's just cruising down the highway.

  • wheelmccoy_ wheelmccoy_ Posts:

    A friend turned down a CR-V because she didn't like the look of the rear, so while a good looking vehicle won't necessarily win buyers, and unattractive vehicle will certainly lose buyers. Looks matter. From the photo, I am glad to see (but not surprised) the front wheel is properly turned into the curb in the event the vehicle rolls backward. I've seen too many people do it wrong.

  • awappes awappes Posts:

    I have to say Mazda is making the BEST looking cars from the Japanese right now and the Skyactiv 4 bangers and Sky transmissions are class leading. Just picked up a '14 3 Grand Touring Sedan. Sexy and 184HP/185 LB/FT in a package just under 3k lbs, easily a 7 second 0-60 runner that gets 28 city/39 hwy. Sky auto is the absolute best automatic I have driven, it is not a luggy/laggy auto like many fuel economy minded autos. Quick downshifts that do not require pedal input planning to get a kickdown, smooth and crisp shifts during normal cruising, quick and crisp shifts during harder driving, the Sky Auto is stunning. <--- this coming from someone who has driven manual for 14+ years. Would love to see a '14 Mazda3 GT in your LT fleet.

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