Personal Comparisons - 2014 Mazda CX-5 Long-Term Road Test

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

2014 Mazda CX-5: Personal Comparisons

July 22, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

If you haven't checked-out Magrath's SUV comparison test you really should. Go ahead, I'll wait.

You're back? Great. Here's my take. Admittedly, my personal opinion on SUVs varies from nearly everybody else.

In the comparison, the Honda CR-V came out on top. By all accounts, just barely. When asked what I would buy, I'd say Mazda CX-5.

I'm not married, nor do I ever plan to be. I don't have kids, nor do I ever want them. These factors already put me in some sort of a minority of SUV buyers. Then again, I'd probably never buy an SUV anyway as I really don't need that much utility. I'm more about fun and performance.

And that's why I'd pick the Mazda.

Of course, it's no sports car, but it's about as sharp as real SUVs get when it comes to handling and it's a good second quicker to 60 mph than the others in the test. Then there's the styling. I think the CX-5 is quite attractive as SUVs go (I also have a thing for the Range Rover Evoque and even the Kia Sportage styling)

I don't really haul a lot of stuff, either. Recently I completed construction on a home entertainment center, and that required a vehicle that could haul several loads of solid teak from the local hardwood store 4 miles from home. If I didn't have SUVs at my disposal, as I do at Edmunds, I probably would have borrowed a friend's or relative's car. By the way, the last bunch of teak was transported in the trunk of the SLS.

The CX-5 does have pretty decent cargo capabilities, and honestly, if you and your kid(s) need more than that, you're probably hauling too much stuff around. Kids don't need everything from the playroom. They'll survive, just as I did.

Perhaps mine isn't a popular opinion when it comes to SUVs, but I'm sure there are at least a few other single-minded individuals out there that agree with me.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 10,470 miles


  • banhugh banhugh Posts:

    Thank you! That is exactly how I feel about which SUV should be the winner and which I would actually buy. The argument that "the CRV doesn't do anything better but do everything good enough" reminds me of the Camry. Which makes me realize that the CRV is the Camry of the small SUVs, a sad day for Honda, lol. The CX-5 is the only one that actually looks beatiful from ALL angles. It's the sportiest, just as efficient and roomy with the rest. Why it wasn't "good enough" for 1st place I don't get...

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I am married and I do have a child, but I agree that this idea that all the kid furniture/strollers/pack 'n plays/toys have to go everywhere the kid goes has gotten out of hand. The parent that is usually agitating for taking all of this crap needs to be told by the parent who usually ends up actually doing the packing that that this has to stop. If you know what I mean.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    And it's important that the CRV's lead in the cargo hauling department be understood in context. It is very good by small CUV standards. It is not a full size SUV. It is not a three row crossover. If you can't control yourself when you pack up the family for a vacation, you could run into trouble with the CRV as well. The CX5 must be striking a chord with consumers. It's an all-new model in a segment with a default good choice in the CRV. Yet I'm seeing CX5s all over the place. It may not have one the comparison. It will never be the leader in the segment. But it's doing very well for itself and I'm sure Mazda's pretty happy with the reception so far.

  • hank39 hank39 Posts:

    I had a friend who recently purchased a CRV over the CX-5. She personally felt the CRV the was roomier from the driver's seat perspective and it didn't feel as claustrophobic. Is this attributed to the shoulder and head room? Can anyone verify? This could be a perceived feeling.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    "I'm not married, nor do I ever plan to be. I don't have kids, nor do I ever want them. These factors already put me in some sort of a minority of SUV buyers. Then again, I'd probably never buy an SUV anyway as I really don't need that much utility. I'm more about fun and performance." Mark, you know I love you, but this should automatically disqualify you from making actual recommendations regarding the CUVs, right?

  • mtakahashi_ mtakahashi_ Posts:

    duck87 - I feel the love, thanks. Even though I would say I'd pick this or that personally, I'm confident I can put myself in the mindset of a particular segment buyer. Sure, I gravitate to small sports cars and motorcycles, but I realize most people need or want something more practical and I will often enlist those "real" people for their opinions. But how awesome would it be for me if all reviews were limited to sportbikes and exotic cars?!?

  • penboy penboy Posts:

    As a single, 20-something (Okay 29, I'm about to depart that age group) in SoCal that owns a CUV, you would have to pay me to get the Honda or Toyota, the Honda in particular. The money gets you far fewer features, a mediocre engine, an outdated and outmoded transmission, and no driving dynamics. The Toyota at least has appropriate feature content for this kind of money. When I bought my car the CX-5 had just come out, was selling near sticker and still had the 2.0L only. If the GT trim had come with the 2.5L back then, I'd be almost guaranteed to own one.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    If I were single, in my 20s and living there, you would have to pay me to own ANY of them.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @mtakahashi: That would be awesome @fordson1: +1

  • penboy penboy Posts:

    fordson1: I have a job that needs more space, and I much prefer it to hatchbacks. (Which is what it replaced) Oh, and I have a Miata in the garage for the weekends. That helps a lot.

  • salamito salamito Posts:

    Just wondering is the floor on the back seats flat or does it have that hump in the middle?

  • craigo81 craigo81 Posts:

    salamito: It's mostly flat. There is a sewn fabric fold that covers the hinge gap so you don't lose things down there. Sometimes things can catch on it but its mostly unnoticeable.

  • craigo81 craigo81 Posts:

    I don't think you have to be a single guy to appreciate the CX-5. It's not outfitted with nooks and crannies, but the interior is clean and put together well. Some of the complaints I see about it - tight steering, stiff ride on the 19's, mean that it has actual driving dynamics not usually seen in this segment. I'd like to see Edmunds do a mention of the throttle "kick down" button's affect on performance/mileage. Google it. It's neat. If I had one thing I'd change, it would be the head unit interface that looks like something from the last decade. Not sure why Japanese brands don't put more work into their UI's. The ipod interface is buggy until mazda releases an update.

  • salamito salamito Posts:

    Craigo-81 thanks so are you saying the person sitting in the middle seat in the back wouldnt be uncomfortable from a floor hump in the middle?

  • seabrooktx seabrooktx Posts:

    We own a 2014 CX-5 Grand Touring. The only CUV in its class that I enjoyed test driving as much was the Ford Escape with the Ecoboost 2.0T. Overall, I thought the CX-5 was a better package and value. Nice balance between MPG and performance. Nice balance between great handling and good ride quality. Great My only complaints are with the Nav/Radio/Headend: 1) Limited function Tom-Tom NAV 2) USB port takes up to 15 minutes on a heavily loaded iPod/iPhone to read. As a result we always use either Bluetooth or the 1/8" Aux port. The audio quality of the system is fine...way better than the Acadia SLT w/Bose system we had before the CX-5.

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