2014 Mazda CX-5: Smart Shifts
September 18, 2013
Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 features a smart six-speed automatic, and it's about as close to a sixth sense as you'll find in a contemporary automatic. Its intuition and response to your next move — a passing maneuver, for example — is uncanny and its rev-matched downshifts characteristic of a car that should be smaller and closer to the ground. Mazda attributes this alchemy to a dual personality.
At low speeds, the transmission slides gears like a conventional torque-converter automatic. Slightly lay into the pedal, however, and the torque converter locks up and delivers what editor Jacquot describes as an honest connection between the engine and front wheels, a feature that deserves praise as CVTs grow ubiquitous in the quest for fuel economy.
More remarkable is that the Skyactiv-Drive six-speed helps return real fuel economy. Currently, we're achieving almost 2 mpg combined better than the EPA rating.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 16,940 miles