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

Comfort

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Driver Seat Makes the Cut

March 12, 2014

2014 Mazda CX-5

I've gone on about how I like the driving position in our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5, probably more than once. But now I've taken a real road trip in our small crossover. In light of this experience, I can only declare that the Mazda CX-5 has a superb driver seat for a vehicle in this price range.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Ride Quality Is Right on for a Road Trip

March 11, 2014

2014 Mazda CX-5

Before my road trip in our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD, I prepared myself for the reality that it might not be as comfortable and quiet over the long haul as the current-generation Honda CR-V, which I once drove to Phoenix and back.

By a rounding error of horsepower and an entire bucket of torque, our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG is the most powerful car we've ever had in the long-term test fleet.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Driving Position Makes a Difference

February 10, 2014

2014 Mazda CX-5

Very likely, I said something nice about the driving position in our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 about 15,000 miles ago. Well, I don't care. I'm going to talk about it again.

See, if push came to shove, I'm not sure I'd buy our CX-5 over a Honda CR-V. I really like the Honda's interior: The quality of the materials is great, there's storage everywhere, I like the simplicity of the controls, and I think it's quieter at highway speeds. But, but, the Mazda CX-5 has the better driving position, at least for me.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Seat Heaters Stay On

January 20, 2014

2014 Mazda CX-5

I've been driving our 2014 Mazda CX-5 for past two days. The first time I slid into the CX-5, I set the seat heaters immediately, of course.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Wish I Could Get More Time With It

December 09, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

At the end of the day, everybody likes small crossover SUVs. And I know this because our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 is rarely available when I want it. It wasn't like this with our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 or our 2012 Mazda 3 hatchback (with the then-new 2.0-liter Skyactiv engine).

I got plenty of time in those cars, but the CX-5 has been signed out four nights out of five over the last 20,000 miles. Of course, I liked driving those Mazda 3s more than I like the CX-5, which sits up higher and simply isn't interested in cornering with the same immediacy.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Rain Performance

December 02, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when it rains in Southern California, drivers lose their minds and anything they ever knew about driving. On a recent afternoon, the snarled traffic turned a usually easy 6-mile trip into an hour-long slog.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Sierra Road Trip

October 14, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Last weekend I drove our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 to the Sierras for a day hike up Mt. Langley, the southernmost 14,000-foot peak in the California. The trip totaled almost 627 miles and climbed to 10,000 feet. As usual, the CX-5's comfort and dynamics were in balance. The crossover provided both easy cruising and the handling necessary for mountain road driving.

But the real story was the fuel consumption.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Who Is That neighbor?

September 16, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

If our 2014 Mazda CX-5 didn't have such thick A-pillars, I would've gotten a clear shot of this neighbor who happens to have impeccable taste in sports cars. As for giving chase: Fuhgittaboutit. Gonzo.

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2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD: Hitting Triple Digits, But Not the Fun Kind

September 12, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

We used our 2014 Mazda CX-5 to haul gear to and from the test track the other day, and were pleased to discover the air-conditioning system is fully capable to deal with a Southern California heat wave.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Big-Mile Observations

August 12, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Last weekend our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 plowed through nearly 1,300 miles from Southern California to the Sierra Buttes East of Downieville and back. Just like the Wyoming trip the week before it never missed a beat.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Wyoming Road Trip Part 1

August 1, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Last week, I piled the miles on our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 driving it more than 2,500 miles to Wyoming where the roads are straight and empty.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Excellent Split-Folding Rear Seats

July 25, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

In April I took a road trip with the family to Arizona. There are four of us and we absolutely filled the 2014 Mazda CX-5 with our stuff, including two bikes on the hitch-mounted rack. We have a one-year old who requires a Pack 'n Play collapsible crib. If you've never dealt with one before, those things are huge.

We needed a place to put it.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: For-Real Sun Visors

July 24, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

This is what the 2014 Mazda CX-5's driver's side sun visor looks like in its fully deployed position. There's full coverage to the side thanks to that pull-out plastic panel. It is excellent.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Best Seats In Any CUV

July 19, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

I think these are the best seats in any crossover utility vehicle. It's a bet I'm willing to take, too, because I'm about to drive our long-term Mazda CX-5 2,500 miles to Wyoming and back. They're supportive, soft enough and they even look good.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Front Seat Comfort

July 16, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

One of my favorite things about our 2014 Mazda CX-5 is the simple comfort of the crossover's front seats. Firm, but not too firm, just enough bolstering to hold me in place without squeezing. It's easy to settle in.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Not Bringing the Heat

July 10, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Like Donna D., I like me some seat heat. My occasionally sore back (due to a compressed lumbar disc/a workout/a run/old age) appreciates the soothing warmth that a heated seat brings to the back.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Rear-Facing Child Seat Fitment

June 27, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Rear-facing child seats represent a real challenge, mostly for the person who has to sit in front of them. Because they recline heavily, they eat into longitudinal space. And there's no exception in the CX-5.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Seventeens Are Enough

June 21, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

The 19-inch wheels on our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring sure are pretty, but for me, the sacrifice in ride quality just isn't worth it.

I remember thinking the same thing almost two years ago when I drove a bunch of European-spec CX-5 prototypes. Those vehicles all had summer tires (because Europeans are willing to slap on a set of snow tires when the ground freezes, I'm told), but the ones with 19-inch wheels and tires were a little too harsh over bumps for my liking whereas the ones with 17s were acceptably compliant.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: San Diego Road Trip

June 10, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

As luck would have it, I ended up with our long-term 2013 Mazda CX-5 for a weekend road trip down to San Diego to see my horrible baseball team play the somehow not as horrible Padres. Pleasantly, the drive down was the better part of the trip, as my wife and I took a scenic detour on California 79 through the old mining town of Julian.

The town itself is nice enough with a main street filled with shops, a great many of which sell pies for some reason. We skipped those and went for The Bailey Woodpit Barbecue instead. I'm not a BBQ aficionado by any means — I would direct you to the gentlemen driving the Grand National around Texas — but it made me happy.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Honda CR-V Legroom Comparison

May 15, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

How roomy is the 2014 Mazda CX-5? For quick comparison, here's how our CX-5 stacks up in front- and rear-legroom against the 2013 Honda CR-V:

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Child Seats and Leg Room

April 1, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

This morning I installed this Britax convertible child seat in the CX-5 to see how much rear leg room the Mazda offers. Turns out, there's plenty. With the front passenger seat set in my preferred position (I'm 5'9" with a 32- to 34-inch inseam), there's ample leg room in the rear.

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2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD: Headlights That Turn With the Steering

March 20, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

My body is still trying to get over the Spring-forward time change, and the dark mornings, but it does give me occasion to observe the nifty headlamps in the 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD. Click through to see the beams follow the corners on a foggy morning.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Road Trip Impressions

March 12, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

And now for everything not involving the dog. My vehicle choices for my weekend road trip from Los Angeles to Goodyear, Ariz., were the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5. Honestly, my first criterion for the weekend was "Which would be better for my still-problematic back?" A repeat of the Dart fiasco was not an option. A quick sit in both revealed they both seemed rather equal, so I went with the Mazda since I haven't driven it much yet. Plus, it could use a few hundred words devoted to its being in these early days.

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2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD: Trailhead Shuttle for Five Adults

March 8, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD

This weekend a group of five of us went for a hike along a short segment of the Pacific Crest Trail. I say "short" because this trail stretches between Mexico and Canada.

Obviously, this is not a loop trail, and we did not care to cover the same ground in out-and-back fashion. So we needed a two-car strategy which put our 2014 Mazda CX-5 at one end of the segment we were tackling and my buddy's first-generation Toyota Sienna minivan at the other.

We decided to leave the minivan and the end of our route and have all five hikers cozy up in the CX-5 for the 20-minute drive to the starting point. Why not the other way around? Think about it. A bit more separation distance between the parties would be preferable after we finished the 9.5-mile hike, would it not?

We're all full size adults, but no one arrived at the roadside pull-off parking area (look carefully above) with any complaints. One friend, Cliff (a great hiker name, that) owns a 2012 Honda CR-V just like the one in our long-term fleet. I asked him how it was back there.

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