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

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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: 25,000 Miles in the Central Valley

February 24, 2014

2014 Mazda CX-5

It looked like our all-wheel-drive 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring might come and go without me ever getting to take a road trip in it. Then, an opportunity to drive to Healdsburg in northern Sonoma County, California, presented itself and I knew exactly which vehicle I wanted.

In short, it was a great trip, and I'll be sharing thoughts from the road over the next few days. On the return leg, our CX-5 hit 25,000 miles in a thirsty citrus orchard near Firebaugh, California.

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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: Will the Tree Fit?

December 13, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Last year I managed to carry our Christmas tree is my old Acura Integra. That hatchback can hold anything. So, I figured our 2014 Mazda CX-5 would be even easier to accommodate a 6-foot tree with pre-installed stand.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Vents Don't Close

December 10, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

I had such good things to say about the 2014 Mazda CX-5, and still do. But just as I was about to make out with the CX-5, I go and find this: vents that don't really, fully, completely shut. Such a buzzkill.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Smudgy Screen

December 06, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD came out of the car wash today all neat and pretty, except for its nav screen. I wiped it down with a glasses cloth, and it was all better.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: You Don't Need an X3

November 11, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

This isn't a fair post. This is apples to oranges, soap to ice cream, coals to Newcastle. Maybe that last one's out of context, but this remains a fairly useless post which in spite of itself presents, I think, a valid point.

The 2014 Mazda CX-5 is not a BMW X3. But I'd say it's just as good. Sure, the X3 might be stitched together better. It's quieter. The switchgear generally has a heft to it that we automotive writers wax about as feeling "substantial" and "buttoned-down." We're all suckers for the way Germans deploy mass and aluminum.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Tailgate Party

September 24, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

When you're done with a long hike, it's nice to sit down and kick off your boots. The cargo area of the 2014 Mazda CX-5 is just the right height to perch on while you unlace your hiking boots, breathe a sigh of relief and slip into something comfortable.

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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: Navigation System Gathering Info

September 11, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

I tapped the starter button in our 2014 Mazda CX-5 and was greeted by this screen on the navigation system. It doesn't pop up each time, just this time. Despite the polite tone, I declined. Would you?

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2014 Mazda CX-5: All the Utility You Need

September 10, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

It's easy to convince yourself that you need something bigger than a compact SUV. Anyone with more than two kids can probably justify it without much trouble, but for everyone else, compact SUVs make perfect sense.

I drove our 2014 Mazda CX-5 over Labor Day weekend and found its size perfectly suited for all the boring stuff you end up dealing with when you have an extra day off. As you can see, some new additions to the yard fit without even trying and the seats are a snap to fold when you need serious cargo space.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Floor Mat Attachment Failure

August 30, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Modern driver-side floor mats are held in place by a pair of clips, snaps, hooks or Velcro pads. Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 has a couple of big plastic pegs that protrude up from the floor carpet where they stand ready to snap into big plastic grommets that sandwich the floor mat.

I know. This is gripping stuff.

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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: Hidden Start Button

July 23, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

I can appreciate the convenience of keyless ignition. But finding the CX-5's start button removes at least some of that convenience. From where I sit, it's almost completely covered by the windshield wiper stalk.

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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: Any Idea What This Is?

July 12, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Does this look familiar to you? It doesn't to me. It's on the left side of the dashboard in our 2014 Mazda CX-5 just behind the turn signal stalk. It looks like some kind of infrared receptor along with a possible opening for a connector.

I flipped through the owner's manual and found no references to it. In fact, most of the diagrams didn't even show it was there. Seems odd that Mazda would use a relatively visible area of the dashboard for something that's not used by the driver. Could have put a change drawer there.

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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: Quiet Ride

June 28, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

I was out running errands in our long-term Mazda CX-5, and I came to a rather long stop light. I took the opportunity to change music selections.

That's when I noticed, without any musical interference, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 is really quiet when idle. It's much quieter than our long-term Honda CR-V was, even though Honda made an effort to reduce noise in the CR-V's cabin.

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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: Zero Range

June 7, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

I like that the 2014 Mazda CX-5 will count its remaining fuel range all the way down to zero. This is how it should be. Some other vehicles out there, like my wife's GMC Acadia, don't do this. When the GMC's fuel range drops below 50 miles, the display switches to a constant "low fuel" which is, of course, pointless.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: No Paddle Shifters?

May 31, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

I think it's a sin that our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 is without paddles shifters on its steering wheel. It is a Mazda right? Zoom Zoom and all that.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Packed for a Road Trip

May 21, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Several weeks back I packed our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 to the gills with everything a family of four could use on a weekend adventure in Arizona. Then we drove 350 miles across the California and Arizona deserts to Prescott, Arizona. Because we had bikes, we also had bike gear which filled the cargo hold. However, the CX-5's flexible mesh cargo cover handily stretched to accommodate our oversized load.

Still, we used every inch...

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Finally, a Bike Rack

May 20, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

The 2014 Mazda CX-5 is a well-packaged crossover SUV. Even-so, there's no way to put two bikes, four people and a bunch of gear inside for a road trip. Our solution was the Mazda Accessories trailer hitch.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Ball Mount Storage

May 16, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

A few weeks ago we installed the Mazda Accessories trailer hitch on our CX-5. It was an easy two-hour process.

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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: Details Count

May 13, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

See those ridges in the surface of the speedometer? They don't need to be there. In fact, when there isn't direct sunlight shining on them like there is here, you don't even notice it. And that's exactly why I like the fact that they are there.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Less Than Perfect Sun Visors

May 7, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Why are sun visors so hard to execute properly? They've possessed the capability to hinge to cover the side window for well over 50 years, but few manage to do it right.

Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 is one of these. In an attempt to address the issue, it has those extendo-flaps that slide out to make the visor longer in the side position.

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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: Second Row Seatback Won't Latch

March 26, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

"The strangest thing happened to our 2014 Mazda CX-5. The second row seatback won't latch." That was the statement that greeted me as I walked into the office. I grabbed the key and walked down to our garage to take a look.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Interior Tour Video (x2)

March 25, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Here are two video tours of our 2014 Mazda CX-5 interior. See them after the break.

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2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD: Navigation System Easter Egg

March 21, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

Wouldn't it be great if you could actually select the vehicle you'd like to drive with the push of a button? I discovered this navigation preference screen in our 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD. See what happens next after the break.

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2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD: Fuel Gauge Tricks

March 13, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD

The miles are only just beginning to accumulate on our 2014 Mazda CX-5, and its fuel economy performance hasn't yet settled into a pattern. But at this point I'm digging the fuel gauge, even though it uses segments instead of an analog needle.

Each quarter-tank is divided into three segments, except the last quarter, which has six. I almost always fill up down near an eighth-tank or thereabouts, so I really like the extra resolution down where it counts.

But wait, there's more.

The Average MPG readout just above has a welcome customization feature.

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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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