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

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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.

More than 900 miles later, though, I'm happy to report the Mazda CX-5 is no less comfy and, to my ears anyway, it's just as quiet. (Although, "quiet" is always a relative thing when you're driving a budget-friendly compact crossover SUV.)

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: What a Great Automatic Transmission

March 3, 2014

2014 Mazda CX-5

I already knew I liked the six-speed automatic transmission in our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring before my road trip to Healdsburg, California, and back. But 932 miles on the road gives you plenty of time to think, and I'm pretty much in love with this transmission now. In fact, it's one of the top three reasons I might buy my own personal CX-5.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: SCBS Issues

February 12, 2014

2014 Mazda CX-5

Donna DeRosa talked about the Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system freaking out on the 2014 Mazda CX-5 when she neared our office parking garage gate back in July.

But I've one-upped her: My first weekend with the CX-5 (at 23,000-or-so miles, a testament to the car's popularity with the Edmunds editors) and SCBS got sassy with me out on the road.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Ready to Respond

January 16, 2014

2014 Mazda CX-5

You know those situations where you need not full-throttle, but just some brisk acceleration to merge onto the freeway or get past a weaving, inattentive laggard?

Well, with today's fuel economy-calibrated electronic throttle/transmission controls, this expected action is increasingly rare. You typically have to floor it and then, sometimes after a brief hesitation, you'll get all she's got. An annoying all-or-nothing proposition. Thankfully, our 2014 Mazda CX-5 is not like that.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Quick, Fun and Frugal

December 12, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 offered a lot to be grateful for during its time as my companion over the recent Thanksgiving break. The light holiday traffic gave me a chance to stretch its legs on the freeway.

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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: 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: 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.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: High-Altitude Driving Impressions

October 15, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Last weekend I took our 2014 Mazda CX-5 to the southern Sierra for a day hike up Mt. Langley. The trip meant driving up to about 10,000 feet with four adults loaded in the CX-5. It served us well.

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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: The Sedan Version

September 27, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 is, of course, a hatchback-compact-ute-crossover thing. That much is obvious, and it's among my favorites of the type.

But what about those looking for something in a sedan form factor? I recently had the opportunity to spend extended seat time in a 2014 Mazda 6 on the east coast, a car which at its core is underpinned by the same chassis as the CX-5. It's a CX-5 in a sedan wrapper.

At least, that was my expectation.

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2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD: Mountain Test Drive

September 25, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

This was my first time in our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 and I decided to take it to the trailhead of Mt. Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains. It's a demanding drive, climbing from sea level to about 6,000 feet. The last 15 miles is a steep climb with hairpin turns that require you to haul your speed down to about 10 mph. It was a good way to get to know this car.

Here are a few of my impressions of the drive.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Smart Shifts

September 18, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

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.

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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: 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: Best Four-Cylinder In Its Class

August 19, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Drive a 2014 Mazda CX-5 like ours and you'll probably think that its 2.5-liter engine is nice and gets the job done. That's true, at least in the grand scheme of things. But if you really think about it, this mill (and its six-speed automatic) deserves more praise than that. I'd argue that this is the best engine in its class.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: More Grip?

August 16, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

The 2014 Mazda CX-5 is one of the sportiest small crossover SUVs available in terms of handling feel. Yet I had a thought recently: What if you wanted to make it even sportier by replacing standard Toyo all-season tires with grippier summer-rated tires?

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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 2, High-Altitude Performance

August 6, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

It was well below this photo's 8,400-foot altitude that I began to notice a genuine reduction in the 2014 Mazda CX-5's power. No surprise, really. Without a turbo creating its own atmosphere such a power loss is expected. In fact, at this elevation, our 2.5-liter CX-5 felt a lot like last year's 2.0-liter CX-5 does at sea level.

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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.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Needs All the Power It Can Get

July 15, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

A few months ago, James Riswick noted that we purposely held off on getting a 2014 Mazda CX-5 until the larger 2.5-liter engine was available. I'm glad we did as the CX-5 wouldn't be nearly as satisfying with the weaker 2.0-liter engine. As it is, our CX-5 offers solid all-around performance, but it's far from quick. Subtract another 30 horsepower and it would feel pathetically slow.

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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 AWD: Measuring Ramp Travel Index

June 20, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD

I like our 2014 Mazda CX-5 quite a bit. It steers and handles nicely — zoom, zoom, and all that — and it's got some style. And the new 2.5-liter engine gives it decent power.

Ours is the all-wheel drive version, so one would assume it's good for at least a little low-level off-roading.

But how much? To my mind, this question begs a series of follow-up questions, one of which is this: how much articulation can the suspension manage? I recently drove our Mazda CX-5 up a 20-degree RTI ramp to answer that one.

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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: 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: Drives Like a Mazda

May 24, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

"It drives like a Mazda." These five words, as they pertain to our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5, are not just a compliment, they're a succinct description of its overall character and competence. They are to say, the action of the CX-5's various driving interfaces (steering, brakes, transmission and throttle) along with its suspension tuning coalesce into a spirited, precise and rewarding whole.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Ideal Suburban Runabout

April 22, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

While we've got some pretty fantastic cars in our long-term fleet right now (e.g., Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG), I happen to really like our 2014 Mazda CX-5 for more mundane reasons. Mainly, it happens to suit my current lifestyle quite well.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: A Spirited Small Crossover SUV

April 17, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

I happened to park next to this white Porsche 911 a few days ago. While I was primarily drawn to its white color scheme, which is in complete contrast to Edmunds' otherwise similar vintage "Black Plague" 1985 Porsche 911 long-term car we used to have, I could also see a classic Porsche owner happily owning and parking a 2014 Mazda CX-5 in his or her garage. Like a 911, the CX-5 has some spirit to it.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Quick-Shifting Automatic Transmission

April 16, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Thanks to its quick steering and relatively sporty suspension tuning, the Mazda CX-5 is one of the more entertaining small crossover SUVs to drive. But another contributing factor in my opinion is the CX-5's automatic transmission. It's responsive to gas pedal inputs, downshifting exactly when you need it and never feels flat-footed. I like the manual shift mode, too, as the shifts are quick and quite smooth. You get an extra feeling of control with this automatic, and that's pretty rare.

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2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD: Octane Rating

March 22, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

The topic of proper octane for our 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD came up recently. Since I had the car, I looked it up in the owner's manual. Of course, I found the familiar refrain:

[87(R+M/2) method] or above (91 RON or above)

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Can You Tow It Behind a Motor Home?

March 18, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

Oh, sure. You can tow anything behind a motor home if you load it onto a trailer. But serious RV aficionados consider that a huge hassle, and a two-wheel tow dolly isn't much better.

The ideal scenario is pictured above. A so-called "dinghy" vehicle rolls behind on its own four wheels, ready to be unhooked and driven on side trips while the motor home sits moored with its awnings unfurled and its sliders popped out in full relaxation mode. The extra towed weight, loading time and storage problem that a trailer or dolly represents puts an unwelcome damper on such proceedings.

So, can you flat tow a 2014 (or 2013) Mazda CX-5 behind a motor home?

The short answer is, "No."

A slightly longer answer appears on page 3-53 of the 2014 Mazda CX-5 owner's manual under the heading Recreational Towing.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Road Trip Impressions

March 12, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

I made my way from Los Angeles to Goodyear, Arizona, this past weekend in our Mazda CX-5. I've had plenty of time in our CR-V, so it would be interesting to see how Mazda's competitor stacks up over a long haul.

Like Honda's hugely popular SUV, the CX-5 feels like more of an urban runabout SUV. Its sharp steering, nimble handling and good sight lines make it well-suited to zipping through traffic, squeezing into parking spots and taking turns at higher-than-normal speeds just for the hell of it.

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2014 Mazda CX-5: Bigger Engine's Worth the Wait

March 6, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5

I know a lot of readers were yelling at us last year to get a long-term Mazda CX-5, especially in light of having a Honda CR-V at the same time. Yet, I'm very glad we waited for the 2014 model that gets a 2.5-liter "Skyactiv" four-cylinder on the Touring and Grand Touring trims, replacing the 2.0-liter that's still found on the Sport.

The new engine adds 29 horsepower and 25 pound-feet of torque, and it absolutely makes a difference. The CX-5 has always been blessed with excellent steering and the feeling that you're driving something that doesn't make buying a family vehicle seem like a penalty. Yet, it was hard to ignore how wheezy and under gunned it felt. When a CR-V seems muscular, you have a problem.

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Mazda CX-5 in VA is:

$159 per month*
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