Read the introduction of the 2014 Mazda CX-5 to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2014 Mazda CX-5 long-term updates.
What We Got
When it comes to picking out a CX-5, the big decision is which engine you want, or what you are willing to pay for. There's the base 155-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, or a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers 184 hp to the six-speed automatic transmission only. To get the extra power you have to step up to either the Touring or Grand Touring trim level.
We did the latter, which came standard with 19-inch wheels, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, moonroof, telescoping steering wheel and push-button start, among others. MSRP for a base Grand Touring was $28,870.
Add the Grand Touring Tech package, as we did, and the cost climbs $1,625. For the money you get a TomTom navigation system, auto-leveling and adaptive HID headlights, Smart City Brake Support (which automatically applies the brakes in an emergency situation) and keyless entry. Soul Red paint ($300), a rear bumper guard ($100) and a retractable cargo cover ($200) rounded out the options list. Mazda loaned us this $31,890 CX-5 for the test.
- "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 feel like a penalty. Yet it was hard to ignore how wheezy and underpowered it felt." — James Riswick
- From the test track: "Now this is a willing engine. Good power right off the line, continues so all the way to its 6,300-rpm shift point. Quick upshifts.... Good steering feel. Varying the throttle nicely affects the level of understeer, and the rear even steps out slightly. But the stability system is aggressive and a bit erratic in intervention, cuts throttle aggressively. The outside front tire howls in protest around the skid pad.... I really enjoy the way the CX-5 handles. The steering is intuitive, has good weighting without being heavy. It goes where you point it. The car doesn't lean excessively and it maneuvers around the slalom cones quickly. The stability system is always cutting in to some extent, but you can manage a decently quick run if you keep steering and throttle inputs smooth. If the ESC were a bit less intrusive, the CX-5 could definitely put up a quicker time." — Mike Monticello
- "At the end of the day, everybody likes small crossover SUVs. And I know this because our long-term 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. 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. But Mazda's compact crossover sure is a lot more comfortable. And there's a much greater sense of space inside. There's more breathing room between the driver and front passenger and a much larger buffer between the front and rear seats. That certainly makes it appealing when you have people in the backseat, and that, no doubt, is why almost a year has gone by and I've yet to take a road trip in the CX-5." — Erin Riches
- "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." — Josh Jacquot
- "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. I hit quite a bit of traffic on this trip, so each of the 450-mile legs between Los Angeles and northern Sonoma County, California, took close to eight hours. Although I did use the cruise control quite a bit, I didn't rely on it as an opportunity to relax my right foot or squirm around for a better position. I simply never got uncomfortable in this seat during this trip. The combination of the seat's contouring, cushioning and support was simply right on for me. The tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel does help with positioning (and I do telescope the wheel outward as far as it will go), but at 5 feet, 10 inches (with a 34-inch inseam), I don't need all the seat-track travel.
"Frankly, I didn't expect this level of comfort in the CX-5. I would certainly take another road trip in it, and if someone came to me seeking recommendations for a road-trip-worthy compact crossover, the Mazda CX-5 would be at the top of my list." — Erin Riches
- "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. I never got in over my head, but passes required plenty of advanced planning. A friend of mine who caravanned with us for part of the trip was driving a 2.0T-powered Audi Q5 and his rig had far better power for passing." — Josh Jacquot
- "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.... 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
- "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.... The CX-5's 40/20/40-split folding rear-seat arrangement saved the day. We lowered the center section and slid the crib through the hole where it secured nicely with a strap. This allowed us to keep the seats upright for child seat installation. A traditional 60/40-split folding arrangement would have had the kid sleeping on the floor. And no one likes that." — Josh Jacquot
- "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. Fortunately, I only had to put my 5'4" wife in front of the seat and she was able to make herself reasonably comfortable. But a big passenger, someone 5'10" or taller, wouldn't enjoy this scenario. It's what drives people to minivans." — Josh Jacquot
- "The navigation system in the 2014 Mazda CX-5 is sourced from TomTom and is included in the $1,625 Technology package along with keyless start, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, an auto-dimming mirror, HomeLink and the Smart City brake support system. That's excellent value when you consider the going rate for many navigation systems is $2,000. However, you largely get what you pay for with this TomTom nav. While I have little doubt it will get you where you want to go, I am unimpressed with its rather rudimentary graphics and the inability to scroll about its map as you can with virtually every other factory-installed navigation system.... I happily broke out my trusty Roadmaster 2004 North American atlas that has traversed this country on several occasions. It provided the map and my wife provided any directions that were needed. I'd much rather listen to her than robo-voice anyway and frankly, I find such old-school navigating makes for a better, more involved trip." — James Riswick
Maintenance & Repairs
The CX-5 requested routine maintenance at 7,500-mile intervals. We spent a total of $206 across three visits, averaging $69 each. The only money spent out-of-pocket beyond the norm was to replace a windshield. This set us back $789.
Beyond the routine, we experienced two issues with our Mazda. There was an ongoing and intermittent problem with the radio. A reset fixed it one time, but not completely. It remained slow to change channels and more so between bands. Our navigation system also required an update once.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
The combined EPA rating on our 2014 CX-5 was 26 mpg. This calculation was derived from estimates of 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. Our average observed fuel economy was 25 mpg overall. A single-tank best of nearly 32 mpg covered 375 miles.
Resale and Depreciation:
Our 2014 CX-5 had an MSRP of $31,890. After one year and 25,860 miles the projected value according to Edmunds' TMV® Calculator was $26,880, based on a private-party sale. That equated to depreciation of 15 percent. Some of this value retention was attributed to the fact that it was a 2014 model and we were still early in the 2014 calendar year. Not many CX-5s were in the used car market at the time.
Pros: New 2.5-liter engine provides ample power and solid efficiency. Front seats are some of the best in the class. Flexible cargo area makes the best use of available space. Sharp, predictable handling. Strong resale value.
Cons: Navigation system felt primitive. Radio malfunctions popped up intermittently. Rear seat can be tight when using child seats.
Bottom Line: With its excellent seats, commendable mileage and versatile cargo area, the CX-5 makes an excellent family vehicle that can handle road trips as well as it does the daily commute. Its lackluster navigation system and the occasional radio glitch were the only hiccups during an otherwise uneventful year.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||None|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||$206.13 (over 12 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||$789.21|
|Warranty Repairs:||PCM reflash, radio reset, TomTom navigation system update|
|Non-Warranty Repairs:||Windshield replacement|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||3|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||1 to replace the windshield|
|Days Out of Service:||1|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||31.6 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||18.0 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||25.2 mpg|
|True Market Value at service end:||$26,880 (private-party sale)|
|Depreciation:||$5,010 (15% of original MSRP)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||25,860 miles|
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.