"We'd love it even more with another 30 horsepower onboard, but the Mazda CX-5 is still a fun drive despite its meager engine power."
That's what we wrote after our 2013 Mazda CX-5 road test with the 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine. For 2014, Mazda has answered the call by giving Touring and Grand Touring versions of the 2014 Mazda CX-5 a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 184 hp. That's exactly 29 more hp than the 2.0-liter engine, which remains standard on the 2014 CX-5 Sport.
Even more important is the new engine's extra 35 pound-feet of torque. We're driving a 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring around trendy Austin, Texas, where rush hour has become a competitive event as everyone makes a dash for their homes in the suburbs. Right away, that additional grunt helps us catch holes in traffic that would have been off limits in last year's CX-5.
CX-5 Gets Muscle From the Mazda 6 The new 2.5-liter four-cylinder also bears the name Skyactiv, since like the 2.0-liter, it's part of Mazda's new family of gasoline engines that use direct injection, high compression and low-friction materials to achieve solid performance and high fuel economy while running on plain old 87 octane fuel.
We already sampled a version of this engine in the 2014 Mazda 6, which is closely related to the CX-5 beneath the skin. Their common platform architecture was originally designed for the sedan, but it's a quirk of U.S. marketing that we got the SUV before we got the car.
In the Mazda 6, the 2.5-liter engine is offered with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, but if you want a manual in your 2014 CX-5, you'll have to drop back to the 2.0-liter Sport model, as the automatic is standard with the 2.5-liter engine. It's too bad, because the manual is startlingly good. However, Mazda officials tell us the take rate for the three-pedal CX-5 is a disappointing 7 percent.
Quick Enough With the Automatic That's no criticism of the six-speed automatic, though. It's geared the same for both engines, and in our all-wheel-drive CX-5 2.5, it's perceptive and comes up with downshifts quickly when we need to pass.
You still won't be towing horse trailers with the 2014 Mazda CX-5 (indeed, towing capacity is unchanged at 2,000 pounds), but the extra torque is evident and appreciated in the Texas Hill Country.
Our non-certified digital wristwatch suggests a 0-60-mph time in the low 8-second range is within its grasp. That jibes with our seat-of-the-pants impression that the 2014 Mazda CX-5 2.5 is at least a second quicker than the 2013 CX-5 2.0, which ran a 9.7-second 0-60 (or 9.5 seconds with a foot of rollout) during Edmunds testing. For its part, Mazda claims the AWD CX-5 2.5 will run a 7.8-second 0-60, while the lighter front-drive version is reportedly capable of 7.2. If true, the 2014 CX-5 2.5 would be as quick as a 2.0-liter EcoBoost-equipped 2013 Ford Escape, but we won't know for sure until we test one.
Mazda still won't confirm that it's going to offer its even more potent 2.2-liter diesel engine in the U.S.-market CX-5, but we were mightily impressed by the diesel CX-5 prototypes we drove some months back, and that engine is already on sale in European CX-5s. The diesel will be offered in our Mazda 6 later this year.
Fuel Economy Still Class-Leading Mileage is quite good on the 2014 Mazda CX-5 2.5, likely due in no small part to the 2.5-liter engine's lower torque peak. Its 185 lb-ft come together at just 3,250 rpm compared to a 4,000-rpm threshold for the 2.0-liter engine's 150 lb-ft. The upshot is that the bigger engine doesn't have to work as hard.
Even as our drive takes us down a series of winding roads, our actual mileage stays close to the 24 mpg city EPA rating for the CX-5 2.5 AWD. And we'd expect to come much closer to its 30 mpg highway rating during calm cruising on level highways. The combined rating is 26 mpg.
That's a pretty good number for a 3,500-pound crossover SUV, and indeed, EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2.0-liter and the 2.5-liter are quite close. An AWD automatic-equipped CX-5 with the 2.0-liter is rated 25 city/31 highway/28 combined mpg. In real-world driving conditions, that difference is likely to be a wash.
Meanwhile, the front-wheel-drive CX-5 2.5 is rated 25 city/32 highway/27 combined mpg, while its 2.0-liter equivalent is rated at 26 city/32 highway/29 combined.
For the moment, the Mazda leads the compact crossover class in fuel economy, as you'd have to step down to something smaller like the Buick Encore (28 mpg combined) or 2013 Nissan Juke (29 combined) to beat those numbers. Front-drive versions of the CR-V, Escape (with its 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine) and 2013 Toyota RAV4 are rated 26 mpg combined.
Collision Avoidance System Is New for 2014 Aside from the engine, Mazda is offering a new safety feature, SCBS (Smart City Brake Support) as part of the 2014 CX-5's Technology package. This package costs an additional $1,625 on our CX-5 Grand Touring. You can also get it for $1,485 on the Touring model, but you have to buy it in combination with the $1,130 Bose audio and moonroof package (these items are standard on the Grand Touring).
Basically, SCBS is a low-cost collision mitigation system that helps you avoid rear-ending other vehicles when you're traveling between 3 mph and 19 mph: in other words, when you're stuck in heavy traffic. Using a windshield-mounted laser sensor, SCBS can sense an obstacle and prime the brakes to shorten brake-caliper piston travel and minimize braking time when the driver hits the binders. If the driver doesn't brake, the SCBS brakes independently.
That Technology package also includes a TomTom-based navigation system, HID adaptive headlights, rain-sensing wipers and an auto-dimming mirror. It's a worthwhile upgrade for the headlights alone, though this option group, along with our test vehicle's $100 rear bumper guard, results in a bottom line of $30,695. If you don't care about the Grand Touring's leather upholstery, you could load up a CX-5 Touring model with the same options and land at $29,375.
On the other end of the spectrum, a base, manual-transmission CX-5 Sport starts at $21,990. If you're on a tight budget, that model is still worth considering, one reason being its inventory of standard equipment, ranging from push-button start to 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels with quiet-riding P225/65R17 Yokohama all-season tires. Of course, you can also get these tires on the Touring and then you won't have to go without the extra power.
Still the Athlete of the Small SUV Class In contrast, the 225/55R19 Toyo tires on our 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring aren't as serene over Texas highways, and the crossover's ordinarily compliant ride occasionally becomes jarring over rough pavement. Still, it's tough to argue with the CX-5's impressive balance on roads with tight curves. It's easily one of the best-handling compact SUVs on the road today.
Inside, the front seats are reasonably comfortable and supportive, and rear seat room is reasonable for two adults, less reasonable for three. The rear cargo area, easily accessed through the large hatch, is a generous 34.1 cubic feet.
Instruments and controls aren't fancy but are intuitive and attractively designed. Bluetooth is standard in Touring and Grand Touring models (optional in Sport), and for 2014, Mazda has added SMS text-to-speech capability for MAP-enabled smartphones.
Horsepower Fixes Everything There's no denying that the compact sport-ute segment is a tough league to play in, as it's filled with some of the best-selling vehicles in the country, including the CR-V, Escape, RAV4, Kia Sorento and the redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 was a legitimate player in this class, too, offering a spacious interior, sporty handling and outstanding fuel economy. The trouble was that its 2.0-liter engine, although smooth and willing, felt taxed when accelerating up long grades, especially on the heavier all-wheel-drive model.
Now Mazda has addressed this issue, adding more power without dragging down the compact crossover's class-leading fuel economy. Understandably, company officials predict that the new 2.5-liter engine will be popular, with 70 percent of 2014 CX-5 buyers opting for either the Touring or Grand Touring.
And unless you require a third seat or serious towing capacity, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 2.5 may indeed be all the SUV you'll ever need. With loaded versions priced lower than a top-of-the-line CR-V or Escape, the 2.5-equipped CX-5 is a relative bargain among compact crossovers.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Is the 2014 Mazda CX-5 a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2014 Mazda CX-5 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2014 CX-5 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2014 Mazda CX-5? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2014 Mazda CX-5 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2014 CX-5 4.3 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2014 CX-5.
Review Traded in a '11 Ford Escape Limited AWD for the '14 Mazda CX-5 GT in Sep, 2013 so this is after 4 mo of use. Overall, a good vehicle. Pickup is good, comparable to the V6in the Escape. Mileage is better, though not as good as some on here indicate. In town averaging 23-24 mpg. However, in winter cold, mileage has dropped to 20-21 mpg. Use of remote start in bitter cold for 10 minutes, mileage drops to 18-19. Sound system is good, but not as good as the system in the '11 Escape. Some on here have complained about the Bluetooth connection. I have been using Pandora and the system works fine. Unlike satellite radio (ie Sirius), Pandora is coming through your cellphone first, then to the onboard
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Is the 2014 Mazda Cx-5 safe? The 2014 Mazda Cx-5 earned a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, IIHS Small Overlap Front Test Results, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 2.5 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
What options are available on the 2014 Mazda CX-5?
Available Mazda CX-5 2014 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: Grand Touring, Touring, Sport
Exterior Colors: Deep Crystal Blue Mica, Jet Black Mica, Snowflake White Pearl Mica, Soul Red Crystal Metallic, Machine Gray Metallic, Meteor Gray Mica, Sonic Silver Metallic, Crystal White Pearl Mica, Eternal Blue Mica, Soul Red Metallic, Blue Reflex Mica, Crystal White Mica, Liquid Silver Metallic, Liquid Silver, Titanium Flash Mica, Stormy Blue Mica, Sky Blue Mica, Black Mica, Soul Red Mica, Zeal Red Mica
Interior Colors: Black leather, Black leatherette/suede, Black premium cloth, Silk Beige Touring Parchment leatherette/suede, Black cloth, Silk Beige Touring Parchment leather, Sand leather, Sand/Parchment leather, Sand premium cloth, Sand cloth, Sand/Parchment premium cloth, Sand/Parchment cloth
Popular Features: Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Bluetooth, Post-collision safety system, Back-up camera, Blind Spot Monitoring, Power Driver Seat, AWD/4WD, Heated seats, Upgraded Headlights, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-collision safety system, Sunroof/Moonroof, Keyless Entry/Start, Navigation, Leather Seats, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, USB Inputs, Upgraded Stereo, Alarm, Heads up display, Remote Start, Parking sensors, Towing Hitch