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2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD: What's It Like to Live With?

Now with more power, is the 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD the crossover drivers have been waiting for? Follow our long-term road test to find out.

Mazda CX-5 2014

What do you want to know about?


February 28, 2013

We've wanted to love the Mazda CX-5 since the day we first drove it, but something was slightly off. It's by far the best example yet of Mazda's new design language. It's the right size for a small family or the owner of some large dogs. It ticks all of the practical boxes while still driving like a Mazda should drive. The CX-5 even manages to return fairly good fuel economy.

Unfortunately, this last bit was a double-edged sword; the high mileage was delivered by an anemic, 2.0-liter inline-4 that was never up to the task of moving the midsize crossover. The 2014 Mazda CX-5, however, has righted the ship thanks to a new 2.5-liter engine option that produces 184 horsepower: nearly 30 more than before.

On paper it looks like the missing link that should make the 2014 Mazda CX-5 a class-leading crossover. With that in mind, we added one to our long-term fleet to find out.

What We Got
The 2014 Mazda CX-5 comes in three trim levels and has two engine, driveline and transmission options. As much as we wanted the available six-speed manual gearbox, there are simply too many downsides for this pick to overcome. First, it's only available on the base front-drive "Sport" model, which includes basics like a four-speaker stereo with CD and iPod/USB input, tilt-and-telescoping wheel, 17-inch wheels and the sluggish (9.7 seconds to 60 in our testing) 155-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Mazda figures manual transmission buyers are shopping solely on price, so this version is only $20,695.

Moving up the line to the 2014 CX-5 Touring ($24,615) and Grand Touring (($27,620) not only grants access to all-wheel drive, but also to the new 2.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder that does duty in the 2014 Mazda 6 as well. In this application, the 2.5 produces 184 hp and 185 pound-feet of torque while returning 24 city/30 highway and 26 mpg combined on the EPA cycle. The only available transmission for this engine is a six-speed automatic.

While the Touring gets niceties like a rear-view camera, blind-spot monitoring, six-way power driver seat, 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, six-speaker stereo and upgraded cloth, we chose to test the loaded 2014 CX-5 Grand Touring AWD. The Grand Touring gets 19-inch wheels, automatic headlights, Bose stereo, power sliding sunroof, automatic wipers, leather seats, dual-zone climate control and an eight-way power driver seat. Pricing starts at $28,870.

Beyond the standard features, we wanted to spend time with Mazda's new TomTom navigation system and "Smart City Brake Support" (which automatically applies the brakes in a panic situation). This meant we had to add the Grand Touring Tech package for $1,625. The deep Soul Red paint runs $300, while the bumper guard and retractable cargo cover are $100 and $200, respectively.

All told, our 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD wears a sticker price of $31,890. Mazda provided this vehicle for the purpose of our long-term test.

Why We Got It
Our new CX-5 doesn't enter our long-term fleet unopposed. Instead, it's sidled up to the fiercest competition in the segment today in the form of our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V.

Can the Mazda win us over with its driving dynamics and looks as well as with the new TomTom navigation system and suite of tech features? Will we simply take it home so the neighbors can see this ruby-red SUV glistening in our driveway? Or is this another Mazda that woos in the canyons, but ultimately falls slightly short of the mainstream competition when driven every day?

We've got 20,000 miles to find out. Follow along on our Long-Term Road Test page for updates over the next year.

Current Odometer: 1,727
Best Fuel Economy: 25
Worst Fuel Economy: 18.9
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 22.6

The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor

Engine Break-in Procedure

March 1, 2013

This is the proper engine break-in procedure for the 2.5-liter in our 2014 Mazda CX-5 as recommended by the owner's manual. Well technically, they are recommended engine precautions during the first 1,000 miles of ownership. It's pretty standard stuff.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 1,223 miles

Fuel Economy Update for February

March 4, 2013

We've only just had our 2014 Mazda CX-5 for a couple of weeks, so it's way too soon to start drawing any conclusions just yet.

Ours has the new 2.5-liter engine, which in AWD form is rated at 24 mpg city/30 mpg highway/26 mpg combined. In case you're keeping score, that's 2 mpg better in the city and 1 mpg better combined than our 2012 Honda CR-V 4WD machine.

Part of the reason for the low score is the track test. Its effect will be a lesser drag on the lifetime average as the miles mile on. It's so cartoonishly low that we specifically exclude it from the "worst fill" tabulation.

No one has taken it out of town so far, but I plan to change that this weekend. It may not be a long-enough run to really test its highway chops, but don't worry. We have 12 months to figure it all out.

Worst Fill MPG: 20.8
Best Fill MPG: 25.0
Average Lifetime MPG: 21.3
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway/Combined): 24/30/26
Best Range: 292 miles
Current Odometer: 2,041 miles

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,041 miles

Bigger Engine's Worth the Wait

March 6, 2013

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.

The new engine obviously doesn't have the guts of the Escape's 2.0-liter EcoBoost or an Equinox's V6, but it's now competitive with the regular-old four-cylinder most people buy. If you're interested in a CX-5 Touring or Grand Touring, you too should wait.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 1,777 miles

Cargo Capacity

March 7, 2013

We wasted no time putting the cargo area of our 2013 Mazda CX-5 to work. It was full of the summer tires from our SLS in one direction, and winter tires on the return trip. All four fit easily in the back once the second-row seat backs were lowered.

The grown-up in us also felt this beat the alternative, which was to drop the top on the SLS and stack the tires four high on the front passenger seat.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 1,911 miles

Trailhead Shuttle for Five Adults

March 8, 2013

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.

There's a good chance he's never ridden three-across in back of his own Honda, so Cliff wasn't able say if it's better or not. With five aboard it's a bit cozy in back, as you can probably imagine, but on paper the CX-5 does have 0.6-inch more rear hip room than his CR-V.

The weather was great: sunny, 75-78 degrees, light breeze. Once we got back to the Sienna and had some food, four of us stayed in the CX-5 while the Sienna went home in a different direction. This was a better test.

With a bit more breathing space, the Mazda's one-inch advantage in rear leg room became apparent. Backseat passengers in the Mazda also enjoy a good deal more vertical toe room, a good thing when hiking boots are in play.

Today in the office I grabbed the CR-V's key for a back-to-back comparison of my own. I confirmed that the Mazda's steering wheel telescopes farther back, which means I can move my seat forward for folks in the backseat if necessary and still have knee room to work the pedals behind the spokes. I also like the extra width between the CX-5's dead pedal and the brake. I can easily stretch out my left leg in here but the same gap is too small in the CR-V.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,102 miles

A Weekend Away

March 11, 2013

With my wife away for the weekend, I took the opportunity to escape for a few days with the other woman in my life. I packed up the CX-5 with our luggage (not surprisingly, she had the bigger bag) and took off for Phoenix.

It was our first real road trip together after nearly two years and I wasn't sure how she'd handle such a long distance. She frankly seemed a little skittish for the first two hours, but with some heavy petting and an opportune break at Chiriaco Summit just east of Palm Springs, things went smoother.

Gotcha there, didn't I?

Maggie used to get sick in the car, which wasn't exactly an ideal scenario for a guy with my profession and preferred means of travel. She's gotten better, but an hour was really the maximum time she's been in a car. This would be five times that.

I usually install her booster seat in the back, but with such a long distance I put her in the front, securing her to the cinched shoulder belt while the lap portion secured the seat itself. And now a moment to be preachy and holier than thou. Buy something like this for your dog. Actually, buy something better, because this big block of foam with a snazzy tartan cover is hardly high-tech. Or just secure them in some way, doesn't really matter how. Don't let them roam around free in your car and for the love of Pete, don't put them in your lap inches from an airbag and in the prime position to screw up your steering. They'd fare little better in an accident than a child would, and as a potential heavy projectile, wouldn't be doing you any favors, either. So don't murder your dog, K?

Hey, we're back. Maggie proved to be a wonderful little travel companion after taking her for a walk at Chiriaco Summit. You'll note in the photo above that it's home to the General Patton museum, complete with a statue of the good general and his own dog. After that pit stop, Maggie's nervous and abnormally heavy panting was replaced with mostly napping and general contentment. She was even eager to get back in after we stopped for another walk and a more vital re-fuel just 20 miles from our destination. The wind was not doing the CX-5's fuel economy and range any favors.

As for the CX-5? Well, I have tons of impressions, but I wanted to separate those from dog talk. Stay tuned.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor, and Maggie @ 2,880 miles

Road Trip Impressions

March 12, 2013

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.

Having said that, it's also less suited to highway use. Compared to a Chevy Equinox or Ford Escape, the ride isn't as supple, there's considerably more wind noise (especially over 75) and it generally doesn't feel as substantial. I think this would be especially true if you are downsizing from a bigger family hauler.

The engine, as I wrote earlier, is certainly up to the task and can even feel spirited at times. I didn't have the urge to break out a whip to crack over the rear quarter panel as I do when driving the CR-V. Having said that, it's hard to ignore the allure of the Ford Escape's 2.0-liter turbo and the torquey jolt it provides.

Nevertheless, I strongly suspect the Mazda CX-5 achieved better fuel economy than the Ford would have. I got 27 mpg, versus 30 EPA Highway, but that's 331 miles of mostly uphill at 75-plus in pretty heavy wind. Tis not a recipe for thriftiness.

Stay tuned for future entries about the cargo space (a Pro) and the infotainment system touchscreen (a Con).

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 2,880 miles

Fuel Gauge Tricks

March 13, 2013

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.

You can choose to let it amass data for as long as you want and then reset it when you feel like it, or you can set it up so it automatically resets every time you clear "Trip A" in the trip computer. In many cars clearing the MPG readout is a separate step.

I reset Trip A every time I fill up, so I like the idea of tying the two together so the Average MPG readout relates only to the tank I just drove. Mainly, though, I like that there's a choice. I may want to let it run the entire length of a road trip.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,256 miles

Will All This Fit?

March 15, 2013

I took our Mazda CX-5 this weekend knowing full well that I'd be bringing home precisely one metric boat-load of stuff from my parent's house. I also took it over our CR-V even though the Mazda has about 6 fewer cubic feet of cargo space.

So, let's see if all that stuff pictured above (minus the giant marble-topped table) will fit inside.

It does! I must unashamedly commend myself for correctly eyeballing 65 cubic feet of stuff.

I just dropped the seats using the handy trunk pulls and removed the nifty cargo cover that attaches to the liftgate somewhat like a hatchback's. With Tetris music playing in my head whilst moving things about, it was obvious that it would fit with ease.

Would the CR-V, RAV4 or Forester fit more? Yes, by 7 or 8 more cubes. But that would've just meant more items from my childhood I would've had to bring to Los Angeles and sell on eBay.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 3,380 miles

Can You Tow It Behind a Motor Home?

March 18, 2013

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.

"An example of "recreational towing" is towing your vehicle behind a motor home. The transaxle is not designed for towing this vehicle on all 4 wheels. When doing recreational towing refer to "Towing Description" (page 7-20) and "Tiedown Hooks" (page 7-21) and carefully follow the instructions."

That's it. I've left nothing out. No distinction is made between the six-speed automatic and the six-speed manual transaxles. Likewise it doesn't appear to matter if the CX-5 in question has front-drive or all-wheel drive.

The pages on chapter 7 refer mostly to the sort of recovery towing done by tow trucks, but the text here does make it clear that the front-drive CX-5 is good to go with its front tires on a tow dolly. As for the AWD version, well, bring a trailer.

But tow dollies are just malformed trailers. The front-drive version gains little here.

Let's face it. The Mazda CX-5 is simply not for you if you want a car to flat tow behind your motor home. Pity. It's an otherwise nice machine that ticks many other boxes on an RVers wish list.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,343 miles

Headlights That Turn With the Steering

March 20, 2013

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.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 3,420 miles

Navigation System Easter Egg

March 21, 2013

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.

I touched "RaceCar" but for some reason, the CX-5 neither turned into a race car, nor did my selection appear on the map screen; same old default, blue arrowhead. I must have done something else wrong.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 3,465 miles

Octane Rating

March 22, 2013

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)

What does it mean? It means you can put 87 or above in the tank. We're seeing this sort of "don't go below 87, but you can go above" language more and more. In fact, we even proved (here) that even if it isn't required, that running premium fuel can save you money, under the right circumstances and in the right car. "Your results may vary."

So, has anybody out there done this experiment with their CX-5? Did you find that the extra cost per gallon was offset because your CX-5 ran so much more efficiently and earned more miles per gallon?

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 3,504 miles

Interior Tour Video (x2)

March 25, 2013

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

This one is with my regular Flip camera.

I made another quick video using my Canon camera. Let me know which one looks better.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Second Row Seatback Won't Latch

March 26, 2013

"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.

Sure enough, he wasn't kidding. The driver side of the 60/40 folding second row was lying in the lowered position. I tried it myself first. I pulled the seatbelt aside, which is directly in the way when not looped through the seatbelt guide, and lifted the seatback. No surprise. It wouldn't latch.

The clasp was not locking as it should, as evident by the red warning on the release button. The mechanism did not appear to be binding. It just wouldn't latch.

I walked back to the release lever in the cargo area. The release on the passenger side required about 60 degrees of action before the seat released. I pulled the driver side lever the same amount to no avail. Then I carefully went more. At almost 90 degrees something gave. Now the seat latch locked. Good as new. Almost.

After two or three cycles the issue returned. I again pulled the lever slightly beyond what felt like comfortable, and it was enough to release the latch. After numerous successful ups and downs, and a second opinion, it was issued a clean bill of health. Of course, we'll keep an eye on it. But all seems fine now.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 3,390 miles

Text Messages Made Easy

March 29, 2013

Now that cell phones are more or less banished from use on freeways in L.A., getting text messages is a bit more difficult. I always connect my phone with Bluetooth as soon as I get in a car so I can make and receive calls, but there aren't many cars that make it easy to get text messages.

In the case of the Mazda CX-5, I didn't have to do a thing. After hooking up my phone it automatically alerted me to an incoming text message. Since I was moving, it would only give me an alert with an option to have it read out loud. If you're stationary, it will display the message on the main screen. Of course, at that point you could just look at your phone so I'm not sure how much of a help it really is.

Sadly, like most systems with a voice, the message reader still sounds like a computer voice from War Games. Have we not made any progress on artificial voices since then? Not a big deal, though, I'd rather have the warped computer voice read me a message instead of worrying about a ticket by reading it myself.

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 3,611 miles

Child Seats and Leg Room

April 1, 2013

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.

Even enough for a giraffe.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ 4,008 miles

Fuel Economy Update for March

April 2, 2013

In the month of March we drove our 2014 Mazda CX-5 over 2,200 miles. The bulk of this took place with James over a long-weekend road trip to Arizona.

It may still be a bit early to draw conclusions on fuel economy for the Mazda, but for now we're averaging right around EPA city estimates.

Worst Fill MPG: 20.8
Best Fill MPG: 27.5
Average Lifetime MPG: 24.4
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway/Combined): 24/30/27
Best Range: 331.2 miles
Current Odometer: 4,305

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 4,305miles

Airstrip Attack Support Vehicle

April 11, 2013

On a recent weekend a friend invited me to join him at an "airstrip attack." I had never heard of such a thing, but it's sort of like a high performance track day event but drag racing rather than road racing. It sounded interesting given the list of high-end cars entered, so I packed up Edmunds long-term Mazda CX-5 and headed out to the tiny town of Coalinga, Calif., where the event was half-mile races at the local airport.

While it would have been amusing to see a 184-horsepower Mazda CX-5 lineup against a 700-hp Ford GT, I wasn't actually driving or participating at this event. But the CX-5 proved to be an enjoyable companion on the drive and a useful support vehicle.

As we noted in a previous update, the CX-5 isn't the best choice for a small crossover SUV if you're looking for maximum comfort on the highway. It is a little noisy compared to something like a Chevy Equinox. But I happen to like the CX-5's extra bit of sporting flair and don't mind the minor trade-off. As for the taut suspension tuning, it absorbs most bumps without being harsh and provides a nice sense of control when going around turns. I found the driver seat to be comfortable as well.

At the event, I parked the CX-5 and used it as our support vehicle. My friend and I sat in the back seat (there's plenty of leg room for adults) to get out of the sun while eating lunch and reviewing videos he shot with some on-board GoPro video cameras he mounted on his car.

As for the event itself, it was an impressive collection of modified cars including BMWs, Ford GTs, Mercedes, Nissan GT-Rs and Porsche 911s. A couple of Ferraris were there, as well as a McLaren MP4-12C. Even the slowest cars had a listed 400 horsepower or so, while a lot were cranking out a claimed 600 to 700 hp. The top-end cars were said to have about 1,000 hp!

I took a short video of one of the car groupings heading out to the airstrip. You can watch it here.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,820 miles

Quick-Shifting Automatic Transmission

April 16, 2013

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.

Speaking of rare, driving enthusiasts will appreciate the availability of a six-speed manual with the CX-5's base, 2.0-liter engine. But I'm guessing the vast majority of people pick the auto, which is still just fine.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,872 miles

A Spirited Small Crossover SUV

April 17, 2013

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.

This isn't to say that the CX-5 is a four-door sports car, but as this class of vehicle goes, it's pretty fun to drive. Even around town, the CX-5 feels nimble and light. The steering wheel diameter is rather small, imparting sportiness, and turning into corners happens quickly. Overall, grip from the tires is pretty modest, but I'm sure I'd have fun driving our CX-5 on a curving road.

Complementing the handling is our CX-5's 2.4-liter engine. While it's obviously not as strong as the optional V6s or turbo-4s found in some competing vehicles, it produces competitive acceleration, revs smoothly and has a nice sound.

I haven't spent a whole lot of time with our CX-5, but already it's one of my favorites for a small crossover. If you like to drive (i.e., you find yourself pining for a white '86 Porsche 911 with white wheels) but still need something practical and affordable, Mazda's 2014 CX-5 would be a great choice.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4/10/13 miles

The Trailer Hitch

April 19, 2013

It's here. The Mazda Accessories trailer hitch, that is. And right now it's in a big box in my garage. However, within a week we'll be doing the installation ourselves.

Don't get too excited. We don't plan to tow with the Mazda CX-5. But this will give us a solid foundation for a real bike rack, thereby opening up the CX-5 as a real road trip vehicle for those of us who take bikes on road trips.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

Ideal Suburban Runabout

April 22, 2013

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.

Our CX-5 meets the criteria I'd expect from a small crossover SUV. It's reasonably roomy inside and quite capable taking on trips to the local big-box store or shuttling my two kids to their various activities. It also returns respectable fuel economy and has all-wheel drive should the need arise for extra traction.

But I also like that our CX-5 is more than just basic transportation. A lot of that does come from the way it drives. It's quick around turns and responsive in the way it accelerates and shifts gears. And while styling is certainly subjective, I do happen to think the CX-5 looks pretty cool as crossovers go.

I might have to use the CX-5 for a lot of boring, family-guy tasks, but it doesn't feel like it when I'm driving it. If I were buying a small crossover, this Mazda is one I'd give serious consideration to.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,954 miles

5,000 Miles So Far

April 24, 2013

We've cleared 5,000 miles in our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5. The CX-5 has received a lot of positive commentary so far, and I suspect it will remain a popular and frequently used vehicle in our fleet for the remainder of its stay.

Hitting our goal of 20,000 miles in a year won't be a problem.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 5,000 miles

Smart City Brake Support

April 25, 2013

Our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 is the Grand Touring trim level and is equipped with the optional Technology package. Among well-known features like a navigation system and xenon headlights, the Technology also adds an unusual safety feature for this vehicle segment: Smart City Brake Support.

Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) is Mazda's new collision mitigation/avoidance system that operates at low vehicle speeds. In that sense, it's quite similar to the "City Safety" system that Volvo has been installing on its vehicles for a few years now.

By utilizing a laser-based sensor mounted in the rear-view mirror housing (pointing forwards through the windshield), SCBS monitors vehicles that are a short distance ahead of the Mazda CX-5. At low speeds, SCBS can reduce the damage in the event of a collision by automatically applying the CX-5's brakes when the sensor determines that a collision with the vehicle ahead is unavoidable.

According to the owner's manual, Smart City Brake Support is active from about 2 to 18 mph. It's capable of completely avoiding an accident between the CX-5 and a vehicle ahead if the relative speed between them is less than 9.3 mph.

There are all sorts of disclaimers in the owner's manual for when SCBS might not work (incidents involving pedestrians and cyclists being the most notable). Still, I happen to think safety features like this are pretty neat. While SCBS won't ever stop a Mazda CX-5 driver from committing a major rear-end accident, it could minimize or even stop a low-speed fender-bender in traffic.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 5,283 miles

Driving on the Long Beach Grand Prix Circuit

April 26, 2013

Well, sort of. Last weekend I worked as a corner martial at the Long Beach Grand Prix. My local SCCA region, Cal Club, provides the corner workers (flaggers, emergency, starter, observers, etc.) for the event. How does this involve our 2014 Mazda CX-5 and the LBGP circuit?

The multi-level parking structure that normally serves the Long Beach Aquarium and the Pike marketplace is land-locked by the temporary street circuit and can't be reached by the public over the race weekend.

But they do use it for course worker parking during the event. After all, we're not going anywhere until the last checkered flag of the day is thrown.

So I got to drive across turn 5 at 6:00 each morning at a temporary crossing to get to the parking structure. Each night I exited the structure at the far end and wheeled the Mazda out onto the track through turn 4 and down the short chute to turn 5 before exiting the course at the same temporary crossing. At 25 mph! w00t!

Yeah, right, I know, it's pretty lame. But at least I wasn't hanging on the fence watching from the stands. That's never bad, but I was really part of it, looking the drivers in the eyes through holes in the crash fencing as I shook various flags at them according to circumstances.

It's easier to get into than you might imagine, too. Contact SCCA at their national headquarters Web site to find out what's what and who's who in your local region. Once you get good at local club events it's fairly easy to get yourself on the crew at major road races around the country and maybe even overseas, up to and including Formula 1.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 5,555 miles

Effective Windshield Cleaning

May 6, 2013

Last weekend I drove the Mazda CX-5 813 miles across the California and Nevada deserts. Possibly the most striking impression the Mazda made on me — short of being a well-mannered road vehicle, of course — is that it possesses highly effective windshield wipers and squirters.

I know this because there are a lot of bugs in the desert. Big ones. Gutsy ones. And most of them were splattered on the little crossover's windscreen. Until I pulled back on the right stalk, that is, thereby unleashing the full fury of the Mazda's wipers and cleaning fluid on their remains. Seriously, the combination of good fluid coverage, effective wipers, lots of heat and a little speed blew the bug guts away in a matter of seconds.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ 6,405 miles

Less Than Perfect Sun Visors

May 7, 2013

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.

But it's a lame attempt. The pull-out is a skinny little thing and the whole mess pivots down as it is moved to cover the side glass because of a poorly chosen pivot axis. The result is a humungous gap that lets copious amounts of sunlight in over the top.

I guess I need those grandpa wraparounds to drive this car. Or maybe I should restrict my driving to due east or due west in the morning and afternoon.

Doesn't anybody test this stuff? A sun visor is not NASA technology.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 6,457 miles

Fuel Economy Update for April

May 8, 2013

With the addition of 2,000 miles on its odometer this past month, our 2014 Mazda CX-5's lifetime average fuel economy has dipped from 24.4 to 22.1 mpg.

On the upside, we earned a new best fill, moving from 27.5 to 29.3 mpg.

Worst Fill MPG: 20.6
Best Fill MPG: 29.3
Average Lifetime MPG: 22.1
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): 26
Best Range: 372.6 miles
Current Odometer: 6,405 miles

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 6,405 miles

Trailer Hitch Installation

May 10, 2013

Relax. We don't really plan to tow anything with the CX-5, though its 2,000-pound tow capacity isn't the lowest in the class. Possibly you've noticed that several of us ride bikes. Thus, there's a constant need to haul bikes. And roof racks are a just-plain-bad idea reserved for those who relish the sound of carbon fiber failing as it encounters a territorial dispute with their garage door.

We will use a hitch rack. Just as soon as we have a hitch.

We propped up the exhaust with this milk crate after dropping the muffler from its hangers. If you're tough you'll just hold it up with one hand and install the hitch with the other. That's not our style.

Something else that's not our style? A step-by-step story detailing the installation of the four-bolt-affair that is the Mazda Accessories trailer hitch.

Instead, we'll tell you what you really need to know. Like that this installation requires two people and some patience, but that's about all. If you're experienced and patient you can probably do it with one big guy and a floor jack. We dropped the muffler off its hangers, cut the required relief from the plastic bumper, and had the hitch hung in about an hour. Another hour was required to fish the rearmost bolts through their holes in the frame rails, torque them down, reinstall the rear wheels (removal not required, but it makes life easier) and re-hang the muffler.

Stay tuned for exciting bike rack photos in future posts.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

Details Count

May 13, 2013

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.

It's a sign that someone at Mazda cares a little bit about design. Something as mundane as the surface of the speedometer is hardly a canvas for design expression, but it is something you end up staring at quite a bit.

In this case, whoever signed off on the final materials and design of the speedometer decided that it should look a little better than just flat black plastic. Even the surface of the needle base has a machined look to it. Nice to see someone cares about the details, in a compact SUV no less.

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 6,511 miles

Honda CR-V Legroom Comparison

May 15, 2013

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:

Mazda CX-5:
Front legroom: 41.0 inches
Rear legroom: 39.3 inches

Honda CR-V:
Front legroom: 41.3 inches
Rear legroom: 38.3 inches

It's nearly dead even in the front, while the Mazda wins by an inch in the rear.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 7,127 miles

Ball Mount Storage

May 16, 2013

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

Then we had to find a place to store the ball mount, which comes with the hitch. Turns out, there's a convenient slot in the foam right under the cargo floor next to the spare tire. One notch with a box cutter gave us this elegant solution.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

Are CD Players Obsolete?

May 17, 2013

Our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 has an in-dash CD player. But not every new car has one. There are so many alternate ways of listening to music that manufacturers may stop supplying them in their cars.

General Motors, for example, left the disc in its MyLink system out of the new Chevy Sonic and Spark. Instead you can connect with your smartphone. Kia will also be leaving out a CD player in the 2014 Soul because it doesn't fit the car's buying demographic.

Some other manufacturers are doing the same.

Read about the changing times in these two articles on

The Car CD Player Deathwatch
Is Car Radio Going Away?

Do you listen to CDs in your car? What is your preferred method of in-car entertainment?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Finally, a Bike Rack

May 20, 2013

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.

It allowed the bikes to sit on a hitch-mount rack we already had. This, we're convinced, is the best way to haul bikes if you've got to do it outside the car. They're out of the path of road debris and you're probably not going to remove them by accidentally driving under something too short.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

Packed for a Road Trip

May 21, 2013

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...

Even the second-row foot wells were filled with snacks. Kids like snacks.

The headrests were fitted with rectangular kid tranquilizers. And it worked. There was peace for hours. Note the Pack N Play collapsible crib secured neatly with a strap to the CX-5's handy folding center seatback. This SUV uses its space very well.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

Road Trip Fuel Economy

May 22, 2013

After nearly 900 miles of California and Arizona desert driving — including windy stretches in 100-plus degree heat with bikes on the rack — our long-term Mazda CX-5 averaged 23.9 mpg. Its best tank was 29.3 mpg on a largely downhill stretch. Its worst tank was 20.6 mpg in the wind and heat.

This is better than our CX-5's lifetime average of 22.1 mpg.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

Drives Like a Mazda

May 24, 2013

"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.

That Mazda makes even their mainstream cars a cut above its peers in terms of driving dynamics isn't news. It's been this way for decades. It's also been the case that this joie de vivre was accompanied with a persistent "yeah, but," powertrains that were lacking in power or mediocre in fuel economy, or (usually) both.

But the goofily-named Skyactiv suite of technologies has made Mazda the cake-and-eat-it manufacturer. The CX-5 is probably the best embodiment of this, providing driving dynamics unheard of elsewhere in its segment and enviable fuel economy.

Were I in the market for something in the CUV segment, I'd be making a beeline for the local Mazda dealer.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

Cargo Area Is Big Enough

May 28, 2013

Our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 passed the track gear test. Everything fit in the rear cargo area easily. This can't be said for all CUVs. So, credit where it is due. And I have to add that I really like the cargo cover. Rather than those that extend from the back of the seats, this one is attached to the door. So I don't have to fumble with it to use it.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 7,393 miles

No Paddle Shifters?

May 31, 2013

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.

What a joke. No Mazda, not even a compact crossover, should be without paddle shifters. Ever. If it's a real driver's car, as all Mazda's claim to be, it should be equipped with every available driver-centric control.

And if some bean counter feels differently he should do us all a favor and get the hell out of the car business.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 7,946

Fuel Economy Update for May

June 3, 2013

After three months and change in our care, the long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 is averaging 24.5 mpg compared to the EPA's 26 combined estimate. That's 2.4 mpg up from April and not bad given it drives through the world's third-worst city for traffic jams every day (thankfully, we aren't located in Brussels or Antwerp). However, May did see the CX-5 achieve its worst tank average of 20 mpg over 196 miles. This was only 14 days after Josh Jacquot set the best tank of 29.3 mpg during his desert road trip.

In total, the CX-5 gained only 1,655 miles in May, but I have a feeling that its miles and its mpg will rise as we get into summer road trip season. With fewer large family vehicles in the fleet than normal, the CX-5 should see its fair share of use.

Worst Fill MPG: 20.0
Best Fill MPG: 29.3
Average Lifetime MPG: 24.5
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): 26
Best Range: 372.6 miles
Current Odometer: 8,060

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 8,060 miles

Zero Range

June 7, 2013

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.

After all, "low fuel" is no more helpful than an old style analog fuel gauge with a needle pointing to "E". You know, like the fuel gauge in my 1955 Chevy.

And when the Mazda hit zero range I quickly pulled into the next gas station and filled the tank to see just how accurate that information is. The crossover took 13.1 gallons of fuel. Now Mazda says the CX-5 has a 14.8 gallon fuel tank, so the crossover was basically down to its last gallon of gas.

In other words, Mazda has built a nice safety cushion into the system, but it's not tuned overly conservative.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

San Diego Road Trip

June 10, 2013

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.

So did the CX-5. It is such a pleasure to drive compared to the CR-V, RAV4 and Forester, feeling so much more like a car. If you're upsizing from a compact or midsize sedan, it's the one that'll feel the most natural to you.

Plus, I'm not just talking about how the CX-5 capably handled the many sweeping twists and turns of CA 79. It rides well, too, and after hundreds of miles, I'm happy to declare the driver seat is very road trip friendly. It may seem a bit hard at first, but it's tremendously supportive over the long haul. As I said in the fuel update, I have a strong feeling the CX-5 will be seeing an awful lot of the country this summer.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 8,060 miles

Tom Tom Nav Inexpensive, But Also Rudimentary

June 11, 2013

The navigation system in the 2014 Mazda CX-5 is sourced from Tom Tom 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 Tom Tom 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.

For those, like me, who often use a navigation system as if it was a digital map, the CX-5's is not ideal. This was especially true during my recent San Diego trip when I wanted to do some exploring off the freeway. Simply entering in a destination and following its commands like a drone somewhat defeated the purpose.

As such, 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, Automotive Editor @ 8,060 miles

Does the Stationary Bike Fit?

June 12, 2013

This weekend I found an Airdyne Evolution Comp stationary bike on Craigslist for what I thought was a steal. There were only two problems: 1) It was something like 130 miles away and 2) I wasn't sure if it would fit in our Mazda CX-5. The Airdyne's arms don't remove easily and the CX-5 has less cargo space than our Honda CR-V.

Neither of these things turned out to be an actual problem. The CX-5 swallowed the bike (50"L x 22.5"W x48"H) without an issue. Sure, I had to pivot it in some interesting ways and it didn't work the first time, but eventually it fit. The only real problem was the high load floor. The Airdyne weighs 104 pounds and the CR-V's lower point of entry would have been handy.

As you can see in the photo, most of the Mazda's space was used.

Oh, and if the Mazda's ample space wasn't enough, I averaged 27.5 mpg on the 260-mile trip. Hard to beat that.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 9,408 miles

Intermittent iPod Interface

June 13, 2013

The iPod interface in our 2014 Mazda CX-5 isn't working correctly. That is to say, it's working worse than normal.

Traditionally, what happens when you plug into the Mazda's iPod interface is that the system will give you a swirling wheel of waiting for 1-10 minutes while it decides whether or not to play your music. It then restarts the iPod to a pre-sorted (alphabetic starting with numbers) list.

This functionality is less than ideal, but far better than what it does now, which sometimes is nothing. The system will sometimes stall for 30-plus minutes trying to archive longer iPods and then randomly cut out or insert a sharp white nose. At least, this is what it does when it actually decides to play anything rather than just sitting there offering no tracks, artists, playlists, etc.

The CX-5 has an unrelated date with the dealer shortly. We'll have them look into this as well. Hopefully, there's an update.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 9,440 miles

Another Audio Issue

June 17, 2013

Just the other day we told you about the intermittent iPod, today it's done something even stranger.

When listening to the stereo via ANY source, the stereo will cut out all but the right rear speaker for 5 seconds to upwards of a minute. The balance/fader settings don't change, nor do they work during this time of interrupted music. Sound comes from one speaker and there's nothing you can do about it.

We had an appointment for service anyways; they'll look at this, too.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 9,452 miles

First Service

June 18, 2013

Due to a long road trip and some other obligations, our 2014 Mazda CX-5 missed its first scheduled service appointment. Shame, but not the end of the world. Had we not waited, we might not have noticed that there's a new Mazda dealership / service center right here in Santa Monica, Santa Monica Auto Group. (For those of you not here in SoCal, Mazda's had an iffy history of dealerships in L.A. They have solid outposts in the Valley, Long Beach and the IE, but nobody who lives on the West Side or Mid-City is going to go any of those places. Ever.)

The car was going in for two things: 1) an oil change and 2) to address the stereo issues we've been having.

Santa Monica Auto Group's new Mazda operation is set up across the street from its big Infiniti dealership which used to be its big Chevy dealership. You'll remember it from our Chevy Cruze, our Infiniti JX35 and, of course, from that time we had the transmission in our 2010 Chevy Camaro SS replaced.

Turns out they remembered us, too. Our service advisor was the same one we had with the Chevy and this go-round he was just as polite and helpful as ever.

Item 1 was easy: The oil change was done quickly and for $49.68.

Item 2 was a little tricky. The slow, sometimes endless loading times on the iPod/USB port are, as zimtheinvader (awesome name) pointed out in the comments a problem on ALL of the new Mazdas with this stereo. Mazda has no solution for this right now, but they are working on an update that should ship out "soon." Our guy will give us a call when he has it and we'll hopefully get this sorted out.

The intermittent speakers were a bigger challenge. It wasn't a problem they'd heard of, so they called Mazda to figure it out. Ultimately, the car wasn't accepting a full reset of the stereo system, so they asked if they could keep it another night. A loaner car was offered but declined.

By 2:00 p.m. the next day we had our car back, with a freshly reset stereo, new oil and a still buggy USB input. We'll keep you posted on both of these issues.

Total cost: $49.68
Days out of service: 1

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 9,497 miles

Measuring Ramp Travel Index

June 20, 2013

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.

The trip didn't last long. The Mazda began teetering when the left front tire was 12-1/8-inches off the deck, which translates into a 35.45-inch journey up the slope of our 20-degree ramp.

Divide that number by the CX-5's 106.3-inch wheelbase then multiply by 1,000 to get Ramp Travel Index.

Answer: 334

How does that stack up? That result falls on the good side of what you'd expect for a crossover, though I haven't yet measured our long-term CR-V, the #1 seller in the segment. I'll rectify that soon, but in the meantime here are some other car-based crossovers we've measured.

2012 BMW X3: 322
2013 Range Rover Evoque: 300
2011 Nissan Juke SL: 257

For reference, a long-wheelbase four-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is good for 518 with the front stabilizer engaged and 687 with it unhinged. Our short wheelbase two-door started at 561 and made it to 908 with all the mods we added.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

Seventeens Are Enough

June 21, 2013

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.

Here in the U.S. our Mazda CX-5s have all-season tires, so the trade-off in ride quality with these P225/55R19 99V Toyos is even less tolerable. If I'm not going to have much in the way of cornering grip anyway, then make mine a CX-5 Touring model with the 17-inch wheel/tire package. No, the wheels won't be as snazzy, but I've given up on being fashionable.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 9,856 miles

10,000 Miles

June 25, 2013

Our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD has passed the 10,000-mile mark.

In its time with us, we've experienced some audio issues, installed a trailer hitch, and brought it in for its first oil change.

Part of the audio issue was solved at this service appointment but the other part of it is being investigated.

Hopefully, it will be resolved soon. Here's to another 10,000 miles.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @10,006 miles

Rear-Facing Child Seat Fitment

June 27, 2013

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.

As you can see, front leg room and recline are compromised. 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, Senior Editor

Quiet Ride

June 28, 2013

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.

So, when the light changed to green, I left the music off. I was travelling up a long, winding road and enjoying every minute of it. The Mazda CX-5's 184-horsepower engine isn't overly taxed, so there were no complaining or apologizing noises from the engine. It offers a smooth ride, takes curves without too much lean, it's steering is spot on, and it offers a quiet, peaceful time.

Who needs music?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Fun With SCBS

July 1, 2013

Who needs coffee when you have the Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system?

As I was pulling into our underground garage at work this morning, and approached the parking security arm, our Mazda CX-5 screeched to a noisy halt. Jolt! Wake up.

The SCBS had detected the parking barrier and thought I was going to get into a fender bender.

Our Mazda CX-5 owner's manual states that the SCBS will operate the brake control when the system detects a vehicle ahead. It goes on to say this does not apply to two-wheeled vehicles or pedestrians. (Or extremely dirty cars. No, really.)

However, it works pretty darn well when approaching the parking arm in our garage. The manual does say that it could operate when passing through a toll gate, which is pretty much the same set-up as in the photo above.

I guess I need to be more patient and not try to roll through as I wave my key card at the security sensor.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Fuel Economy Update for June

July 2, 2013

During the month of June, our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD traveled 1,697 miles. In that time it used 80.9 gallons of gasoline, mostly 87 octane. There was one 91-octane fill-up.

We averaged 25.5 mpg in that time, better than our overall lifetime average and just shy of the EPA estimate for mixed driving.

Worst Fill MPG: 20.0
Best Fill MPG: 29.3
Average Lifetime MPG: 24.6
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway/Combined): 24/30/26
Best Range: 372.6
Current Odometer: 10,200

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 10,200 miles

Not Bringing the Heat

July 10, 2013

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.

Problem is, the 2014 Mazda CX-5's aren't even noticeable unless they're switched on high. The two lower settings might as well not exist, while "high" feels like somewhere between low and medium in most other cars I've driven with three-mode heaters.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 10,467 miles

Any Idea What This Is?

July 12, 2013

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.

After consulting with the Edmunds' brain trust, I was informed that it was likely the SD-card slot for updating the navigation system. In our long-term Mazda 3, it resided in an equally mysterious door right in the middle of the dash. So in a way, the location in our CX-5 signals progress of sorts.

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 10,603 miles

Needs All the Power It Can Get

July 15, 2013

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.

Of course, getting the bigger engine means more upfront cost. With the CX-5 it means stepping up to the Touring trim level which starts at around $24,000. After spending considerable time behind the wheel, I would consider that the base price.

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 10,610 miles

Comparison Test

July 15, 2013

Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 recently found itself embroiled in a comparison test against two of the best crossovers in the segment, the 2012 Honda CR-V and the all-new, 2013 Toyota RAV4.

How'd out little Skyactiv-equipped Mazda do? Follow the jump to see the results. Comparison Test: 2012 Honda CR-V vs. 2014 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2013 Toyota RAV4.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 8,064 miles

Front Seat Comfort

July 16, 2013

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.

When you switch cars daily, you quickly recognize the unassuming goodness of a comfortable seat.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 10,625 miles

Irritating Questions

July 17, 2013

No, I don't want to help you, and stop trying to talk me into it.

After seeing this pop up on the nav system every time I start our Mazda CX-5, I'm finally looking into how to prevent this question from appearing.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 10,656 miles

Zoom-Zoom Manual

July 18, 2013

Mazda hasn't given up on its zoom-zoom philosophy. In fact, the automaker uses the first page of the CX-5's owner's manual to remind buyers of the importance of zoom-zoom.

Kinda cool.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 10,763 miles

Best Seats In Any CUV

July 19, 2013

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.

I'll update you with any new information upon my return, but I anticipate comfort.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ about 10,700 miles

Personal Comparisons

July 22, 2013

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.

In the comparison, the Honda CR-V came out on top. By all accounts, just barely. When asked what I would buy, I'd say Mazda CX-5.

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. Recently I completed construction on a home entertainment center, and that required a vehicle that could haul several loads of solid teak from the local hardwood store 4 miles from home. If I didn't have SUVs at my disposal, as I do at Edmunds, I probably would have borrowed a friend's or relative's car. By the way, the last bunch of teak was transported in the trunk of the SLS.

The CX-5 does have pretty decent cargo capabilities, and honestly, if you and your kid(s) need more than that, you're probably hauling too much stuff around. Kids don't need everything from the playroom. They'll survive, just as I did.

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, Automotive Editor @ 10,470 miles

Hidden Start Button

July 23, 2013

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.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ about 10,900 miles

For-Real Sun Visors

July 24, 2013

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.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ about 10,900 miles

Excellent Split-Folding Rear Seats

July 25, 2013

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.

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, Senior Editor @ about 10,900 miles

Wyoming Road Trip Part 1

August 1, 2013

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.

I hauled two bikes on the back throughout as we plowed through 115-degree desert heat in Baker, Nevada and crossed the Continental Divide no fewer than six times in Wyoming. There was rain, wind, lightning and hail. There were trucks, deer, antelope and all manner of rodent, dead and alive.

The Mazda survived without so much as a nicked windshield. I got no speeding tickets. And, like I predicted, I was comfortable throughout. More details to come.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ about 13,000 miles

Fuel Economy Update For July

August 2, 2013

During the month of July, our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD traveled 3,479 miles across California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Wyoming. In that time it used 153.9 gallons of gasoline including a mix of 91, 88 and 87 octane. Higher octane was used in hotter climates where temps were regularly above 100 degrees.

We averaged 24.4 mpg in that time, slightly lower than our overall lifetime average and below the EPA estimate for combined driving. Most of our miles this period were highway miles.

Worst Fill MPG: 20.0
Best Fill MPG: 29.9
Average Lifetime MPG: 24.6
EPA MPG Rating: 26 Combined (26 City / 30 Highway)
Best Range: 372.6
Current Odometer: 13,659

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ 13,659 miles

Wyoming Road Trip Part 2, High-Altitude Performance

August 6, 2013

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, Senior Editor @ about 13,000 miles

Big-Mile Observations

August 12, 2013

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.

Since July 18 I've covered almost 5,000 miles behind the wheel of the CX-5. Here are some observations:

- Seat comfort is among the best, if not the best, in the segment.
- Power is adequate unless you're above 6,000 feet. Then it needs boost.
- The transmission is remarkable. It offers smooth shifts and disappears in normal driving but allows full engine braking control when it's needed, rev matching included.
- Cargo space and interior utility is excellent, particularly the three-way split folding rear seat.
- Handling is awesome. I outran an Infiniti M on California's Highway 49. Try that in a CR-V.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ about 15,000 miles

15,000 Miles

August 14, 2013

Last weekend I pushed our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 through the 15,000-mile barrier on my long haul to Northern California and back. Since the 10,000-mile update we've driven the CUV to Wyoming and back, hauling bikes on a hitch-mounted rack the whole way.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ 15,077 miles

More Grip?

August 16, 2013

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?

I suspect this is something few small crossover owners will ever consider. The whole point of this kind of vehicle is versatility and all-weather capability. Summer-rated tires, with their poor performance in very cold or snowy conditions, would diminish that.

But here in Southern California (or anywhere else where snow is rare) the improved handling and shorter braking distances of summer tires could have a real, positive impact on daily driving (see our Tire Test story from a few years ago for proof). At least that'd be my thought if I owned our CX-5.

Alas, it doesn't seem like you can get summer tires that would match up to the CX-5's original-equipment wheel and tire sizes. I used Tire Rack to search for summer tires for a CX-5 and came up with nothing. There's actually very little tire selection in the Grand Touring's 225/55R19 size. Perhaps you could go with a non-OE size and come up with something, but that's beyond my easy tire-swap idea.

Having checked a few other small crossovers that compete with the Mazda CX-5 on Tire Rack, I now know that the CX-5 isn't alone. Summer tires, at least in the typical tire sizes automakers fit to these vehicles as original equipment, are quite rare.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 15,542 miles

Best Four-Cylinder In Its Class

August 19, 2013

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.

I say this based on two qualities: acceleration and fuel economy. In terms of acceleration, the AWD CX-5's 8.3-second 0-60 mph sprint makes it the quickest small, non-luxury crossover we've tested with a normally aspirated engine (as of this writing, of course). The CR-V, Equinox, Forester, RAV4, Rogue and Sorento? All slower. It's only until you look at turbocharged engines in the Escape or Tiguan that you'll find quicker times.

Meanwhile, the CX-5's 26 mpg combined fuel economy average (with AWD) is also at the top of its class.

Factor in the quick responses of the six-speed auto and you've got a powertrain that is worth singing praises about.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 15,573 miles

15,000-Mile Service

August 20, 2013

Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 recently cleared 15,000 miles. As such, it was due for its 15,000-mile service. This essentially entails an oil change and tire rotation. The dealer also took care of a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) that was out on the vehicle.

I took our CX-5 to Lithia Mazda of Fresno, CA, which is near where I live. The service advisor was pleasant enough, and during the check-in his computer indicated that there was a TSB posted for the car. The TSB was for an engine software update. Apparently, this is to fix an issue where the check-engine light could come on unnecessarily (we never experienced the problem).

I was there for about an hour and 30 minutes. Total cost was $69.74 for the service (the TSB update was, of course, free).

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 15,601 miles

The Right Size for Parking Lots

August 22, 2013

I've got two little kids, so I'm often parking in congested lots, whether it be for school or activities. While I understand the desire (or need) for larger, three-row SUVs, I must say I prefer the parking ease of our 2014 Mazda CX-5.

I'll typically see the drivers of these extra-large beasts craning their necks and making multi-point turns as they struggle to navigate into and out of parking spaces. In contrast, the CX-5 (or, more broadly, any small crossover) just zips right in, stress-free.

Outward visibility to rear in the CX-5 is OK, but given the worry of kids running around in these places, I like to supplement that view with the rear-view camera when I'm backing up. (The camera is standard on the CX-5's Touring and Grand Touring trim levels.) The 5.8-inch display screen isn't all that big, but it gets the job done.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 15,642 miles

It's the One I'd Buy as Well

August 27, 2013

A while back, editor Mark Takahashi wrote that while he's not planning on buying a small crossover SUV anytime soon (single, no kids), the2014 Mazda CX-5 is the one he'd pick if he had to choose. His premise was basically that the CX-5 is the best for him because of its fun-to-drive nature.

Well, my life is much more domesticated (boring?) than Mark's. I'm married and have two little kids. But we'd end up with the same small crossover; the CX-5 would be my pick, too.

It's not easy to choose in this class. Just about everything is solid. And our latest comparison test is indeed valid. The Honda CR-V is the best choice overall. But on a personal level, I just like the CX-5 more. All the small crossover practicality I'd ever need is still there with the CX-5. Yes, I could get more cargo space and rear seat room elsewhere, but the CX-5 is still more than adequate. Yet on top of that, I like the way the CX-5 looks and the way it drives, just like Mark. Small crossovers are not the most exciting vehicles out there, so every little bit helps.

From an ownership standpoint, I'd be happiest having this in my garage.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

Floor Mat Attachment Failure

August 30, 2013

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.

Or it was, at least, until one of the grommets pulled out of the floor mat. Now it's loose and free to pivot forward toward the gas pedal. At least there's little chance of any sort of stuck-throttle consequences because the Mazda's go-fast pedal hinges at the bottom. The mat can't easily muck up the works, but it sure can make a nuisance of itself.

I managed to jam the mat's carpet back into its fitting, but it pulled out again almost at once. And the unpinned mat is beginning to taco, too. We need a new factory replacement.

I'm not convinced the long-term outcome will be much better. Mats are subjected to high scoot-forward forces as feet push on them when we get in and push off from them as we clamber out. The rest of the time heels dig in as we sit there working the pedals.

And the snap/unsnap force is high. It's hard to separate them for vacuuming (which is overdue.) The CX-5's grommet sandwich design doesn't appear to have the right stuff.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

A Popular Choice

September 3, 2013

On the face of it, a three-day stint in an airport parking garage seems like nothing less than a vote of no-confidence for a long-term test car. But that's not how it works.

Instead, the popular cars tend to get the nod. The ones that get driven on longer trips. The ones that are ahead of schedule in their quest to cover 20,000 miles in one year. They can tolerate a bit of idle time, and their temporary absence from the rotation makes it more likely that other long-term machines will get the miles they need.

Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring is one of those vehicles. Its odometer already reads 16,424 miles after just six and a half months. Never mind 20,000, at this point it's gunning for 25,000 or 30,000 miles.

And so the CX-5 has earned a much-deserved rest in the shady confines of our favorite LAX parking garage, the one with protective foam mats suspended between adjacent cars to thwart door dings.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,424 miles

Fuel Economy Update for August

September 6, 2013

Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 racked up another 3,000 miles in August to put it well over the 16,000 mile mark. Those miles were a little bit easier than last month's road trips as the overall average bumped up to 24.8 miles per gallon over its lifetime. Not bad considering that its official combined rating is 23 mpg.

Worst Fill MPG: 20.0
Best Fill MPG: 29.9
Average Lifetime MPG: 24.8
EPA MPG Rating: 26 Combined (20 City / 28 Highway)
Best Range: 371.2 miles
Current Odometer: 16,819 miles

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 16,819 miles

Hot Seat

September 9, 2013

I recently drove our 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring for a few days that bookended my recent trip to Germany. As I pulled into the garage on the final day I noticed the passenger side seat heater was on full blast. But it hadn't been me. I hadn't had a passenger ride shotgun at any point in the last few days.

How long had the seat heater been on like that? It had to date back to the previous driver, at least.

I'm not one that uses seat heaters much, and I dislike the ones that do not reset to OFF when the car is shut off and restarted at a later time. Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 could operate like that. Its seat heater button is a momentary switch. It does not latch on in any mechanical sense. It could work the way I prefer if it were programmed to operate that way.

My wife, who is an ardent seat heater fan and frequent user, actually agrees with me on this point. (Imagine that.) She hates climbing in to an already-hot seat in the full light of day. And leastways the CX-5's own owner's manual warns against the continued use of the seat heater in the hottest setting.

All I know is the Clif bar I had on the passenger seat was all melty. The water bottle I had there was too warm to drink. Our CX-5 was running current through its seat heater array for no good reason for hours on end.

Yes, I know that Minnesotans and Canadians disagree. I know you want them to stay on for six straight months. You're probably screaming at me via your keyboards telling me to shut up already so I don't ruin it for you.

But we could all be happy. Cars have all sorts of customization capabilities nowadays. It is technically possible to offer a setting in the menus that would allow us to set the seat heater default mode either way. After all, it takes some sort of seat heater ECU for one button to offer three heat levels, for the system to remember the previous setting when the key is switched off. This car is most of the way there.

Or the seat heaters could be tired into the seatbelt receptacle. No seatbelt, no occupant, no heat.

Yes, there's a light I could have seen, but there are many useless lights competing for attention in cars these days (I'm talking to you, Passenger Airbag Off) that I tend to ignore. And in any case these are low down and don't look very bright when the cabin is flooded with sunlight. I pulled into a dark garage to make them stand out for the above photograph.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,465 miles

All the Utility You Need

September 10, 2013

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.

Parking is also a piece of cake in the CX-5 as it will fit into a spot even when fellow drivers don't bother to stay between the lines. The blind-spot warning system works well even though I try not to rely on it and the backup camera has a good range of view to complement a look over your shoulder.

I think the best part of the CX-5 is the fact that you don't feel like you're driving a four-cylinder SUV. It's quick to respond to steering and throttle inputs and the suspension doesn't let it keel over on sharp turns. Engine and road noise is kept in check as well, so it remains comfortable in most driving situations. In other words, a perfect match for a holiday weekend.

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 16,654 miles

Navigation System Gathering Info

September 11, 2013

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?

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor

Hitting Triple Digits, But Not the Fun Kind

September 12, 2013

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.

Had I been able to snap a steady, well-lit photo while driving on the freeway, it would've read 107. Even the windows were warm to the touch, but I was as cool as a cucumber.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor

Who Is That neighbor?

September 16, 2013

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.

This recent discovery comes months after I began hearing from my house the unmistakable howl of the MP4-12C's unique 3.8-liter V8 both early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

The thing is, I believe he or she has 'uncorked' the car's exhaust because he lives about a half-mile away, across a ravine. Mystery solved. Finally!

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor

Smart Shifts

September 18, 2013

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.

At low speeds, the transmission slides gears like a conventional torque-converter automatic. Slightly lay into the pedal, however, and the torque converter locks up and delivers what editor Jacquot describes as an honest connection between the engine and front wheels, a feature that deserves praise as CVTs grow ubiquitous in the quest for fuel economy.

More remarkable is that the Skyactiv-Drive six-speed helps return real fuel economy. Currently, we're achieving almost 2 mpg combined better than the EPA rating.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 16,940 miles

Tailgate Party

September 24, 2013

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.

The liftgate has a sunscreen that provides some nice shade too. Together with the all-wheel-drive powertrain on the CX-5, this makes it a great vehicle to take into the mountains.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 17,369 miles

Mountain Test Drive

September 25, 2013

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.

I can't say I like the sound of the 2.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder (it buzzed under load) but it had enough power for the climb. The six-speed transmission hesitated noticeably on the hairpin turns before downshifting. However, on the way down, I used the manual shift mode and the shifts felt smooth and immediate. Meanwhile, the suspension romped on the twisty road.

For an SUV of this size, the CX-5 had plenty of cargo space and I was showing over 26 mpg on the car's onboard computer. If this had been winter, it would have been fun to try out the all-wheel drive.

All in all, this is an impressive, moderately priced (sticker price of $31,890) SUV that is fun to drive and loads a lot of useful features into an attractive package.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 17,420 miles

2nd Most Fuel-Efficient SUV

September 26, 2013

The 2014 Mazda CX-5 does a good job of giving drivers the best of all worlds. It's fun to pilot, with sharp handling, but it also acquits itself pretty nicely at the pump. Fuel efficiency is a key strength, and this Mazda's performance is frugal enough to land the CX-5 in the runner-up spot (tied with the Nissan Juke) on our list of 2013's most fuel-efficient crossovers and SUVs.

It was topped only by a hybrid, the Lexus RX 450h. The CX-5's ranking on this list is based on mileage for the 2WD model, which gets up to 29 mpg combined. With an AWD powertrain, that number drops to 28 mpg combined with the 2.0-liter engine and 26 mpg combined with a 2.5-liter engine like the one in our AWD CX-5. Our Top 10 list looks at the 2013 model, but the 2014 model has identical fuel economy.

Our real-world numbers fall slightly short of the 26 mpg EPA rating. We've been averaging about 24.8 mpg combined.

Other models that made the cut include the BMW X1, the Buick Encore, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Escape. Click here for the full list of 2013's most fuel-efficient crossovers and SUVs.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 17,530 miles

The Sedan Version

September 27, 2013

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.

The 6 I drove was a Grand Touring variant, basically the full-zoot version. First off, I love the looks. To my eye there isn't a better looking sedan in its category. The arch of the front fenders, the aggressive nose, the elegant looks purposeful, never fussy. Mazda's decision to shelf the Nagare design language in favor of Kodo was wise. Nagare was mind-blowing on the Furai concept but never really translated well onto traditional cars.

Enough about that. The Mazda 6's steering and handling score high marks in my book. This is probably not shocking given the CX-5's acuity, yet the 6 turns it up another click by being a couple hundred pounds lighter. It's possible that the sedan's lower center of gravity helps a bit, too, but that's a guess. In any case, the 6 exhibits surprisingly sharp path accuracy for this type of car. Solid grip, too. It, indeed, drives like a Mazda.

The 6 is a pretty noisy car. Road and engine noise are the primary culprits. Makes me wonder if Mazda pared down the sound deadening a bit too far in the pursuit of light weight.

Power delivery of the 2.5-liter four is completely acceptable. This is not a hot rod, of course, but when you plant your foot the 6 spirits away with enough enthusiasm and clicks off gear changes with little slack. Just like the CX-5, in fact. No surprise there. Bonus: the 6 has a 'sport' transmission calibration that our long-term CX-5 lacks. It is activated via a little button just ahead of the console shifter, switching to a calibration that holds gears longer and delivers downshifts a bit more eagerly.

Its TomTom navigation system is just okay. I came to terms with some of its idiosyncrasies but what's less forgivable is that on two occasions it routed me to the wrong destination with lots of indecision along the way. Boston is a tricky city in which to drive, sure, but the runaround this nav system gave me was doubly frustrating as it was running out the clock on a flight departure. Yipes! Plus, the screen's small.

Fuel economy was stellar. My tally after 900 miles of thoroughly-mixed use in city and freeway conditions was 33.8 mpg. That's pretty amazing considering how large the 6 is. And that I was behind the wheel at the time.

For the tl;dr crew, the Mazda 6 is good. Better than good. Outstanding. It would be five-stars excellent if it had more effective noise isolation and a better navigation system. Aside from that, I'm a fan.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

Fuel Economy Update for September

October 7, 2013

We drove our 2014 Mazda CX-5 1,556 miles in September recording an average fuel economy of 23.7 mpg, which is 1 mpg lower than the CX-5's lifetime average of a 24.7 mpg. Neither its best (29.9 mpg) or worst (20.0 mpg) fills changed in September.

Worst Fill MPG: 20.0
Best Fill MPG: 29.9
Average Lifetime MPG: 24.7
EPA MPG Rating: 26 combined (24 city, 30 highway)
Best Range: 372.6
Current Odometer: 18,069

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ 18,069 miles

Check Your Speed

October 8, 2013

Ever been on a freeway where the speed limit fluctuates, from 55 to 65 or 65 to 75 for no apparent reason? Sometimes those darn speed limit signs are few and far between, so knowing whether you're going 6 over or 16 over while cruising along can be tricky.

In one instance, you're pretty much safely under the radar, in the other you may find yourself running into it. Although I tend to just go with the flow in the #2 or #3 lanes, there are those rare times when traffic is sparse and you could be more, umm, visible.

The 2014 Mazda CX-5's navigation system thoughtfully shows not only the roadway's speed limit (shown as "max" in the lower left corner of the screen) but also displays your current speed right next to it. This comes in handy when you want to keep tabs on your speed versus the limit and also for when you want to set the cruise for a stay-out-of-trouble velocity.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 17,993 miles

Slow Satellite Radio

October 10, 2013

It's not consistent, but occasionally when I turn on the 2014 Mazda CX-5's satellite radio 20 to 30 seconds pass before there's actually any sound. Based on the fact that the radio loses signal so easily, I think it's just poor reception.

But that's too long, right?

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

Sierra Road Trip

October 14, 2013

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.

Though it averaged 26.2 mpg over the entire route, the largely downhill return trip yielded the CX-5's best one-tank fuel economy of 31.5 mpg.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @18,673 miles

High-Altitude Driving Impressions

October 15, 2013

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.

I've always thought the CX-5's power is adequate, and passing on California 395 in the pre-dawn hours was relatively easy. As we started up the mountains the road wound around enough to prevent using wide throttle openings, but the CX-5 maintained good cornering speed, which helped keep our momentum up. Power was obviously diminished above about 7,000 feet where the road got serious about going uphill. Even then, though, given the load of people, I never thought about a lack of power.

The Mazda CX-5's strongpoint is its transmission which offers full control of every gear and rev-matched downshifts (more use when descending). Manual shifting was the key to consistent speed.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

Highway MPG

October 21, 2013

Tuesday night I drove the 2014 Mazda CX-5 from Orange County to San Diego and back, a relatively flat 180-mile trip with speed averaging about 70 mph and minimal traffic. They were perfect conditions for evaluating highway fuel economy.

This, according to the CX-5's on-board computer, was the result. The EPA rates the CX-5 at 30 mpg on the highway.

I've done better, but that was on a mostly downhill route.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ 19,097 miles

Like How It Drives, Love How It Looks

October 24, 2013

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.

That turbodiesel version of the CX-5 went to Europe, but given the realities of the U.S. market, I'm not holding my breath it will ever come here.

That said, when I see our long-term Mazda CX-5 in the fading daylight, I can see the justification for buying it over a Honda CR-V: It looks great from any angle, including this one, which rarely flatters flat-butted crossover SUVs. If I was going to buy a crossover today, vanity might tip the decision in favor of the Mazda.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 19,304 miles

Great Cargo Space

October 30, 2013

I instinctively folded the backseat of our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5. The cargo was large, and the CX-5 is kinda small, so I folded the seats before I even started loading. It turned out to be unnecessary.

Mazda says there's 34.1 cubic feet of space back there. And that's enough for the four 15-inch diameter wheels and tires to fit behind the Mazda's second row seat with room to spare.

Very cool.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 19,834 miles

Fuel Economy Update for October

November 5, 2013

We drove our 2014 Mazda CX-5 1,791 miles last month, averaging 25.9 mpg, just one-tenth shy of what the EPA says the CX-5 should return in combined driving. Interesting note, however, is that all-wheel-drive CX-5 owners are reporting 26.7 combined mpg averages on the EPA's Web site.

We should note that the average MPG shown in the photo above is only for the current tank, of which we've covered just 84 miles.

Trips to the Sierra mountains and San Diego helped the CX-5's long-distance fuel economy, nudging its lifetime average to 25.2 mpg, up from the 24.7 mpg we reported last month. Jacquot's downhill return trip from the Sierras yielded the CX-5's best fill to date: 31.6 mpg.

Worst Fill MPG: 20.0
Best Fill MPG: 31.6
Average Lifetime MPG: 25.2
EPA MPG Rating: 26 combined (24 city, 30 highway)
Best Range: 372.6
Current Odometer: 19,917

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 19,917 miles

You Don't Need an X3

November 11, 2013

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.

But I'll venture that the CX-5 doesn't leave anything on the table here. The cabin is clean, its control interfaces uncluttered. Minimalist, you might say, another word we lavish on the German marques (something about German artists inventing the aesthetic and a discussion best left for art school). There's no Alcantara headliner, but the materials exude quality. At night, I prefer the CX-5's ambient lighting. The seats might not be BMW level, but Jacquot sat in them for 5,000 miles and called them among the best, if not the best, in the segment. The interior simply feels premium beyond its price.

But you're most aware of the $13,000 difference in the two sticker prices when you lay into the CX-5's pedal, in manual-shift mode, and the four-cylinder scratches past 4,500 rpm and gets pretty raspy in the process. BMW's turbo-four won't make as much of a racket. Or rather, you're more insulated from it. At wide-open throttle, our CX-5 passes 74.0 decibels into the cabin. The BMW, just 66.3 decibels. Side note: At idle, even with direct-injection, the CX-5 is quieter than the X3.

The CX-5 still catapults you up the overpass and down the other side before you get stuck behind a semi, generating power the whole way as you wind it up to 5,000 rpm, upshift, then wind it out some more. The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter wants to impress and does, rough edges and all. It's like the Yasil Puig of four-cylinders.

Now you're scratching your head at the tentative threads I've tried to weave here, comparing cars out of class, and a somewhat random one at that (why not a GLK or Infiniti QX50). Our CX-5 prices out at about $32,000. A comparably-equipped X3 goes for $45,000. At the end of the day, get the Bimmer if it makes you feel good, if it's a personal reward for a job well done, if you're trying to impress the girl in 2B. Otherwise, save the 13 grand and get the Mazda CX-5.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 19,970 miles

20,000-Mile Milestone

November 12, 2013

That was quick. We're already at 20,000 miles and we've still got about three months left to enjoy the 2014 Mazda CX-5. One of us wrote it before and it bears repeating: The staff votes with the car board. And given our fondness for crossovers, you'd think we're all constantly shuttling two kids and a dog to soccer twice a week.

But it's not true. The CX-5, like the CR-V before it and the Santa Fe concurrently, play many useful roles in our lives. For some of us, it's kids. For others, it's dogs, bikes, drums, moving, mulch, tires and combinations thereof. It's not all about cargo, either. It's fun to twist the CX-5's wheel and it's also a pretty nice place to sit. By comparison, our old Impreza hatchback, also pretty useful but 12 cubic feet smaller than the CX-5, struggled to get miles.

The CX-5 has a few detractors around here. Slow, noisy and thin-skinned are some of the complaints. Hasn't kept the CX-5 from going home with someone most nights. At this rate, we'll rack up 25,000 miles before it leaves.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 20,000 miles

USB Niceties

November 27, 2013

As Vincent Vega once said, it's the little differences. He was talking about his ability to get a beer at a movie theater in Amsterdam. I'm talking about our 2014 Mazda CX-5. It shows how just one or two thoughtful touches can show up other cars that claim "ultimate" performance.

I'm talking here about the 2014 Mazda CX-5's USB port. It's located in the center console, which is the norm for many cars. In the CX-5, it's has a flip-up cover and is easy to get at. There's a channel for the cord, so that you put your smartphone or music player on the seat or in a cup holder if you don't feel like tucking it away in the console.

Such a mundane detail, right? But in my personal car, there's an annoying little trap door over the USB connector, which you have to ease out of the way before you can plug in. I fumble it every time. And there's no channel for the cord. It's as if the maker of my car decided that you should always store your phone/player in the console. Verstehen Sie? Score one for the Mazda CX-5.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 20,656 miles

Auto Show "Twin"

November 28, 2013

You may well be asking yourself how our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD found its way to the floor of the L.A. Auto Show.

It's not ours, of course. (Though ours was technically at the show, albeit in the parking lot.)

The crossover pictured here is a 2014 Mazda CX-5 Touring FWD, which has an MSRP of $25,710. Our Grand Touring, with AWD and a lot of very nice extras, pencils out at $31,890. The lovely Soul Red Mica adds $300 to the price of the car, by the way.

When you set a budget for a new car, do you find yourself lured by amenities that lead to price creep?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 20,716 miles

Will the Golden Retriever Fit?

November 29, 2013

My friend Catie is searching for a compact SUV to replace her long-serving Mazda 3 and narrowed her search to the Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5. Those would be the ones I'd consider, but as she hadn't done any dealer shopping yet, I decided to bring our long-term 2014 CX-5 over to have her sit in it and poke about.

Besides her desire to have something more distinctive than a Honda CR-V (not the only friend who's declared the class best-seller a less-than-cool no-go), she'll need her new car to be big enough for her golden retriever Paisley and a future child assumed to be in existence sometime within the life of the vehicle. We couldn't do anything about the latter, but I told her to grab Paisley and chuck her in the boot.

Paisley technically fit, but the CX-5's sloped glass and tiny rear quarter windows do not create what I'd consider a dog-friendly environment. Perhaps she'd be fine in a pinch, but as a long-term solution, the Mazda CX-5 doesn't look like it'll work.

I suggested that after initially checking out all the possibilities at dealers to see if she and her husband liked them (or even better, visit the L.A. Auto Show), bring Paisley back to literally size up the finalists. Yes, they'll let you do that.

Which compact crossover do you think would be the best for a big dog?

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 20,506 miles

Rain Performance

December 02, 2013

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.

The 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD is good company in bad weather. I like being able to see over the tangled mess of cars ahead of me. The SUV feels sure footed and is small enough to maneuver its way around a bad situation. The wipers do as they're bidden, and the blind-spot warning system is extra helpful when rain, street-splash and darkness make visibility iffy.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 20,776 miles

Fuel Economy Update for November

December 3, 2013

Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 logged just over 1,000 miles traversing the highways and side streets of Southern California in November. Its average fuel economy of 24.6 mpg was just shy of the crossover's lifetime average of 25.2 mpg. The CX-5's lifetime best and worst fills currently stand at 31.6 and 20 mpg, respectively.

Worst Fill MPG: 20.0
Best Fill MPG: 31.6
Average Lifetime MPG: 25.2
EPA MPG Rating: 26 combined (24 city, 30 highway)
Best Range: 372.6
Current Odometer: 20,985

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 20,985 miles

Parking Snafu

December 05, 2013

I think I insulted a parking lot in a former life. That's the only explanation I have for the bad airport parking-structure karma that I've been suffering.

A couple of weeks ago, it was low tire-pressure warning lights on all four tires. Got that resolved. This time, I returned from a weekend trip and got a bit of the third degree from the parking facility's manager when I turned in my ticket for the 2014 Mazda CX-5.

Manager: Is this your car?
Me: It's my company's car. Is there something wrong?
Manager: You work for [unintelligible]?
Me: No, I work for Edmunds. (Then, in a slightly more urgent tone) Did something happen to the car?

The car was fine. To make a long story short, a fleet management company that handles press cars uses this airport parking facility, and the parking facility directly bills the fleet management company for parking as various journalists comes and go in press vehicles.

I never said or implied I was an employee of the fleet management company, but I think some overzealous employee saw the firm's info on the key chain for the CX-5 and jumped to a conclusion. I paid my parking bill, and that was that. But it was a mystifying encounter for a couple of minutes

I think I'll go sweep up some parking-lot trash and see if that will spruce up my dharma scores.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 20,830 miles

Smudgy Screen

December 06, 2013

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.

What parts of your car do the car-wash folks always miss?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 20,867 miles

Wish I Could Get More Time With It

December 09, 2013

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.

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, Deputy Editor

Vents Don't Close

December 10, 2013

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.

Even when set to window or lower vents, and even with the flaps closed, these upper vents never fully stop passing air. Sometimes you just want a cool cabin without sitting in an arctic draft. Cost-cutting? Just give me a simple thumbwheel to completely cut off the air channel.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

Quick, Fun and Frugal

December 12, 2013

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.

The little crossover was more than up to the challenge, responding with an eagerness that left me grinning. With each tap of the gas pedal I was rewarded with acceleration that was quick and crisp. Around town, the CX-5 was similarly enjoyable, comporting itself with a nimbleness that made navigating both deserted side streets and clogged strip-mall parking lots a breeze.

There was a time when you had to pay a steep fuel economy cost if you wanted a vehicle that was this pleasant to drive, but thankfully, those days are long behind us. Class leaders like the Mazda CX-5 cover all the bases, with style and grace. 

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 20,985 miles

Will the Tree Fit?

December 13, 2013

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.

The tree did indeed fit with just a smidgen of its top hanging over into the driver area. I had to remove the cargo cover, of course. With the back rows folded flat, the CX-5 offers 64.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity. The back opening is nice and low, making it easy for our nice tree guy to slide in our chosen Noble fir.

This cupholder was perfect for the tiny poinsettia I picked up, too.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Good for Holiday Hauling

December 20, 2013

How lucky was I to get our 2014 Mazda CX-5 for the night? Four big, bulky boxes' worth of lucky. With the back seats down, the Mazda CX-5 easily accommodated them. There was even a little bit of space to spare.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 21,579 miles

Fuel Economy Update for December

January 07, 2014

Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 logged 1,145 miles in December. Its average fuel economy of 23.5 mpg was shy of the crossover's lifetime average of 25.1 mpg. The CX-5's lifetime best fill remains 31.6 mpg, but we managed a worst-to-date fill of 18.0 mpg last month. Its best range remains unchanged at 372.6 miles.

Worst Fill MPG: 18.0 
Best Fill MPG: 31.6 
Average Lifetime MPG: 25.1 
EPA MPG Rating: 26 combined (24 city, 30 highway) 
Best Range: 372.6 
Current Odometer: 22,130

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ 22,130 miles

Ready to Respond

January 16, 2014

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.

Quite to the contrary, the Mazda CX-5 responds quickly when you lean on the gas for need some added thrust. Press it down to the first "stop" and you'll get a prompt downshift and usually enough scoot for the task at hand. No zinging the engine to redline, putting the hurt on fuel mileage and having your passengers think you're Leadfoot Larry. And if you do need full power, just floor it and the CX-5 will gladly give you all of its 184 horses.

Along with its sharp handling and handsome looks, this endearing, responsive nature makes the CX-5 my hands-down personal pick for a compact crossover.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 23,018 miles

Seat Heaters Stay On

January 20, 2014

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.

For my tastes, they are a bit mild even on the third highest level. But I appreciate that no matter how many times I get in and out of the car, the seat heaters are automatically on. This is especially nice when you stop for gas on a chilly morning.

I like this feature for myself. But I have to remember to turn them off when I know I'm passing the car to another editor. This wouldn't be the case if I owned this car. But I'm wondering what you think.

Do you prefer that the car remembers to keep your seat heaters on, or would you rather set them each time you get into the car.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Fuel Economy Update for January

February 4, 2014

Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 logged 1,512 miles in January. Its average monthly fuel economy of 24.4 mpg was just shy of the crossover's lifetime average of 25.1 mpg. The CX-5's lifetime best fill remains 31.6 mpg.

Our worst fill of the month, 22.0 mpg, was considerably better than last month's 18.0 worst fill, which remains the CX-5's best worst fill (if that's a thing). Its best range remains unchanged at 372.6 miles.

Worst Fill MPG: 18.0 
Best Fill MPG: 31.6 
Average Lifetime MPG: 25.1
EPA MPG Rating: 26 combined (24 city, 30 highway) 
Best Range: 372.6 
Current Odometer: 23,645 miles

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 23,645 miles

Useful for Hauling Tires Again

February 5, 2014

This isn't the first time we've used our 2014 Mazda CX-5 to haul tires, and with a month left in our long-term road test, it might not be the last.

Last time we only had four tires and didn't even have to fold the rear seats. This time, though, we had six tires, plus various Ferodo brake pads, sundry brake job supplies and a large utility light, so I dropped the seats. Why six tires? Oh, because there is a 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX in my household, and I'm told you need multiple sets of tires for those. So five of the tires were size P215/45R17 all-seasons mounted on silver-finish wheels (because you need a matching full-size spare). The sixth was an unmounted summer tire, size P225/45R17.

As you can see, it all fit easily in the CX-5's 65-cubic-foot space. We did put down some moving blankets over the Mazda's carpeting, because the tires had been stored in a garage with several cockatiels and parakeets for some months. Don't ask.

Apart from this light hauling adventure, it was another fine weekend in the Mazda CX-5. Although I've decided I don't really care for the look and feel of our long-termer's dark interior (it isn't as rich or refined as the interior of a Ford Escape or Honda CR-V), all the necessary functionality is here and it's holding up quite well. Mind you, our CX-5 only has 23,430 miles on the clock. But we added those miles in a relatively short amount of time, and there's really no sign of wear and tear in here. That bodes well for real-life Mazda CX-5 ownership.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 23,430 miles

Driving Position Makes a Difference

February 10, 2014

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.

The seat and steering wheel feel like they have a smidge more adjustability (though that may not be true in reality), and I feel I'm in a slightly better position to drive the vehicle as a result. And because the Mazda still has an old-school handbrake, there's no foot brake crowding the dead pedal area as there is in the Honda. That's a minor observation, but it makes a difference on road trips.

So the driving position in the CX-5 might make the difference if I was going to buy a small crossover. Well, that and the fact that I can get xenon headlights on the Mazda.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 23,475 miles

Needs the Heads Up Cockpit

February 11, 2014

I recently had the chance to drive our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 and really liked it for the most part. It is comfortable, has great styling and good visibility. But its infotainment screen was a bit disappointing.

The screen is small and as my colleague James Riswick pointed out, the navigation system is rudimentary. Plus, I've already seen what Mazda will eventually replace it with — and it's much better.

Mazda showed off its next-generation infotainment system at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. The Heads Up Cockpit features a seven-inch screen placed higher on the dash, redundant controls with a touchscreen and a "commander knob" that is meant to be operated without having to look down.

This system is on the 2014 Mazda 3 and will eventually make its way into other Mazdas, but it may take a few years to do so. The CX-5's dash and center console would have to be rearranged to accommodate the new system, so chances are it won't happen until the next redesign.

Read more about CES and Mazda's new Heads Up Cockpit here.

What would you prefer? Control knob or touchscreen?

Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 23,174 miles

SCBS Issues

February 12, 2014

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.

The Smart City Brake Support system, which is optional, is intended to "...reduce damage in the event of a collision by operating the brake control (SCBS brake) when the system's laser sensor detects a vehicle ahead and determines that a collision with the vehicle ahead is unavoidable."

I differ with the part about the system only operating when a collision with the vehicle ahead is unavoidable.

What happened to me is that as I was nearing a stoplight, I made one of those semi-quick, sorta last-second maneuvers around a car that also probably started slowing a little more quickly than they had been. This was low speed stuff (must have been less than 18 mph, as SCBS is only functional between 2-18 mph), and even though I knew there was enough room, the system begged to differ. As I was about halfway into the next lane getting around this car, SCBS suddenly slammed the brakes on.

What made it more "interesting" for me was that I had forgotten the CX-5 even had this feature, so it was disconcerting, to say the least.

Not everyone drives the same, or encounters the exact same traffic situations. For instance, Josh Jacquot and Dan Edmunds, two noted CX-5 hogs, said neither has encountered any SCBS "freak-out" issues during their many, many miles.

And, what I also didn't know beforehand is that SCBS can be shut off by scrolling through a menu on the instrument panel. But you'll have to do this upon every startup.

Oh, and to top the weekend off, as I approached the Edmunds parking garage gate on Monday, mind full of a list of things to do, you guessed it, SCBS slammed on the brakes before I got close enough for my card to trip the gate's sensor.

Fun, indeed.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 23,849 miles

25,000 Miles in the Central Valley

February 24, 2014

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.

It's not often we're able to rack up this many miles in 12 months, and as I've mentioned in a previous update, our Mazda crossover is showing few signs of wear. Mind you, the CX-5 doesn't have the highest-quality interior in this class. The plastic, vinyl and leather surfaces are average in my book. However, in spite of my criticism, it's all holding up well.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 25,000 miles

Cracked Windshield

February 25, 2014

Earlier this week, I promised commentary from my road trip in the 2014 Mazda CX-5. Here's the first installment, but it's not in chronological order. Rather, this is what happened at the very end of the road trip. As I was driving south on Interstate 15, a rock flew up and hit the CX-5's windshield, creating a star on the passenger side of the glass.

Within an hour, that star became a 12-inch-long crack.

Accordingly, we'll be replacing the Mazda CX-5's windshield before our long-term test ends. And of course we'll let you know how much it costs.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 25,722 miles

Windshield Replacement

February 28, 2014

When the windshield on our 2014 Mazda CX-5 cracked, we figured it would be an easy fix. It turned out to be more difficult than expected.

Our first phone call was to Safelite AutoGlass. This company has been historically quick to locate and install new glass. They've done so at a reasonable price, and it was always as easy as a few keystrokes online.

Not this time.

We needed a windshield to account for our optional rain-sensing wipers and Smart City Brake Support system. This was the hang-up. For one, we had to call rather than order the glass online. The phone rep confirmed the glass was not in stock. It had to be special-ordered, but she could not place the order for us. Instead, the warehouse had to call us back to do so. That call never came.

Option B was a call to Huntington Beach Mazda. This dealership was nearby, and its proximity was the primary reason for our call. We had not used them before, but we will try them again. Our advisor located a replacement windshield in moments and scheduled installation for the next morning. The glass and seal cost $539.21 and the labor was a flat $250 for the outfit they sublet the work to. This was the easy we wanted.

On the whole, this experience was more complicated than a typical windshield replacement. We can't blame the Safelite for not having parts in stock, just that it didn't call us back. Thankfully, the Mazda dealer was able to deliver a timely install and get us back on the road.

Total Cost: $789.21

Days out of Service: None

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 25,785 miles

What a Great Automatic Transmission

March 3, 2014

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.

You see, the 184-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that's standard on the CX-5 Touring and Grand Touring trim levels is good. But there's no denying that it's a little thin on torque and, accordingly, doesn't feel as potent as it might when you're climbing grades or initiating a decisive passing maneuver. And although it never sounds bad, the power delivery feels and sounds a little reedy when you're working it hard.

But I rarely thought about these minor shortcomings during my drive, because the automatic transmission largely compensates for them by making so many right choices.

As we climbed the El Tejon Pass on the Grapevine section of Interstate 5, for example, there was no unnecessary shuffling between gears. Depending on the steepness of the stretch, the engine speed might be at 3,000 rpm or 4,000 rpm, but it was clear the transmission knew exactly which gear was needed in any given situation. That sounds so simple, but I don't think I've experienced that in any other automatic-equipped small crossover SUV, including the ones with the supposedly smarty-pants continuously variable transmissions (CVTs).

After I crossed the I-580 Richmond-San Rafael toll bridge visible in the top photo, I came upon some pretty cutthroat East Bay traffic. Here again, the Mazda CX-5 was a pleasant companion. It's not the quickest crossover in this class (I'd go for an Escape with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine if I wanted that), but the transmission does such a nice job of reading your intentions (as expressed through your right foot) and making the most of what the 2.5-liter engine has to offer.

Lately, my husband and I have been talking a lot about buying a current-generation Mazda 5 (which of course has Mazda's older, but still rather likable 2.5-liter engine and five-speed automatic transmission). But after this road trip, the CX-5 is looking like a much stronger candidate, even though it lacks sliding rear doors.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 25,722 miles

Fuel Economy Update for February 2014

March 4, 2014

This is our final fuel economy update for our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD, and it includes the tanks from my 930-mile road trip to Northern California. With a 70-mph speed limit on most of Interstates 5 and 580, I didn't improve much on the CX-5's lifetime average, which edged up to 25.2 mpg.

If you're keeping score at home, that's still short of the small crossover's 26 mpg EPA combined rating.

However, I logged a couple of 28.5 mpg tanks. That's lower than the highway rating, yes, but respectable given my cruising speed, driving style and fairly significant time in stop-and-go traffic in both the Bay Area and greater Los Angeles. In addition, I set a new high for cruising range at 374.6 miles. At one point, I was on pace for a 400-mile tank, but then, traffic ground to a halt in Santa Clarita and that was the end of that. Yay, California.

To put the Mazda's lifetime fuel economy in context, note that our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V EX AWD (whose engine and transmission are identical to the 2014 model) averaged 24.8 mpg while in our care.

Mind you, the CR-V still uses a five-speed automatic transmission, rather than a six-speed automatic like our CX-5. And of course, the Honda doesn't have a newly engineered direct-injected engine like our Mazda. However, I'll venture that the more athletic CX-5 has probably inspired a more spirited driving style in many of our editors, and I count myself in that group. With that caveat, the CX-5's slightly higher lifetime fuel economy is noteworthy. In short, fun driving does not equal bad fuel economy.

Worst Fill MPG: 18.0
Best Fill MPG: 31.6
Average Lifetime MPG: 25.2
EPA MPG Rating: 26 Combined (24 City/30 Highway)
Best Range: 374.6 miles
Current Odometer: 25,860 miles

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 25,860 miles

Ride Quality Is Right on for a Road Trip

March 11, 2014

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.)

No, the Mazda CX-5 does not ride softly. It's not a plush ride. But it is almost always composed, and even over broken, truck-bludgeoned pavement, it was never harsh. This was really a pleasant surprise in light of the CX-5's adroit handling around the few turns along my route. I didn't feel like I was giving up anything in the way of comfort compared with the CR-V, yet I was still getting sharper steering and sportier handling. That's a pretty sweet deal.

The Mazda wasn't loud, either. There's probably nothing special about our CX-5 Grand Touring's P225/55R19 99V Toyo A23 all-season tires, but they haven't gotten significantly louder as they've aged. Either that or the CX-5 is better insulated from road noise than our long-term 2012 Mazda 3. Or both.

I actually noticed more wind noise than tire noise during my travels. Wind noise is of course a common issue on tall crossovers, and I remember complaining about it after my trip in our CR-V as well. It's noticeable in the Mazda, but it's not due to poor sealing around the doors or anything. It's probably just wind coming off the mirrors, and I can live with that.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 25,860 miles

Driver Seat Makes the Cut

March 12, 2014

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/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, Deputy Editor @ 25,860 miles

Dislodged Trim in Driver Footwell

March 18, 2014

With the exception of its cheapo floor mats, our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 generally makes the grade for interior quality. Its materials are mostly up to par, and everything's put together with convincing precision.

That said, I managed to dislodge this plastic trim piece in the driver footwell. How did this happen? Oh, I caught my right foot on the lower edge of it while excitedly getting out of the CX-5 to take a photo.

Sans trim piece, this was the scene in the Mazda's foot well.

Fortunately, the tabs on the trim piece sustained no damage in the incident. And when I got around to addressing the situation several days later (after initially tossing the trim piece in the backseat to have it out of the way), the piece snapped right back into place.

Although the trim fits snugly once more, I can see the possibility of this happening again if I owned the Mazda CX-5. As I attempt to demonstrate here (with my fingers), it is possible, even likely, that a large-footed driver hastily getting out of the vehicle could catch a toe under this panel and detach it.

Mind you, I don't think this instance of trim piece detachment reflects poorly on the CX-5's quality, but I do think there are better ways to execute plastic trim in the foot well of a small crossover SUV.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 25,860 miles


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.

Our Impressions

"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.

"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

Regular Maintenance:
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.

Service Campaigns:
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.

Summing Up

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.