2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD: 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