2014 Mazda CX-5 SUV Review

30 More Horsepower Makes All the Difference
 (2.5L 4-cyl. 6-speed Automatic)
  • 2014 Mazda CX-5 - Action Front 3/4 - 13

    2014 Mazda CX-5 – Action Front 3/4 – 13

    Now that the CX-5 has a power plant worthy of the chassis, it’s a far more likable package. | February 05, 2013 | Mazda North America Operation

 2014 Mazda CX-5 - Action Rear 3/4 - 22014 Mazda CX-5 – Action Rear 3/4 – 2

 

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“We’d love it even more with another 30 horsepower onboard, but the Mazda CX-5 is still a fun drive despite its meager engine power.”

That’s what we wrote after our 2013 Mazda CX-5 road test with the 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine. For 2014, Mazda has answered the call by giving Touring and Grand Touring versions of the 2014 Mazda CX-5 a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 184 hp. That’s exactly 29 more hp than the 2.0-liter engine, which remains standard on the 2014 CX-5 Sport.

Even more important is the new engine’s extra 35 pound-feet of torque. We’re driving a 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring around trendy Austin, Texas, where rush hour has become a competitive event as everyone makes a dash for their homes in the suburbs. Right away, that additional grunt helps us catch holes in traffic that would have been off limits in last year’s CX-5.

CX-5 Gets Muscle From the Mazda 6
The new 2.5-liter four-cylinder also bears the name Skyactiv, since like the 2.0-liter, it’s part of Mazda’s new family of gasoline engines that use direct injection, high compression and low-friction materials to achieve solid performance and high fuel economy while running on plain old 87 octane fuel.

We already sampled a version of this engine in the 2014 Mazda 6, which is closely related to the CX-5 beneath the skin. Their common platform architecture was originally designed for the sedan, but it’s a quirk of U.S. marketing that we got the SUV before we got the car.

In the Mazda 6, the 2.5-liter engine is offered with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, but if you want a manual in your 2014 CX-5, you’ll have to drop back to the 2.0-liter Sport model, as the automatic is standard with the 2.5-liter engine. It’s too bad, because the manual is startlingly good. However, Mazda officials tell us the take rate for the three-pedal CX-5 is a disappointing 7 percent.

Quick Enough With the Automatic
That’s no criticism of the six-speed automatic, though. It’s geared the same for both engines, and in our all-wheel-drive CX-5 2.5, it’s perceptive and comes up with downshifts quickly when we need to pass.

You still won’t be towing horse trailers with the 2014 Mazda CX-5 (indeed, towing capacity is unchanged at 2,000 pounds), but the extra torque is evident and appreciated in the Texas Hill Country.

Our non-certified digital wristwatch suggests a 0-60-mph time in the low 8-second range is within its grasp. That jibes with our seat-of-the-pants impression that the 2014 Mazda CX-5 2.5 is at least a second quicker than the 2013 CX-5 2.0, which ran a 9.7-second 0-60 (or 9.5 seconds with a foot of rollout) during Edmunds testing. For its part, Mazda claims the AWD CX-5 2.5 will run a 7.8-second 0-60, while the lighter front-drive version is reportedly capable of 7.2. If true, the 2014 CX-5 2.5 would be as quick as a 2.0-liter EcoBoost-equipped 2013 Ford Escape, but we won’t know for sure until we test one.

Mazda still won’t confirm that it’s going to offer its even more potent 2.2-liter diesel engine in the U.S.-market CX-5, but we were mightily impressed by the diesel CX-5 prototypes we drove some months back, and that engine is already on sale in European CX-5s. The diesel will be offered in our Mazda 6 later this year.

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6 thoughts on “2014 Mazda CX-5 SUV Review

  1. From my age, Have know the Mazda brand for like some 20 yeras because that was one of my dad’s first car, and have always love the brand

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