30 More Horsepower Makes All the Difference
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
“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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