2014 Mazda CX-5 offers a new engine option that boosts
horsepower 19 percent and torque 23 percent without reducing
butterfly breaking out of its chrysalis, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand
Touring crossover emerges transformed this spring.
The 2013 CX-5
that debuted a year ago was the first vehicle to use Mazda’s
highly touted, awkwardly named SkyActiv suite of systems to improve
fuel economy. It was an underpowered, underwhelming disappointment.
The 2014 CX-5
soars above that caterpillar, thanks to a new engine that boosts
horsepower 19 percent and torque 23 percent without reducing fuel
competes with five-passenger crossover SUVs like the Chevrolet
Equinox, Dodge Journey, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe
Sport, Kia Sportage; Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4 and Volkswagen Tiguan.
2.5-liter engine produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of
torque at 3,250 rpm. That’s an unusually low torque peak for an
engine without a turbocharger. For instance, the Honda CR-V’s
2.4-liter four-cylinder engine peaks at 163 pound-feet at 4,400 rpm.
Behind the wheel, the CX-5’s higher torque at lower engine speed
translates to smooth, confident acceleration and good throttle
response. The CX-5 has more torque at lower rpm than the non-turbo
four-cylinder engines in the Equinox, Journey, Escape, CR-V,
Sportage, Rogue and RAV4.
engine comes with the CX-5’s two upper trim levels: Touring and
Grand Touring. The weak-kneed — 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, 150
pound-feet at 4,000 rpm — 2.0-liter carries over on the Sport
Prices for the
2014 Mazda CX-5 start at $21,195 for a front-wheel drive Sport with
the 2.0-liter and six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed
automatic raises the tab to $22,595. Adding all-wheel drive —
available only with the automatic — kicks it up to $23,845.
Note: I list
prices for the Sport out of a sense of obligation, not endorsement.
The barely serviceable 2.0-liter made the 2013 CX-5 one of the most
disappointing vehicles I tested last year. It was a burlap bag of a
crossover — inexpensive and fuel-efficient, but totally lacking
the zippy character that’s always been Mazda’s greatest charm.
cures what ails the Sport. Starting at $24,615 in a front-drive
Touring — $25,865 for AWD — it restores Mazda to the forefront
of fun, affordable driving. Prices for the CX-5 Grand Touring start
at $27,620 for front-drive and $28,870 for AWD. The 2.5-liter engine
only comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. All prices
exclude destination charges.
I tested a
very well-equipped front-drive CX-5 priced at $29,845. It featured
excellent interior materials and Bose audio, a power sun roof, blind
spot alert, Bluetooth phone and audio compatibility and voice
recognition. I’ve evaluated several crossovers that cost more but
In addition to
the new engine, the quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission
locks its torque converter at low speeds to reduce internal slip and
increase efficiency. The CX-5 is also one of the lightest vehicles
in its class.
The CX-5 leapt
forward when I depressed the accelerator. Acceleration was smooth
and assured, though the engine gets noisy when you floor it. Road
and wind noise are also noticeable above 60 mph.
handling is the sportiest and most enjoyable among its competitors.
Quick and responsive steering provides plenty of feedback and firm
on-center feel. The suspension keeps the CX-5 stable and confident
in quick maneuvers. Body roll, squat and dive are minimal.
provides plenty of passenger and cargo space, and is trimmed in
high-quality materials. In an age of over-complicated, less than
helpful controls, the CX-5 Grand Touring’s combination of a few
simple buttons and dials with a small touch screen is a breath of
recognition system understands words and commands well, but requires
more steps than the best competitors.
exterior styling features flared fenders, scalloped sides and a
sloping roofline. Less gimmicky than the overdone Mazda 3 compact,
it’s the brand’s most appealing-looking model in years.
After a false
start with 2013’s 2.0-liter, Mazda takes flight with the sporty,
efficient and well-equipped 2014 CX-5 Grand Touring.
CX-5 GRAND TOURING:
vehicle: Front-wheel drive five-passenger crossover SUV
Four out of four stars
buy: Fuel economy; performance; looks; interior materials; features;
Interior noise; voice-recognition commands.
2.5-liter direct-injected DOHC variable timing 16-valve
horsepower at 5,700 rpm; 185 pound-feet of torque at 3,250 rpm
economy rating: 25 mpg city/32 highway/27 combined. Regular fuel.
base model: $21,195
test model: $27,620
exclude destination charges