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2014 Mazda CX-5 Long-Term Introduction

Mazda’s compact crossover begins a three month test

 |  Jun 17 2013, 2:31 PM

2014 mazda cx-5 2.5l

After impressing us during a comparison test earlier in the year, we get our hands on a 2014 Mazda CX-5 for an extended test drive. Over the next three months we will put this vehicle through a barrage of tests and situations to see how well it stacks up during everyday life.

The AutoGuide family is constantly growing and we would like to welcome our newest family member. No, we haven’t hired another caroholic into our ranks. This new addition is a little more mechanical, it is the 2014 Mazda CX-5.

2014-Mazda-CX-5-Long-Term-08.JPGFAST FACTS
1.     Power comes from a 2.5 L four-cylinder engine that makes 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque.
2.     Our all-wheel drive test vehicle is officially rated at 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
3.     A six-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the upgraded 2.5 L engine.
4.     Our fully-loaded long-term test vehicle comes in at $31,590 after destination charges.

 

Being the first compact crossover Mazda has designed independently, and the first vehicle to both wear the KODO design language and be built from the ground up with SkyActiv technology, this is a very important automobile for the company. And it’s our new long term test car.

Since coming on the scene last year, the CX-5 has received praise from us for its efficient operation, good dynamics and great looks. The only real weakness we found with the 2013 CX-5 was a lack of power, especially when loaded up. For 2014 this was addressed with a larger engine that pumps power up by 29 hp.

IMPRESSIVE DEBUT

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Upon its release, we immediately threw the 2014 CX-5 into a comparison test earlier this year against the all-new 2013 Toyota RAV4. The Mazda came out on top and we were so impressed by this compact crossover that we wanted to see how it would stack up over the long haul, during normal, everyday life. To do this, we rang up Mazda and asked if could borrow a CX-5 for the next three months. Foolishly, they said yes.

2014-Mazda-CX-5-Long-Term-04.JPGThe model we chose to evaluate is the fully loaded 2014 CX-5 Grand Touring technology package with AWD. It comes equipped with items like adaptive HID headlights, rain sensing windshield wipers, heated mirrors, power sunroof, push button start, an eight-way power driver’s seat, Tom-Tom navigation, 19-inch wheels wearing 225/55R19 all-season tires and Mazda’s city safe braking system. With every option box checked off, this CX-5 comes in at $31,590 including destination charges.

See Also: 2014 Mazda CX-5 Review

By selecting either the Touring or Grand Touring trim levels, the base 2.0L four-cylinder engine is dropped in favor of the all-new 2.5L four-cylinder motor that makes 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. Available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the only down side to the upgraded engine is that it cannot be paired to a manual transmission like the base engine can; a six-speed automatic is the exclusive transmission for the 2.5L unit. Our all-wheel drive test vehicle is expected to achieve 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. We will regularly update observed fuel economy over the coming months.

GOING TO BE PUT TO THE TEST

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During a regular road test, we are only allotted a week or so behind the wheel of the evaluation vehicle. Although it does give us a good general feel, it is hard to test a car in every possible scenario a potential owner would. But with this CX-5, it will run the complete gauntlet of tests. It will be taken on family road trips, weekend getaways and staff business outings. It will endure daily rush hour commutes through total gridlock, evening grocery store runs and weekend hardware store ventures.

2014-Mazda-CX-5-Long-Term-14.JPGBut the toughest test of all may well be when we give it to our video editors. Becoming the official camera support vehicle, the CX-5 will need to be able to go where ever the vehicle being shot does. That means it could end up on racetracks, off-road course, city parking lots or urban streets.

See Also: 2014 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2013 Toyota RAV4 Comparison Test – Video

After having the crossover for only a few days, our opinion on it hasn’t changed much. It is currently achieving decent gas mileage, has some serious handling prowess for a crossover and looks great; especially in soul red. The 19-inch wheels really set off the exterior and the CX-5 achieves a somewhat aggressive look despite being a compact crossover. The HID headlights illuminate the road very well at night and add a classy touch to this family hauler.

SMALL ANNOYANCES

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So far, the CX-5 has easily handled having two child seats installed for a 700-mile family road trip and the 34.1 cu.ft. trunk accommodated all the associated luggage with ease. The soft touch dash and simple control layouts make it easy to operate even if the telescopic steering wheel does not come far enough out for some of our staff.

Another issue some staff members have found with the CX-5 has to do with the transmission. It seems to hold gears, both high and low, too long during normal operation and on long drives can become quite annoying. But power is no longer an issue with this vehicle thanks to that bump in engine size.

THE VERDICT

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But, the long-term testing has merely begun. Over the next 90 days we will continue to put the CX-5 through its paces and report back how it handles the daily grind. Do you have any questions about the vehicle or how it handles specific scenarios? Ask away on our Facebook page, Tweet us, or post below in the comments section. We would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

LOVE IT

  • Great looks
  • Good handling
  • Decent fuel economy
  • Attractive interior

 

 

 

 

LEAVE IT

  • Transmission
  • Telescopic steering wheel

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  • Zaccy16

    In australia this is the best selling SUV and deservedly so!

  • Simon

    Do you think the i-stop function saves petrol?

  • mikev552

    You are wrong about the auto trans. It’s adaptable. It’s one of the best in the market. Give it some time to learn your driving pattern. It will be down shifting and rev matching by just thinking it!

  • AuthenticSwag

    Would love to see some cargo space comparisons between competition (i.e. dimensions/measurements, not just the standard cubic feet statistic, but real world scenarios). The vehicle looks smallish on the road, probably due to its sleek styling, but not sure if that translates into a reduced cargo area.

  • MetalMania

    I’d like to hear your comments and impressions on road and wind noise at typical highway speeds (55 – 75 mph). I’ve read that the CX-5 is not the quietest CUV around on the highway, but would like to know if it’s excessive or at levels that you consider to be annoying or distracting. I don’t expect luxury car quietness from a Mazda, but I would hope it’s not really bad.

  • Mateo

    Can someone explain to me what the different is between a long term and one that you guys review normally? What’s the biggest difference? What do you plan to do? I ask because I’m thinking about buying a CX-5 and I’m really eager to read an in-depth look at the car. You’re spending my dollars vicariously. Remember that!

  • Mike Schlee

    This test will be four months long whereas a regular test is usually a week. In the video we describe some of the tests we plan to put the CX-5 on like using it on video shoots to haul around our equipment, taking a family with young children on road trips, hauling around multiple staff members to media events, heading up to the cottage on the weekends, etc.

    Of course we will also use it for daily commutes in rush hour traffic.

  • Mike Schlee

    The noise levels are not great in the CX-5. Some compact crossovers are quieter, but I would put the CX-5 around the class average.

  • Name

    Looking forward to hearing the coming up reviews and comparing them to my experience with my CX-5.
    BlackHatch

  • simon

    did you test the time for 0-60?

  • ColumWood

    We have not yet, but we’ll get full data on it. In fact, while doing a track test the other day (on other cars) we ran it around our test track… so we’ll post that time too!

  • Simon

    Thanks. Look forward to seeing the result

  • Jason

    So far do you find that the CX 5 can beat you up a bit when driving on bumpy roads?

  • Rob

    Personally I find the CX 5 interior very dark at night time and the engine noise a bit too loud

  • aeliboc

    with two child seats in the back is there room for an adult to sit in the middle?

  • ColumWood

    I took the car on a road trip with two children (3 and 5) in Britax child seats and I’d say you really can’t fit a person in the space left in between. You might have a bit more luck if one or both of the seats are infant seats.

  • ColumWood

    We recently had a Honda CR-V to test and one thing we did notice between the two cars is that the load floor for the CX-5 is much higher, meaning it’s not as easy to load stuff. Still, overall it’s a great space in the back of the CX-5 and is larger in the back that it looks.

  • charles

    How do you check that its 2.5L and not 2.0L im buying a mazda cx-5 and want to make sure they are giving me the right engine size

  • charles

    how can you tell the difference betwwen 2014 vs 2013 is there a difference besides the engine?

  • Tom95134

    There have been comments elsewhere about excessive road noise leaking into the car from the rear wheels. Anybody have some input on this issue? If it is the case, can it be corrected by applying “Dynamat” or is there no room between the interior trim and the metal?