Mazda’s compact crossover begins a three month test
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.
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.
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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.
The 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
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.
But 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.
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.
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.
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.