2014 Mazda CX-5 Long Term Update 4: Going Golfing

2014 Mazda CX-5 Long Term Update 4: Going Golfing

We check back in with our CX-5 long term tester. We know it can handle a family, but is it cut out for the bachelor life?

When it comes to crossovers, versatility is about more than sure-footedness on varying terrain.

It’s about accommodating a variety of drivers and their inevitably different lifestyles. The AutoGuide.com team is a perfect example.

We share a common interest in cars, but check our Twitter feeds over the weekend and you’ll probably learn that we’re off pursuing a wide range of interests.

For example, Colum Wood is usually busy on road trips with his family and the CX-5 managed it admirably. Mike Schlee, on the other hand, loaded the cargo area routinely with bags of soil and sand as he toiled to landscape his back yard over the summer. Craig Cole’s weekends are shrouded in mystery.


My Saturdays start with a healthy dose of beige: khakis, coffee and if all goes well, a trip to the driving range. Getting out on the course for a full 18 is another story.

You see, my clubs are a motley assortment collected during dutiful weekly trips to the thrift shop beside my tiny college apartment. They each cost 99 cents. Except my driver: that was about $3.50. A 10-year-old in a Titleist visor mocked me once because of them. I’m still recovering.

Anyway, I wanted to play a round and two of my friends that golf regularly agreed to take me out… provided I would drive.  The trouble was, my compact sedan can’t carry three full sets of clubs and three people at the same time. It was time to give the AutoGuide long-term CX-5 its toughest test yet: visiting a country club.

Right about now, it’s worth mentioning that I routinely offer rides to friends while reviewing cars like the Scion iQ. I also usually neglect to disclose to them whether or not the car in question can comfortably accommodate said passengers. So it was understandable when they insisted I bring something appropriate for the trip.


The CX-5 has 34.1 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats raised. That proved to be adequate for three golf bags with room to spare. In fact, we had enough space to store a change of clothes and gear to go to the beach later that day.

Carry your clubs through 18 holes on a course with plenty of elevation changes and you’ll soon realize how heavy they really are. Multiply that by three, add the associated bodies plus some extra junk and you’ll end up with one heavily-loaded crossover.

Even with the extra bulk, the CX-5 handled with easy on both paved and dirt roads. The engine never felt out of breath going to or from the course, which was impressive considering the path to and from the course involved a driving over a series of pseudo-mountains. They wouldn’t compare to the Rockies or Appalachians, but using the term “big hill” would be a gross understatement. Regardless, the vehicle handled inclines and declines with ease. Mazda-CX-5-Interior-2.jpg

Part of the charm behind the CX-5 is that it’s simple, attractive and well equipped for a vehicle that costs $31,790. With Tom Tom-based navigation and a Bose stereo, the car is chock-full of recognizable branding and high-quality gadgetry.

FAST 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.

Blind spot monitoring might not be necessary because the mirrors are almost Dumbo-sized, but it comes in handy from time to time. Neither is a backup camera, except when you’ve overwhelmed the boot with gear. The CX-5 has your back there too.

It’s also worth mentioning here that the 40/20/40 split rear seat is a must-have. Every vehicle with a second row of seats should include this as standard equipment.

It can climb mountains, carry families, save fuel and facilitate a golf outing all while looking good. For the price, there aren’t many vehicles as good as the 2.5-liter Mazda CX-5.

GALLERY: 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD