By William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
May 9, 2013
(Author’s Note: I’ll be mostly covering powertrain changes and a few other changes from the last CX-5 I drove. Those looking for a more in-depth review can click here for my 2013 CX-5 review. -WM)
When I drove the 2013 Mazda CX-5 last summer, I had many praises for it. I loved the exterior styling, the way it drove, and impressive fuel economy to name a few. One part of the CX-5 I didn’t like was the 2.0L SKYACTIV-G engine. While the 2.0L was chock full of technologies and interesting ideas, it was simply not enough engine for this size crossover..
Mazda has heard those complaints and addressed a solution at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show by introducing a larger 2.5L SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder which brought forth more power. This new engine would appear in the 2014 Mazda6 and CX-5. A revisit it seem was in order and a few weeks ago, a 2014 CX-5 Grand Touring landed on my doorstep with the new 2.5L engine.
The new 2.5L SKYACTIV-G engine produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque, increases of 29 and 35 respectively when compared with the 2.0L SKYACTIV-G. A six-speed automatic is your only transmission. Also, you can only get the 2.5L on the Touring and Grand Touring models. Those opting for the base Sport model stick with the 2.0L. The 2.5L also takes a slight hit in fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2.5L at 25 City/32 Highway/27 Combined compared to the 2.0L’s 26 City/32 Highway/29 Combined.
The 2.5L really makes the CX-5 come alive. Whether you’re leaving from a stop or needing to make a pass, the engine doesn’t come under any strain. Plus, the 2.5L has the low end punch that was missing from the 2.0L. The six-speed automatic is the same as the last CX-5 I drove: very quick on upshifts, stumbling somewhat on the downshifts. Fuel economy was also very good on the 2.5L. My week’s average was 26.7 MPG.
Despite the 2.5L adding about 100 lbs to CX-5’s curb weight, the excellent ride and handling characteristics are still there. The suspension copes very well when push, providing excellent stability and keeping body roll in control. Steering has the right weight and provides surprising feel. Drive it day to day and the CX-5 is composed and comfortable on most road surfaces.
One other new feature that should be talked about is Mazda's Smart City Brake Support. Optional on the Touring and Grand Touring models, Smart City Brake Support uses a laser sensor mounted in windshield to detect an impending low speed collision. If the driver doesn’t react quickly, the system will intervene and brake the CX-5 to minimize or eliminate a crash. Sadly I didn’t get chance to try out the system.
I did have some problems with the CX-5 though. The first comes from the Bluetooth system. Pairing my phone with the headunit took upwards of thirty seconds. This is pretty poor considering the competition can do it in about ten seconds or less. The other problem comes with the Grand Touring trim level. Aside from adding leather seats, automatic climate control, and nineteen-inch alloy wheels; you option up a mid-level Touring model to be almost the same as a Grand Touring for less money. Unless Mazda has a killer feature that they are saving for Grand Touring down the road, I would go with the touring.
Otherwise, the new 2.5L SKYACTIV-G breaths new life into the Mazda CX-5 and makes it, at least in my opinion, one of the best crossovers on the market.
Disclaimer: Mazda provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline.
Year - 2014
Make – Mazda
Model – CX-5
Trim – Grand Touring FWD
Engine – 2.5L SKYACTIV-G Four-Cylinder
Driveline – Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
Horsepower @ RPM – 184 @ 5,700 RPM
Torque @ RPM – 185 @ 3,250 RPM
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/32/27
Curb Weight – 3,375 lbs
Location of Manufacture – Hiroshima, Japan
Base Price - $27,620.00
As Tested Price - $30,340.00* (Includes $795.00 destination charge)
Grand Touring Tech Package - $1,625
Retractable Cargo Cover - $200
Rear Bumper Guard - $100