- New, more powerful 184-hp four-cylinder engine
- Excellent driving dynamics for a crossover
- One of the few crossovers offered with a six-speed manual
The 2014 Mazda CX-5 is back for its second year of production with a new trick up its sleeve, a more powerful 184-hp engine.
The CX-5 debuted last year as a replacement to the unloved Tribute and immediately made the outgoing model irrelevant. In a very competitive compact SUV segment that is long on options but short on style, the CX-5 is a breath of fresh air with its aggressive “Kodo” design. The front of the CX-5 is dominated by a large, pentagon-shaped grille bearing the Mazda crest flanked by swept headlight clusters. The CX-5 is in our opinion, the best looking compact crossover around with small apologies to the Ford Escape and the Kia Sportage. Dual tailpipes and a roof spoiler give the rear some added visual flair. 17-inch wheels are standard, while 19-inch alloys are optional.
Like most of Mazda’s latest models, the CX-5 uses what Mazda calls its “SkyActiv” engine and transmission technology, which is focused on fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance. SkyActiv engines utilize high compression ratios and direct injection to use gas more efficiently, and weight reductions in the engine and the frame also help fuel economy.
The base Sport trim keeps the same engine found in the 2013 model, a 155-horsepower, SkyActiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 150 pounds-feet of torque. This engine is offered with the choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, although models with the optional all-wheel drive system only come with the automatic. Both the Touring and Grand Touring trims use the new engine, a 184-horsepower, SkyActiv 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 185 pounds-feet or torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic. Fuel economy is best with the manual transmission and the base engine, 26/35 mpg city/highway (26/32 mpg with the automatic). Stepping up to the larger engine only sacrifices one city mpg, with Touring and Grand Touring models offering 25/32 mpg (all figures for FWD model, AWD models lag by one mpg both city and highway).
The 2014 CX-5 has a simple interior design and plenty of interior cargo room (34.1 cubic feet) behind the second row. Like most other vehicles in this segment, the CX-5 starts with pretty basic features with lots of room to add more luxurious options. This allows the CX-5 to be both affordable for those who are on a tighter budget, or well-outfitted for buyers who are looking for more premium features. Air conditioning, cloth seats, power windows and locks, push button start, and a USB input are standard. Optional technology includes a Tom Tom navigation system, 5.8-inch touch screen display, Bluetooth connectivity, HD radio, and a Bose audio system. New for 2014 is optional Pandora Internet Radio compatibility and a system that can read incoming text messages aloud and reply with preset responses. The cabin can also be spruced up with leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated front seats.
The 2014 CX-5 performed extremely well in crash safety tests, earning a full five-star overall rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. Six airbags, antilock brakes, and an electronic stability system with traction control are standard. Optional safety features include a backup camera, blind spot warning system, and a new Smart City Brake Support system which helps prevent low speed frontal collisions.