2015 CX-5 New Car Test Drive
Introduced for 2013, the Mazda CX-5 was a totally new five-passenger compact crossover utility vehicle. Largely defined by the Honda CR-V for the past decade, the rapidly expanding compact utility vehicle category includes the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Kia Sportage, and Subaru Forester.
The Mazda CX-5 distinguishes itself from the other CUVs with its sleek styling, excellent fuel economy and agile handling. It looks great and it's more fun to drive than the Honda or Toyota.
The initial Mazda 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at a modest 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, delivered respectable performance on the road, but some competitors offered more power.
For 2014, Mazda CX-5 is available with a new Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter four-cylinder, whipping up 184 horsepower at 5700 rpm, and 185 pound-feet at 3250 rpm. Compared to the 2.0-liter, that's 19 percent more horsepower and 23 percent greater torque. 2014 Mazda CX-5 Touring and Grand Touring editions get the new engine, while the CX-5 Sport model sticks with the original 2.0-liter, and remains available with a manual gearbox.
2014 Mazda CX-5 models also offer a new Smart City Brake Support system with Touring and Grand Touring Technology packages. Those models no longer include a burglar alarm.
Mazda CX-5 is not based on other Mazda vehicles but was instead designed from scratch, and features new underpinnings and technology Mazda intends to adapt to future vehicles. The CX-5 is larger than it looks. Its overall length, width, and height are nearly an inch larger than those of the Honda CR-V. However, at 106.3 inches, the CX-5 wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than that of the CR-V; a longer wheelbase generally equates to improved ride quality and high-speed stability.
Fuel economy is a definite plus. With the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine and front-wheel drive, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 gets an EPA-rated 25/32 mpg City/Highway. All-wheel drive drops the estimate to 24/30 mpg. A CX-5 Sport model with the original 2.0-liter gets an EPA estimate of 26/35 mpg with front-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual transmission, or 26/32 mpg with the available 6-speed automatic. Mazda claimed the 2.0-liter CX-5 got the best fuel economy in its class and the best highway mileage of any SUV. All models run on less-expensive Regular Unleaded gasoline.
Light weight is another Mazda CX-5 advantage. CX-5 weighs just 3,375 pounds when equipped with front-wheel drive and the Skyactiv-G engine, a benefit of its lightweight engine, a chassis structure made largely of high-tensile steel, and other weight-saving strategies.
A 6-speed manual transmission is available on the Sport with front-wheel drive. CX-5 models equipped with the larger Skyactiv-G engine, or a Sport model with all-wheel drive, come with a 6-speed automatic.
CX-5 offers excellent fuel economy, superb road manners, attractive styling, and an array of telematic features. We were particularly impressed with the comfort, versatility, road manners, and safety features of both models. The CX-5's agility and exceptionally accurate steering make both versions entertaining to drive. While acceleration is so-so with the smaller engine, the larger engine competes well with the other vehicles in the class.
The 2014 Mazda CX-5 comes in three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. Each offers a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Touring and Grand Touring models feature the new 2.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine, while the Sport retains the original 2.0-liter engine.
CX-5 Sport is available with 6-speed automatic and front-wheel drive ($22,595) or 6-speed automatic or all-wheel drive ($23,845), and it's the only model that offers a 6-speed manual transmission ($21,195). The CX-5 Sport comes standard with cloth upholstery, manual air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with four speakers, USB, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with remote controls, cruise control, remote keyless entry, power windows and locks, 60/40 split fold-down rear seats, push-button start, rear spoiler with side fins, and 17-inch alloy wheels. An optional Bluetooth Audio Package ($400) adds a 5.8-inch color touch screen monitor, wireless cellphone connectivity, Pandora audio, and HD radio.
In addition to boasting the larger (2.5-liter) Skyactiv-G engine, CX-5 Touring ($24,615) upgrades the cloth upholstery and comes standard with the 5.8-inch color display with rearview camera, adding a blind-spot monitoring system, six-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 40/20/40-split fold-down rear seats, rear-seat armrest with two cupholders, illuminated vanity mirrors, Bluetooth, HD radio, and fog lights. CX-5 Touring AWD ($25,865) adds all-wheel drive. An optional Technology Package ($1485) includes TomTom-based navigation; rain-sensing windshield wipers; high-intensity discharge headlights with auto leveling, auto-off and AFS adaptive front-lighting system; a pre-collision system; and an auto-dim mirror with HomeLink. Another package adds a moonroof and Bose Audio Surround Sound with nine speakers ($1,130).
CX-5 Grand Touring ($27,620) and Grand Touring AWD ($28,870) upgrade with leather-trimmed upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bose Surround Sound with nine speakers, Sirius Satellite Radio, power moonroof, eight-way power driver's seat with power lumbar, heated front seats, auto on/off headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, and 19-inch alloy wheels. The Grand Touring Technology Package ($1,625) adds the navigation system, advanced keyless and start, adaptive HID headlights with auto leveling, auto-dim mirror, pre-collision system, and HomeLink.
Safety features on all models include advanced dual front airbags, front-seat side-impact airbags, side air curtains front and rear with rollover protection, anti-lock brakes (ABS), DSC electronic stability control with traction control, and Hill Launch Assist. The CX-5 comes with three-point safety belts for all five positions, with pretensioners and force limiters on front seats, so be sure to wear them. The optional rearview camera can help the driver spot a child behind the vehicle when backing up. A blind-spot monitoring system, standard on Touring and Grand Touring models, can help alert the driver to vehicles alongside. A pre-collision system is available for the Touring and Grand Touring. Optional all-wheel drive can improve handling stability in slippery conditions.