Update: 2014 Mazda CX-5

By Brandon Turkus

February 04, 2013

For more information about the Mazda CX-5, including news, reviews, photos, and videos, please visit its master landing page.
The Mazda CX-5 wormed its way into our hearts on our first outing, and continued to impress from there. We flung it around Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway, tested it on the winding roads of the Carmel Valley, and finally, spent some time with it around southeastern Michigan.
Throughout those adventures, the tossability and fun-to-drive nature of the CX-5 remained a talking point. A bigger talking point, though, was the absolute lack of power. Mazda built an entertaining crossover, but it was too underpowered to live up to its suspension’s potential.
Thankfully, that’s been solved for the 2014 model year. Joining the 155-horsepower, 150-pound-foot, 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-pot is the brawnier 2.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder from the Mazda6 (review coming very soon).
In all honesty, this is the engine that the CX-5 should have had in the first place. It packs 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque, yet its fuel economy is only slightly penalized: front-drive models only lose one highway mile per gallon, while all-wheel-drivers lose one mpg in the city and one mpg on the highway. The sole transmission choice is the same six-speed auto found in the new Mazda6.
Power is reasonable throughout the rev range, with a particular heartiness at below 4000 rpms. The throttle response is manageable, and the downshifting switch on the gas pedal has just the right level of resistance. It even makes a rather nice sound.
We’ll go into more details of this transmission in our write-up of the Mazda6, but suffice it to say, it’s one of the best autos we’ve seen in sometime. There’s no hunting for gears on downshifts, and it’s more than willing to hold a gear when climbing grades. The version found in the CX-5 hesitates ever so slightly compared to the Mazda6, and the lack of both paddle shifters for the auto and a dedicated manual option is rather annoying.
Regardless, the 2.5-liter is a natural fit for one of Mazda’s fastest-selling vehicles. Its performance matches up with the competition, while still achieving over 30 mpg on the highway. There’s really not much more that we need in a small, affordable crossover.