If the 2013 Mazda CX-5 has one weak spot, it is its powertrain. Compared with the competition, the 155-hp rating for the 2.0-liter I-4 falls shy of the near-200 figures offered by other compact crossovers. However, come the 2014 model year, Mazda will remedy this shortcoming by slipping the new 2.5-liter I-4 from the 2014 6 sedan into the engine bay of the CX-5 Touring and Grand Touring.
Under the hood of the 2014 CX-5, the 2.5-liter will be rated for 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque; that's down from the 189 hp and 189 lb-ft that it will churn out in the 2014 Mazda 6. Despite the 29 extra hp and 35 lb-ft, Mazda expects the more-powerful CX-5 to still return up to 32 mpg on the highway. We can only assume that will be for a front-wheel-drive model; a front-wheel-drive, six-speed-manual CX-5 with the 2.0-liter is rated at 26/35 mpg (city/highway) or at 26/32 with a six-speed auto. The 2.5-liter will be available only with the six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2.5's numbers compare more favorably with the competition than the 2.0's: Mazda now bests every base engine in a compact crossover save the 185-hp Honda CR-V, and puts down more power than either the optional 2.4-liter in the Hyundai Tucson (176 hp) or the 1.6-liter turbo in the Ford Escape (178 hp). However, the CX-5's optional engine falls short of the 2.0-liter turbo-fours offered by Ford, Subaru, and Kia – the Escape's is good for 240 hp, the new Forester's for 250 hp, and the Sportage's for 260 hp. The CX-5 2.5's 32-mpg highway rating should be the best of any of the upgraded engines in the class.
Mazda also announced that the 2014 CX-5 will gain the automaker's Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system, which can automatically brake the car to prevent a low-speed collision.
No word yet on how much the 2014 CX-5 will cost, or what kind of premium Mazda will put on the larger engine, but expect to know more closer to its on sale date next year.