2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring

Patrick M Hoey

If you're in the market for a Ford Escape with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbo engine, promise me you'll at least glance at this crossover first. Why? The CX-5's new 2.5-liter Skyactiv I-4 engine has, in my eyes, eroded the Escape's only remaining advantage: speed.

My abiding memory of our 2013 CX-5 GT FWD -- which was equipped with the 2.0-liter, 155-hp I-4 -- was that it needed just a little bit more power to compete with the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape 1.6T. Then again, the CX-5 would leave either one for dead once you showed it some corners. Now, 2014 CX-5 Touring and Grand Touring models pack 29 more horsepower than before, with minimal adverse effect on its fuel economy. (The base Sport model still uses the 2.0-liter.) The CX-5 isn't quick, even with the 19-percent improvement in power, but it is adequately powerful, and drivers will welcome extra grunt, especially when merging or lugging around lots of passengers and/or cargo.

As for the subject of driven wheels: Mazda's all-wheel drive system works perfectly fine, but the added weight (157 pounds) is noticeable behind the wheel, and the CX-5's chassis has enough poise and ground clearance that you could happily make do with just a set of good winter tires and front-wheel drive.

Ben Timmins, Associate Web Editor

Yep, this is the engine the CX-5 needed, and it's the one you'll want. I say that having in the last month driven CX-5s with both the 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the (non-U.S. market) diesel. The bigger four-cylinder makes the CX-5 feel as zippy and energetic in a straight line as it always has in corners. I actually thought there was more than 185 hp under the hood, a credit to the fact that this is a relatively light crossover, even with the all-wheel-drive system. I'd agree with Ben that the extra traction isn't all that necessary, but neither did I feel that it really hindered the performance. That's a marked contrast to the 2.0-liter version, which barely feels up to the task to powering all four wheels.

The next big update for the CX-5 will be a new touch screen navigation system. And boy, does it need it. The little TomTom flashed the Blue Screen of Death when I tried to interact with a map.

David Zenlea, Associate Editor

By swapping in the peppy 2.5-liter four for the anemic 2.0-liter unit, Mazda has given the CX-5's nimble chassis and communicative steering the powerplant they have been crying out for; one that successfully turns the CX-5 into the Mazda of crossovers. If I were buying a CX-5 though, I'd forego all-wheel drive as I think the system's extra weight makes this CX-5 feel slightly less tossable than its two-wheel drive brethren. If you opt for front-wheel drive, the Grand Touring model can be had for under $28,500 and it comes equipped with everything most people are looking for on a new car. If you want navigation, I'd recommend buying a stand-alone unit. The TomTom unit that comes as part of the CX-5's $1625 Technology Package has crummy graphics and is slow.

Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms

The CX-5's new, larger engine performs as it should, but fuel mileage is worse (it loses 2 mpg on the EPA combined scale, from 29 mpg to 27 for front-wheel-drive examples). I'm surprised that Mazda is now offering the smaller engine only with the base (Sport) trim level. I think that's a mistake. The 2.0-liter offers a very nice sweet spot of high mileage and lots of space along with a savings of a couple thousand dollars. Plus, I'm sure there are plenty of 2.0-liter fans out there who'd like the opportunity to get luxuries such as leather seats, a sunroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Those folks will have to buy a used 2013 CX-5.

While you're fixing this error in offerings, Mazda, please make the stick-shift CX-5 available with some real options and color choices. I'd be happy to permanently park one in my driveway.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

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I purchased the 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD model.Drove it from Chicago to Baltimore in 12 hours.Speed 75-80; Averaged 50 MP, and 25.2 MPG per the onboard computer.That’s very good mileage for that speed. Upon arrival no shoulder or back aches. Seats are firm and great. It had enough power to accelerate mid hill in PA and western Md to pass the slower SUVs. I was smiling.Very comfortable ride.The vehicle also sits high with better than average ground clearance.The Tom Tom worked just fine.Much to my surprise it even re-routed me around a traffic accident through a housing development maze. The sound system is very good.  The AWD worked very well in the recent Chicago snow. What is my one gripe?If you are going to give me heated seats, then give me a heated steering wheel to match.What’s the nice to have?The backup camera works great, but a sensor that beeps as you close in on obstacles would have been a nice touch.This is a keeper.
Dump the 2.0L and the money being wasted to produce that motor should be used to drop the price of the 2.5L.
Forget AWD. All you need are FWD and good tires. AWD is only needed for maybe 14 days out of the year. The other 351 you're just using more gas and burning more rubber than is necessary. This is definitely the best styled and best overall value in the cute-ute class. Also, how was the diesel?
Van K
"The 2.0-liter offers a very nice sweet spot of high mileage and lots of space along with a savings of a couple thousand dollars."You are kidding, right? The 2.5 is only a couple hundred more than the 2.0. The other costs have to do with trim and feature differences. Compare the same trim levels from 2013 with the 2.0 to the same 2014 versions with the 2.5. It's nowhere near what you've stated.
@TD-40 AWD would be good for towing a boat out of water too, but this isn't really meant for serious towing anyhow.

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