2014 Mazda CX-5 Review – First Drive

2014 Mazda CX5 with SKYACTIV Technology

2014 Mazda CX5 with SKYACTIV Technology

Crossover SUV’s has been an emerging trend in the last few years as more consumers are opting for versatility, fuel efficiency and performance all in a single package.  What sets the CX5 apart in the competition pool is Mazda’s first attempt to build a vehicle designed around the “KODO” philosophy, otherwise known as “Soul of Motion”.  For the poetic illiterates like myself, this basically means the CX5 symbolizes elements of nature such a wind breeze, stormy weather and things like that… Anyways, it’s supposedly a car that reflects nature.  Sounds good on a brochure, but how well does it drive?

Initial impressions quickly reveal the calmness and serenity of the vehicle.  In spirit of the SkyActive “zoom zoom” marketing jargon, the acceleration is feathery smooth and engine and tire noise are barely audible.  Steering is precise and smooth and suspensions have a good balance of handling and comfort.  The body also feels very rigid around corners and at higher speeds.  I wouldn’t say the CX5 is a fun car to throw around a corner, but it really does take the stress out of driving and making your commute more enjoyable.

Exterior styling appoints ultra smooth contours throughout the body that is both simple and eye pleasing.  Even the materials and color choices induced in the exterior design give off an impression of calmness and composure.  Form as well as function, Mazda claims that in addition to its sleek styling, the exterior design was developed to provide optimal airflow that not only helps reduce fuel economy but minimize wind noise as well.  Common to all models in the family, the CX5 comes equipped with a spoiler to add more aggression to the styling.

 

The cabin space in the CX5 provides a state of tranquility.  Overall interior is a black monotone, and majority of materials used are very soft to the touch.  There is nothing particularly eye catching inside the CX5.  Instead, the interior design focuses around making the ride as smooth and enjoyable with the moonlight lit dashboard, piano black accent and chrome trims.  All seats are very comfortable and provide great cushioning and support.  With a wheelbase of 2700 mm, we found that the legroom in the rear seats were great.  With the rear seats folded down, cargo area increases to from 966 L to 1,835 L, which is excellent for a 5 passenger cross-over SUV.

 

Perhaps, the calmness and serenity vibe was a little too “chilled out” when it came to the infotainment system as the miniature 5.8″ touchscreen lacks in size, responsiveness and ergonomics.

All three models (GX, GS and GT) come equipped with SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine producing 155 hp at 6000 rpm and 150 ft.lbs of torque at 4000 rpm while the upper GS and GT models have purchase options to upgrade the engine to the SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Inline 4-cylinder increasing the power output to 184 hp and 184 ft.lbs of torque.  Our tested model came equipped with the 2.5 Liter engine and we found acceleration to be luxury smooth, but sluggish and unresponsive.  Merging onto highways and lane changes definitely require pre-planning.  Given the fact, it’s safe to say the 2.0 Liter engine power output is inadequate especially given the size, and weight of the CX5.

2014 Mazda CX5 with SKYACTIV Technology

2014 Mazda CX5 with SKYACTIV Technology

The “KODO” design philosophy marks a pretty bold statement with the CX5 and is paving the road ahead for the upcoming Mazda models including the Mazda 3 and 6 series.  It’s a step in the right direction, opening doors to a new revelation where technology and art co-exist.

Visit 2014 Mazda CX5 Photo Gallery here:

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front- or 4-wheel-drive, 5-door wagon

BASE PRICE: Touring, $25,410; Touring AWD, $26,660; Grand Touring, $28,415; Grand Touring AWD, $29,665

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 152 cu in, 2488 cc
Power: 184 hp @ 5700 rpm
Torque: 185 lb-ft @ 3250 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Length: 178.7 in
Width: 72.4 in Height: 65.7 in
Curb weight (C/D est): 3400–3550 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
Zero to 60 mph: 8.3–8.4 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 16.1–16.2 sec
Top speed: 130 mph

FUEL ECONOMY:
EPA city/highway driving: FWD, 25/32 mpg; AWD, 24/30