2014 Mazda CX-5 2.5-liter:  The same stylish wrapper but with a new heart

2014 Mazda CX-5 2.5-liter: The same stylish wrapper but with a new heart

When Mazda launched the CX-5 in 2012, the world was given its first production-grade taste of the KODO design language. Brisk production, great sales figures, and industry accolades soon followed. The CX-5 is an appealing machine that appeals to many a customer in the U.S. market thanks to its fuel efficiency, quality interior, stylish exterior, and attractive price points.

For 2014, Mazda is providing the CX-5 with a brand new source of motivation that should grab even more interested parties and turn them into happy shoppers. The 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder gasoline engine is now offered alongside the already-available 2.0-liter mill. This means buyers can opt for more horsepower and torque without facing a heavy fuel economy hit.

2014 Mazda CX-5 2.5-liter: More power without hurting efficiency

Dynamically speaking, the updated CX-5 drives nearly the same as the 2.0-liter-equipped car. It has crisp and responive handling, the brakes are more than up the task and boast progressive feedback, and the front seats provide a great platform for long-term hauling or short-term twisty road fun. Now, though, the more powerful engine allows for even more fun.

The 2.5-liter inline four is the standard motor found under the hood of the Touring and Grand Touring trims. Buyers opting for the CX-5 Sport will find the familiar 2.0-liter engine, which can be paired with a six-speed manual gearbox or the six-speed automatic found on the higher trims. While the 2.0 makes do with 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, the new 2.5-liter squeezes out an extra 29 horsepower and 35 pound-feet of torque over the smaller mill. It’s rated at 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque, and all of that torque is available from just 3,250 rpm.

All trims and powertrain combinations are available with either a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive setup. The most efficient of the bunch is, as you might expect, the front-driving manual-transmission-equipped 2.0-liter CX-5 Sport. It’s rated to return 26 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway. All of the other versions are far closer with the 2.5-liter seeing fuel economy figures of 25 city and 32 highway on the front-wheel-drive model, while the all-wheel-drive version returns 24 city and 30 highway. By comparison, the six-speed automatic-equipped CX-5 Sport is rated at 25 city and 31 highway.

Adding the 2.5-liter into the CX-5 mix means that those seeking out a compact crossover now have a fairly sporty option. The 2.0-liter is no slouch, but pushing closer to the 200 horsepower mark surely attracts those with a greater need for speed. The fact that fuel economy is hardly affected is a bonus. Additionally, the 2.5-liter has great response. Mazda hasn’t tried to quell any of the light growling noise that it makes, and this mill helps push the CX-5 further into a position to endear itself to the enthusiast seeking a useful yet fun daily driver.

Beyond the new engine, the CX-5 is still the same great compact crossover we’ve spent time with before. It has class-leading handling, an understated yet feature-rich interior, and an exterior skin that manages to up the aggression quotient away from the oh-so-happy Mazda vehicles we’re used to seeing on the road. Not only that, the 2014 CX-5 benefits from some of the same interior amenities as well as the technical and safety upgrades that the all-new Mazda6 has received. Items such as Smart City Brake Support, the new 5.8-inch touch-screen display, and a TomTom-sourced navigation system.

2014 Mazda CX-5 2.5-liter: Priced to move

Mazda has a hit on its hands with the CX-5. The compact crossover has quickly climbed the automaker’s sales ladder and is the number two model being sold. The addition of the 2.5-liter should help bring on even more sales. Mazda expects that 45 percent of new CX-5 sales will be Touring models, while another 30 percent will opt for the Sport, and 25 percent of sales will the kitted-out Grand Touring models. That means that 45 percent of 2014 CX-5 owners will receive the 5.8-inch touch-screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a power adjustable driver’s seat standard. What will it cost to get into one of the various versions of this updated crossover? The front-wheel-drive manual-gearbox-equipped CX-5 Sport starts off the price walk at $21,195, all-wheel-drive and an automatic transmission will cost you $23,845 if you’re sticking with the 2.0-liter. Climb up to the CX-5 Touring in front-wheel-drive guise and you’re at $24,615. Keep climbing if you want the Grand Touring, and bring $27,620 with you. Should you want all-wheel-drive on either of those, than you’ll need $25,865 and $28,870 respectively.

2014 Mazda CX-5 2.5-liter: A strong seller is now even better

Mazda is clearly paying attention to what its customers are asking for, because the more-powerful 2.5-liter equipped CX-5 is a welcome addition to an already strong lineup. For those seeking even more fun, we should note that Mazda is exploring the possibility of offering a manual gearbox on the Touring trim. Consider our enthusiast hearts aflutter… next thing you know the automaker will start telling us to keep an eye out for the 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D diesel engine to make an appearance under the hood of the CX-5.

Zoom-zoom indeed!

By Jeff Glucker