2014 Mazda CX-5 GT
2.5L L4 SKYACTIV - 6-Speed Auto
184 @ 5700
185 @ 4000
8.5 / 6.6
The very first Mazda built on the firm’s recent SKYACTIV platform was the CX-5. It was also the first one to get the SCBS which can slam on the brakes on your behalf and save you from nailing yourself with your lipstick or Smartphone in the eye.
It is considered the replacement of the CX-7, which was much bigger. Really, there is no real predecessor as it is a brand new car. For 2014, it comes with a new 2.5L engine so let’s zoom-zoom!
At a bit above 4.5m it is definitely bigger than what it looks like. The “kodo” design body is sleek and dynamic, fluid and charming and definitely a Mazda. All the latest family elements are present giving away its identity from far away. With a properly athletic stance the CX-5 starts earning points while still stationary.
Prices start at $24,890 for a GX and go all the way up to $35,145 like our GT tester. Safety above all, the CX-5 comes with top crash test scores, smart city brake control which detects forward collisions and can do the braking for you and a bunch of driving aids like blind spot monitoring.
The interior design is straight, practical and ergonomically sound. Very similar looking to the latest Mazda 6, it feels more car like than crossover. The dashboard is not upwards angled at all and that makes the driving position low and snug; definitely an indication of the vehicles dynamics being oriented to sport. Fit and finish are really good while soft to the touch material has been used for the higher up surfaces. Rattles and squeaks are totally absent improving the ride quality. Visibility is good and further assisted by the clever aids, driving the CX-5 is a piece of cake.
Once behind the wheel you will start appreciating how nicely put together this crossover is. The driving position is great and ergonomically everything is in reach. Passengers in the front have ample space while the rear seat will happily sit three adults with adequate comfort. The trunk might not impress with its size (966L), but at least it is completely usable and has a nice wide opening. In general it is a bit tighter than some of the competitors but space is not really an issue unless you are tall enough to lick the roof while standing on your feet.
Here is the tricky part. The SKYACTIV auto gearbox tries to keep revs as low as possible and it does achieve its goal very smoothly. To get some zoom-zoom going you really need to put your foot down, in a similar manner as you would when announcing something to your wife that you know she will give you grief for. Slam the foot down and the 2.5L Skyactiv motor will use the 184 HP and 185 lb-ft of torque to hit 100km/h in 9.4 seconds which is faster than most naturally aspirated CUVs. Fuel economy is very good as on our watch it used 10.8lt/100km of regular unleaded combined. Stopping power is pretty good too. The brake pedal has a positive feel to it and from 100km/h it came to a confident complete stop in 47 meters (winter tires).
At low speed, although adequately comfortable the ride is a bit bouncy. The dynamic setup seems to be discovering bumps that my eyes just don’t see. Once you are up to speed, things get a lot better and ride comfort is good. It might not be as soft as a RAV4, but when you throw it into corners the reason it is not is obvious.
The steering is zoom-zoom-tastic, the brakes feel up to the job and the chassis is a joy. Sporty as hell, the CX-5 can put a smile on your face as long as there is even the slightest bend ahead. Even changing lanes or avoiding potholes is done with poise and the overall experience feels very inspiring for a crossover.
The CX-5 together with Ford’s Escape are the sportiest and most driver-centric crossovers on the market. The Escape is faster and much harder, the CX-5 is better built, more fuel-efficient and almost equal fun but without sacrificing comfort. The CX-5 is easily a Top Pick choice.
Fun to drive
No paddle shifters