First Drive: 2014 Mazda CX-5
New engine and safety system enhance appeal of 2014 Mazda compact CUVRichard Russell
Published: February 25, 2013, 9:00 PM
Updated: May 6, 2018, 11:30 AM
AUSTIN, TX The Mazda CX-5 has been an instant hit with demand outstripping supply from the day the new crossover was introduced as a 2013 model. Production has been increased three times to try to keep up and it now accounts for more than 15% of the company’s global sales.
The CX-5 was the first Mazda to feature the full slate of the company’s new SkyActiv technologies, including chassis, suspension, engine and transmission. It brought hybrid-levels of fuel economy to the class while retaining the traditional Mazda fun-to-drive experience.
But the compact crossover class is one of the most important in the industry, one that is predicted to enjoy further growth as Americans discover what Canadians have known all along compact vehicles can be fun and are no longer penalty boxes.
Accordingly, the compact CUV class has become one of the most competitive in the entire industry with major manufacturers introducing new entries every month. You snooze in this category and you lose.
Nobody ever accused Mazda of snoozing.
New features for 2014
For 2014, the CX-5 introduces Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) and gets a significant dose of steroids in the form of a second engine choice a 2.5-litre version of the SkyActiv four-cylinder gasoline engine, which was introduced with the CX-5 at the Los Angeles Auto Show last year.
The new engine offers an 18% increase in power and 23% greater torque, addressing the only concerns raised about the 2.0-litre SkyActiv engine a need for more urge when carrying passengers or heavy cargo.
For 2014 the CX-5 continues to be available in GX, GSX and GT trim levels and their. base prices remain the same.
The GX comes with the 2.0-litre engine, six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel-drive. A six-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive are optional.
The GS comes with the new 2.5-litre engine and automatic transmission in either front or all-wheel-drive.
The GT comes in only one configuration 2.5-litre engine driving all four wheels through the automatic transmission.
The new Smart City Brake Support system is included in a technology package available on the CX-5 GT. SCBS is designed to help prevent collisions at low speeds 5-30 km/hr.
It uses a laser positioned above the rear view mirror to monitor the closing rate between the CX-5 and other objects, including oncoming vehicles. Should it detect imminent contact the first step is to move the brake pads in closer proximity to the rotors to shorten brake activation time.
If the driver does not take evasive action the brakes will automatically be applied.
The same technology package also includes an integrated TomTom navigation system, automatic on/off, automatic levelling bi-xenon headlights, with a pivoting adaptive system that turns the lights slightly in concert with the steering wheel, and a six month subscription to satellite radio.
The new engine endows the CX-5 with an extra dose of oomph that is appreciated under a variety of conditions, without sacrificing much in the way of fuel economy.
The engine is smooth and quiet, even under sustained wide open throttle. And a new automatic transmission, developed alongside the engine is perfectly suited hardly a surprise.
The extra power allows even greater appreciation of the sprightliness of the CX-5. The chassis, like the engine and transmission, is part of the SkyActiv philosophy of improving performance and economy through further development of the internal combustion engine and both manual and automatic transmissions, as well as reducing weight while improving safety.
The exterior and interior of the 2014 CX-5 carry over unchanged. The five-passenger cute ute comes well equipped at even the most basic trim level with remote keyless entry, heated power mirrors, power windows, cruise control, tilt & telescope steering wheel, air conditioning and push-button start.