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Mazda CX-5, 2014: More power, same clean, efficient style, ride

2014 Mazda CX-5 rear view

Now in the second year of its debut generation, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 continues the carmaker’s third-time’s-the-charm good fortune. The compact, five-passenger sport utility vehicle follows the not-too-successful Tribute and CX-7, and it’s proven popular in a crowded segment with its modern look, clean styling, efficiency and economy.

The Mazda CX-5 debuted as a 2013 model at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2012. For 2014, there are only minor tweaks to the car’s first year with increased horsepower in the top-two trims, a collision warning system option and advanced radio technology services.

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The Weekly Driver Test Drive

One week after test-driving a high-tech, high-priced, ill-conceived BMW crossover, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 arrived just in time. I test drove the Grand Touring model, the most detailed and most expensive of the three available trims.

More horsepower haas been added to the 2014 Mazda CX-5

The CX-5 was a refreshing change because unlike the BMW, Mazda offers a lot of features, comfort and logically smart technology without crossing into the land of accoutrement overload and high-tech wizardry.

In addition to a healthy offering of standard features, the CX-5 Grand Touring edition features 19-inch wheels, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats and leather upholstery.

For 2014, the CX-5 Touring and Grand Touring models have power boosts. Bother trims have 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engines producing 184 horsepower, 29 horsepower more than last year. My weekly driver was front-wheel drive, but there’s also an all-wheel drive option. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the front-wheel drive calculated at 25 mpg (city), 32 mpg (highway) and 27 mpg (combined). The AWD option is EPA estimated at 24/30/26 mpg.

Likes:

Comfortable, well-positioned, spacious front and rear seating.

Pull-down rear window screen should be the standard for other manufacturers. It’s sturdy, latches and unlatches with precision and it remains out of the way against the window yet hide the cargo well.

Strong gas mileage averages for SUV segment.

Simple, intuitive dials, controls, buttons, etc.

With the rear seats folded, there’s 65 cubic feet of cargo space, which is more than sufficient for lots of stuff.

Good overall driver visibility.

Dislikes:

The Tom-Tom navigation system isn’t bad. But it’s far from the best in industry, with lack of screen clarity quite noticeable.

The sound system is only adequate.

2014 Mazda CX-5 rear view

Facts & Figures: 2014 Mazda CX-5

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 9.4 seconds.
Airbags (6): Dual front, front side and side curtain.
First aid kit: Not available.
Fuel economy: 25 mpg (city), 32 mpg (highway), 27 mpg (combined), six-speed automatic transmission.
Government Safety Ratings: NHTSA, Overall (not-yet-rated); Frontal crash, driver (not-yet-rated); Passenger (four stars); Side crash, front seat (five stars); rear seat (five stars); Rollover (four stars).
Horsepower: 184.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $27,620.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.mazdausa.com
Price As tested: $30,640.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited mileage; Roadside Assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“If you want a 5-passenger SUV that offers great looks, playful driving manners, impressive technology and good value, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 deserves a test-drive. That it boasts class-leading fuel economy of up to 35 mpg feels like icing on an already tasty cake.” — Kelley Blue Book.

“The Mazda CX-5 distinguishes itself with sleek styling, excellent fuel economy and agile handling. It looks great and it’s more fun to drive than the other CUVs.” — AOL Autos.

“It remains one of the most enjoyable little SUVs to drive, as Mazda once again proves that sensible doesn’t need to equal boring.” — Edmunds.com.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“The 2014 Mazda CX-5 ideally illustrates that simple styling, well-conceived features, sufficient power and fair pricing go a long way for car buyers — or at least they should.”

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