2014 Mazda CX-5

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$21,395

starting MSRP

2014 Mazda CX-5
2014 Mazda CX-5

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Performance of 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Driving dynamics
  • Steering feel
  • Cabin materials
  • Gas mileage estimates

The bad:

  • Performance of 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Ride quality might be too firm for some
  • Available touch-screen is on the small side
  • TomTom-based navigation system's ease of use

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • New optional 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • New low-speed collision-avoidance option
  • New optional integrated text messaging support
  • Manual or automatic transmission
  • FWD or AWD

2014 Mazda CX-5 review: Our expert's take

By Mike Hanley

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

With its newfound power, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 is the complete package for crossover-minded driving enthusiasts.

The CX-5 SUV burst onto the small crossover market a little more than a year ago and established itself as one of the most fun-to-drive models in the class. It had everything going for it — except one thing: Its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine frequently felt weak. Mazda zeroed in on this shortcoming for the 2014 model year with a newly optional 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 19 percent more horsepower and 23 percent more torque.

The Mazda CX-5 sees a slight price increase for 2014, now starting at $21,990 for a base front-wheel-drive Sport model with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder (all prices include a $795 destination charge). The midlevel Touring trim adds the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and starts at $25,410 — a $420 increase over last year’s Touring with the 2.0-liter engine. I drove a well-equipped AWD Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring version with an as-tested price of $31,890 (see the Monroney sticker). To see the CX-5’s specs compared with the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4, click here.

What the CX-5 Needed
The new 2.5-liter four-cylinder transforms the Mazda CX-5 SUV driving experience. While the base 2.0-liter feels burdened by the crossover’s weight and produces leisurely acceleration, the 2.5-liter engine makes the CX-5 move out strongly and attack hills with purpose. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder completely vanquishes the sluggishness that accompanied the 2.0-liter. (For a full rundown on the 2.0-liter CX-5, check out our review of the 2013 model.)

Despite the 2.5-liter four-cylinder’s significantly better performance in everyday driving, fuel economy hasn’t taken much of a hit. EPA-estimated automatic-transmission fuel economy drops to 25/32 mpg city/highway with FWD (from 26/32 mpg with the 2.0-liter engine) and 24/30 mpg with AWD (from 25/31 mpg). Mazda still sells the FWD CX-5 with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a six-speed manual transmission, which is rated at a frugal 26/35 mpg.

A responsive six-speed automatic transmission makes the most of the CX-5’s newfound power. Part-throttle kickdowns happen immediately, and the transmission’s refinement — especially its shift quality — is top notch.

Know What You’re in For
The Mazda CX-5 remains one of the most engaging small crossovers thanks to good driving dynamics, precise feedback-rich steering and controlled body motions. Not everyone, though, will be a fan of the crossover’s ride, which is unapologetically firm.

The firm suspension tuning, regardless of trim level, means you feel all the little aspects of whatever road surface you’re driving on. Even on pothole-free roads like the ones in Austin, Texas, where I tested the CX-5, the ride was a little jostling, and the constant jitters may be too much for some shoppers. The overall emphasis is clearly on driving precision at the expense of comfort.

The Inside Stays Mostly the Same
Apart from the new engine, the 2014 CX-5 sees few other changes. Newly available features include Pandora internet radio integration and a system that can display and read incoming text messages from a compatible smartphone as well as reply with a preset response. The CX-5 can also have Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support system for the first time, which is designed to avoid or lessen the severity of a low-speed collision by automatically applying the brakes if the driver fails to do so.

The crossover, however, didn’t really need much in the way of interior changes. The cabin features nice materials, including a soft-touch dashboard and upper door trim surfaces and convincing metal-look accents. The front bucket seats are comfortable and have enough bolstering for aggressive driving. The backseat readily accommodates adults, and the backrest folds flat with the cargo floor when more utility is needed.

The one aspect of the cabin that lags behind the rest of the interior and the class in general is the available built-in navigation system. The screen measures only 5.8 inches and the TomTom-based operating system isn’t intuitive.

Safety
The Mazda CX-5 earned a 2013 Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, representing top scores in the agency’s moderate-overlap crash test, side-impact crash test, roof-strength test and rear-impact neck-protection assessment. Standard safety features include side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. Besides the Smart City Brake Support system, a backup camera and a blind spot warning system are also optional.

For a full list of safety features check out the Features & Specs page. To see how well child-safety seats fit in the CX-5 visit our Car Seat Check.

CX-5 in the Market
The CX-5 is off to a strong start in the U.S., and the changes for 2014 make an already appealing small crossover even better. The segment is relentlessly competitive, but with the Mazda CX-5’s newfound power, it can hang with the best of them. Zoom-zoom.

Send Mike an email  

 

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.5
  • Interior design 4.3
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.7
  • Reliability 4.6

Most recent consumer reviews

2.9

Wanted to love it

This car seemed to meet all my expectations on paper. I test drove it. It handled well. It looked good. The mileage and safety ratings were stellar. Unfortunately, I have to rate the reliability so low that it pulls all the other features down. This particular make, model, and year has a notorious flaw, a defective shifter switch. The engine turns off, but the accessories stay on draining the battery. I bought the car a month ago not knowing about the issue, and already the shifter switch has begun failing. Mazda won't declare a recall even though there are multiple complaints from other owners. It's going to cost me several hundred dollars to get fixed. I regret not researching more thoroughly. It's too bad Mazda won't take responsibility for a manufacturing flaw that could leave a person stranded or unable to get to work on time. These are basics in reliability that Mazda has failed to supply. I feel cheated.

4.9

I like it better than my Subaru

This car met everything I wanted in a new-to-me car. It has AWD, a sunroof, heated seats (leather at that), a back-up camera, touch-screen double din with navigation, bluetooth, hands free connectivity, and a remote start is being installed. It is safe, reliable, and 100% functional for my needs. I have an 18 month old and 2 nieces I pick up daily from daycare/Kindergarten and they have a ton more room in the second row of my CX-5 then they did in my Subaru Forester. The hatch is also much bigger which allows me to take my sons full-sized stroller with me, if need be, on our outings. I absolutely love all the features. The only thing I wish it had was more pep. Don't get me wrong. It moves, but I am so used to driving turboed cars. (I also own a worked 2004 Subaru WRX that i LOVE!) so this thing not being the 2.5T is the only downside. However, without the turbo I don't need premium gas, so I know I am saving in the long haul. And, on that note, the gas mileage is fantastic. I was recently getting 20.1 mpg city driving and I can't ask for anything better because that is what I do most of. I love this car and will definitely be sticking with Mazda's for my new daily drivers!

4.4

Very nice, dependable and good on gas!!

The power train is solid on this cx5. It has very good power is comfortable to drive and ride in and I’m 6ft tall. My wife love it for its versatility and we are buying a newer version of the cx5 and that is why we are selling this one. Great car!! All service done at Viva Mazda.

See all 204 consumer reviews

Compare the competitors

2015

Honda CR-V

$23,445

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2014

Hyundai Tucson

$21,450

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2012

Mazda CX-7

$22,190

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See all 2014 Mazda CX-5 articles