Mazda’s “zoom-zoom” tag line has long touted the brand’s fun-to-drive product line.
And with no exception, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 compact sport utility vehicle blends all aspects of its segment identification with grand success.
Introduced last year, CX-5 returns with three trim levels for 2014 with Sport, Touring and Grand Touring models outfitted with front- or all-wheel drive.
Add the choice of two engines and a pair of transmissions and buyers quickly see Mazda’s no-nonsense approach to CX-5’s persona.
The 2014 Maxda CX-5 price leading Sport model ($21,395) has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for 155 horsepower that yields 26 miles per gallon around town and 35 mpg on the Interstate with front-wheel drive (FWD) and 6-speed manual transmission.
Fuel economy drops to 26/32 respectively when Sport is equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD).
“The Mazda CX-5 is one of the few SUVs in the market available with a manual transmission,” says Andrew Thompson, new car sales manager for Kennedy Mazda in Valparaiso. “It is fun to drive and you really feel connected to the road.”
New for 2014, CX-5 Touring and Grand Touring models come with a 2.5L four-cylinder coupled to a 6-speed automatic only transmission that puts out 184 hp.
Fuel economy for both FWD Touring models is 25 mpg/city and 32 mpg/hwy. with a slight mileage penalty for AWD at 24 city/30 hwy.
All considered, the slight drop in mileage is small by comparison to the big traction benefit of AWD in our region this winter.
I tested the 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD model in a variety of city and highway travel and drove away impressed with its sporty feel and agile handling. S-curves are taken confidently with little steering wheel input.
Ride quality is comfortably smooth despite CX-5’s taut suspension.
The 2014 Mazda CX-5 seats four adults (five in a pinch), on standard cloth seats for Sport and Touring models. Leather upholstery comes with CX-5 Grand Touring.
New for 2014 is Smart City Brake Support that scans for stationary objects in front of the CX-5 and sounds an alert if a collision is eminent. If the driver fails to react the system automatically applies the brakes at speeds up to 19 mph.
The safety system is part of a Grand Touring Tech Package ($1625) that also includes navigation, auto-leveling high-intensity discharge headlamps with adaptive front lighting, keyless entry and auto-dim mirrors.
Out back, the CX-5 SUV lives up to its middle name with utility that can handle up to 65 cubic feet of cargo with split second row seats folded forward to provide a near flat load floor.
Up to 34 cu-ft capacity remains with all seats upright.
The 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring with AWD delivers sport and utility to the compact SUV market for a starting price of $28,070.