2014 Mazda CX-5 Expert Review

4.1 Overall Score
Performance 4.1 Comfort 3.5 Styling 4.6 Value 4.1

Editor's Overview

The 2014 Mazda CX-5 is a fresh player in the popular compact SUV segment, and one that deserves equal consideration among established rivals such as the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. Fuel-efficient and available with impressive safety technology, the CX-5 also comes standard with a rare feature in this segment: a fun-to-drive nature.

You'll Like The 2014 Mazda CX-5 If...

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.

You May Not Like The 2014 Mazda CX-5 If...

Base versions of the CX-5 with the smaller engine still sacrifice power in return for increased fuel economy. And while the CX-5 has one of the best manual transmissions we've tested in an SUV, it's only available on the base, front-wheel-drive (FWD) version that is the most lacking in features.


What's New

The biggest news for 2014 is the more powerful 2.5-liter engine in Touring and Grand Touring models of the Mazda CX-5. On the safety front, the CX-5 is available with Smart City Brake Support, which can automatically stop the car in lower-speed situations when a collision appears imminent.

Interior Features

Inside the 2014 Mazda CX-5 are two rows of seats that hold up to five passengers. Cloth is the standard seat fabric in Sport and Touring models, while top-line Grand Touring models are graced with well-bolstered leather. Rear legroom is generous and is comfortable for two adults. Behind the rear seat is a commendable 34.1 cubic feet of storage space, enough to hold plenty of groceries or several suitcases. That room nearly doubles with the seats folded, a task easily performed with a single button. Dash controls for setting audio and climate features are easy to find and use.


Exterior Features

The CX-5 is the first Mazda to embody the automaker's "Kodo – Soul of Motion" styling. Fancy language aside, the 2014 CX-5 is defined curves that are both elegant and muscular. Viewed from the side, the CX-5 has a slightly forward stance that makes it appear athletic, ready to pounce. A standard rear roof spoiler and dual rear exhaust outlets add more visual cues to the CX-5's peppy nature. Even the base Sport model comes clad in 17-inch wheels, with Grand Touring models dressed in even larger 19-inch aluminum-alloys. An optional roof rack can add functionality for securing gear on all models.


Driving Impressions

2014 Mazda CX-5 Sport models with the 2.0-liter engine have just adequate power and acceleration – not quite the Zoom-Zoom that Mazda prides itself on. Better is the 2.5-liter Skyactiv 4-cylinder engine standard in Touring and Grand Touring models. Its higher horsepower and torque are just what the CX-5 needed. This more potent CX-5 still won't outgun a Kia Sportage turbo or Subaru Forester turbo, but it easily stays in step with rivals like the Honda CR-V and offers good off-the-line acceleration. Drivers willing to shift for themselves – and who won't mind a lack of creature comforts – will be rewarded with one of the best manual transmissions we've used in an SUV. With the short-throw 6-speed manual, the CX-5 is even more fun to drive, and this trim's lighter weight adds to its nimbleness. With a manual transmission this good, we wish it weren't restricted to the basest of CX-5 models.

Pricing Notes

Even on models with Mazda's new and more powerful engine, prices for the 2014 CX-5 have risen only a few hundred dollars compared to last year's model. A base CX-5 Sport with manual transmission opens just a hair under $22,000. With an automatic transmission, that price increases by $1,400. Mid-level Touring models start around $25,400, and top-line Grand Touring models open around $28,400 and reach into the low $30,000 range when loaded. Adding all-wheel drive to any of the trims costs $1,250. While the 2014 Mazda CX-5 isn't the least expensive in the segment, it offers a lot of value – and intangibles such as driving dynamics – for the money. Kia's Sportage and Hyundai's Tucson undercut the CX-5's base price by a couple thousand, while the CX-5's base price is in line with rivals such as Honda the CR-V and Ford Escape, and is slightly below the recently revamped Toyota RAV4. Before buying, check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price below to see what others in your area are paying for the CX-5. The CX-5's residual value is expected to be good, but not quite as high as the CR-V, RAV4 and Tucson.

Notable Equipment

The 2014 Mazda CX-5 is available in three trims: Sport, Touring and, at the top, Grand Touring. The base Sport version is well equipped with push-button start, 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/USB audio, cruise control and 17-inch wheels, but the Touring and Grand Touring models offer really impressive features for the money. The Touring model comes with the more powerful 2.5-liter engine, blind-spot monitoring, Bluetooth, 6-speaker audio with HD Radio, a rearview camera, and a 5.8-inch color display. Grand Touring models add leather, 9-speaker Bose audio, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and 19-inch alloy wheels. Stability/traction control, antilock brakes, and front, side and side-curtain airbags are all standard.

Notable Options

All CX-5 models except the base Sport version with manual transmission can be had with traction-enhancing all-wheel drive (AWD). Packages and options vary by trim. Sport models with automatic transmissions can get a Bluetooth package that includes HD and Pandora Internet radio, and a 5.8-inch color screen. The Smart City Brake Support system is available on Touring and Grand Touring models, as is navigation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, high-intensity discharge headlights, and adaptive front lighting. Other options available on various models include front and rear parking sensors, a trailer hitch, and fog lights, keyless entry, and SiriusXM satellite radio.


Favorite Features

SMART CITY BRAKE SUPPORT

Automatic braking systems are usually reserved for luxury cars, so it's refreshing to see one in a mid-$20,000 mainstream SUV. At speeds of 3 to 19 mph – as in heavy traffic with potential for driver distraction – the system automatically applies the brakes if its laser senses an impending collision.


SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY

The name may be marketing, but the results are real: zippy performance without penalty to fuel economy. More than just advanced engine technology, Skyactiv emphasizes lightweight materials, aerodynamic bodies and even improved vehicle structure integrity for improved safety.


Under the Hood

For 2014, two engine choices are offered in the Mazda CX-5 crossover SUV. Sport models feature Mazda's 155-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder mated to great-feeling a 6-speed manual transmission or a smooth 6-speed automatic. Touring and Grand Touring versions of the 2014 CX-5 come with a more powerful 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and the 6-speed automatic. All-wheel drive can be had in place of front-wheel drive on all models except a Sport with the manual transmission. Both CX-5 engines are advanced, using higher compression rates to literally squeeze the most energy out of gasoline. Thankfully, unlike other highly advanced engines, those in the 2014 CX-5 run on regular, 87-octane unleaded. Towing capacity is rated at a maximum of 2,000 pounds for all CX-5 models. No word yet on the chance of a diesel CX-5 coming to the U.S.


2.0-liter inline-4

155 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

150 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy:

26/35 mpg (manual transmission, FWD)

26/32 mpg (automatic, FWD)

25/31 mpg (automatic, AWD)


2.5-liter inline-4

184 horsepower @5,700 rpm

185 lb-ft of torque @ 3,250

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/32 mpg (FWD), 24/30 mpg (AWD)

Editors' Notes

The 2014 CX-5 is Mazda's impressive entry in the compact SUV segment, where it competes with veterans like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. Introduced for 2013, the CX-5 is the first vehicle designed from the ground up using Mazda's Skyactiv technologies aimed at marrying efficiency and performance. The CX-5 offers both, along with value and advanced safety features. Fun-to-drive manners are seldom associated with SUVs, but the CX-5 has those, too. If there was one fly in the 2013 CX-5's ointment, it was modest power output. Mazda has addressed that for 2014 with an available engine that is more potent yet still fuel-thrifty. In the face of formidable rivals, the CX-5 endears with a scrappy nature akin to David vs. multiple Goliaths. That's why we named it one of the 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000 for 2014.

Road Test Video Reviews

2014 Mazda CX-5 Owner Reviews

4.48
235 Reviews
58% 33% 7% 2% 1 star 0%
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The safest car I've ever driven

I love my 2014 Mazda CX-5. Two features I find most helpful are the back up camera and the blind spot monitoring system. I truly have never felt safer in a car. I also love the ability to connect my phone via Bluetooth for calls and audio. The built in speed dial option has been very beneficial for me. No need to look down at my phone, everything can be done through the car. If I need to make a call, I can quickly tap on the person's name under the speed dial option. (I only ever make frequent calls to the three people I have on speed dial) For added safety, you cannot view messages while you are driving, only when stopped. This feature is a great way to help keep the roads safer. My Mazda has truly changed my life. I didn't realize how unsafe my first car was until I got into this one. I give the 2014 Mazda CX-5 five stars.

- Michelle B

The cx-5 is a reasonably affordable, well performing crossover vehicle.

As of this point, my vehicle seems to be reliable transportation. I have had very few problems with it although currently, the seat belt chime sounds for no reason even when the seat belt is fastened. I bought this vehicle at a time when I was commuting so it was a good combination of decent gas mileage and decent cargo space. My first choice was a pickup truck but none met my needs for gas mileage. My only complaint about the way the vehicle drives is it seems the brakes are a little touchy and sometimes grab harder than I think they should. I have experienced that same thing with other Mazda vehicles. The cx-5 is reasonably comfortable to drive and has plenty of legroom for tall people. When I bought the vehicle, I was looking for affordability so I do not have any special features you can get on other cx-5's.

- David B

Reliable and safe with smooth driving!

The 2014 Mazda cx-5 is a great car! The SUV style makes it spacious with a lot of storage. It is safe and reliable with smooth driving. The Bluetooth capabilities are a big winning point, with a quick connection time and great volume capacities. The back seats easily go down for extra storage or more space which makes it great for road trips. The mileage is pretty good making it worthwhile. The seats are very comfortable with seat adjustment controls smooth and simple. I have recommended this car to many people because of its ability to drive in many weather conditions. Living near the mountains in the northeast can be tough in winter, but this car gave me no doubt in its safety and performance.

- Chloe D

Comfortable, easy to park - has a really short turning radius.

Love my cx-5, very comfortable for traveling, my only complaint is that when highway driving there is a lot of road noise. Wish they could insulate better so the ride was quieter. Have had no problems with reliability, and car is comfortable. Like nav system and route planning tools. Also like the that the rear seat folds down to allow for more cargo space, since most of our traveling only involves the two of us. Gas mileage is great and is good for in-town and highway driving. Wish that the passenger side seat had the adjustment features that the driver's side does would also help with comfort. Bought our vehicle new in 2014 and would definitely buy another Mazda SUV in the future.

- Carole F

Best vehicle we've ever purchased!

Positive ' drives great (smooth), heated seats, enough space to sit comfortably, fold down back seats for extra storage if needed. Back windows roll all the way down. Has a sunroof, great navigation system (provided you update the card periodically'. Push start which makes it easier to start and turn off without having to fiddle with the keys, great gas mileage. We get 349 miles to a full tank, it seems to last longer on highway miles. The only thing that I dislike is that sometimes you have to push the gear in park a little harder than normal for the car to power completely off. Other than that it's the best vehicle we've owned!!

- Heather D

2014 Mazda CX 5 Family Car Review

I love this car! We purchased this vehicle to become our family car when we were expecting our first baby. I wanted a car that was reliable and practical but also a bit sporty. We test drove the Honda CR-V, the Subaru Forester and the Toyota RAV4 and liked both the look and handling of the CX-5 the best. For being a compact SUV the vehicle offers a lot of leg space in the front and is comfortable to drive on long trips. We have logged over 130,000 miles in less than 5 years and have had zero issues. My only complaint is that the rear seats are a bit tight and with two car seats in the back we have less room up front.

- Chandi D

All-in-all: I would recommend.

This car is great! There is plenty of room inside the car for people and gear - I do a lot of outdoor sports. I love the dash setup and electronics in the car as well. The only issue I have with the car is that after the first year a few things began to feel 'cheap'. For instance, the doors began to shut harshly (especially the trunk), the sun visors are noticeably looser, and the roof had a spot of rust despite bimonthly waxing. All in all though, I would highly recommend this car. It drives like a dream and has everything the everyday person would be looking for.

- Melissa M

Great AWD compact SUV for a fraction of the cost for luxury crossover SUVs

It's a comfortable small crossover SUV with thoughtful design. It gets great gas mileage and handles smoothly. The suspension, design, and add ons are great for the overall price. The interior is easy to keep clean with leather seats and the design of the trunk allows for easy storage given that the back seats fold down with easy to use switches. The Bose stereo system is excellent and provides great sound quality. The only downfalls are that size of the touch screen display is small and the navigation isn't very user friendly.

- Jessica B

The Mazda CX-5 is a spacious sporty reliable vehicle.

The Mazda CX-5 is a very sharp looking vehicle. It's sporty and spacious. I am satisfied with it for the most part but wish it had more convenient features like more cup holders or a cubby for your lose change, just more spots to put your essentials. My biggest complaint would be the windshield/front door windows when it is raining or has been raining. The water beads into a small grove on the outer edge of the windshield and splatters directly into the vehicle if you are taking a turn with the window open.

- Amanda V

The Mazda CX 5 Fits The Bill!

I just love this SUV. It fits the bill! It has room in the back (trunk area) for the dog, fits 2 child car seats, and is so very comfortable. I love that it sits high up. I was able to put roof racks on top, after market, to move the kayaks. I have a 6 speed, which is the only one in 3 states to have an SUV that I needed. The only think that I have a problem with is the blind spot on the passenger side. It may be that I sit so far up that I cannot see in the area. Other than that I love my car.

- Janice C

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