Sales of the Mazda CX-5 compact crossover more than doubled in 2013, following the introduction of a more powerful SkyActiv 2.5-liter four-cylinder for the top two trim levels.

The little CX-5 has certainly caught buyer attention since it replaced the CX-7 in the Mazda lineup about two years ago. In terms of overall market share earned versus the heavy hitters, this small SUV has been a runaway success in a way that still eludes the handsome Mazda6 midsize sedan.

On track to move 70,000-plus units this year in the U.S., the CX-5’s popularity shows the brilliance of Mazda’s entry into the exploding segment at the right time, with the right style and the right price. This five-seater offers all-wheel drive and sprint stats as low as 7.2 seconds to 60 mph for the latest engine and six-speed transmission combo.

The value-priced CX-5 Sport now comes standard with an extra gear ratio in its manual gearbox, but sees base pricing jump to $21,000 for the cheapest entry in the front or AWD range. Even with this price increase of about $1,000 versus last year, the CX-5’s 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway numbers still make life very difficult for traditional economy cars like the Dodge Dart and Hyundai Elantra.

This means some really handsome, fresh and tasteful styling to wrap a roomy and practical five-seat cabin.

Is this handsome face enough to have staying power versus the Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage or Ford Escape?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Mazda CX-5, with detailed information about the enhanced performance of the new 2.5-liter powerplant upgrade.

  • 2014 Mazda CX-5
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    5-Speed Manual (Auto Opt.)
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    155 @ 6000
  • MPG(Cty):
  • MPG(Hwy):
  • Torque @ RPM:
    150 @ 4000
  • Energy:
    Direct Gasoline Injection
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    122 mph
  • Layout:
    Front-engine, Front-drive (AWD Opt.)
  • Price:
  • body style:


2014 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 517322

What makes the CX-5 so handsome, especially versus the equally-sophisticated new styles from the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and Hyundai Sante Fe Sport? The small crossover segment is lousy with brand-new competitors – all trying to lure sedan shoppers with the promise of AWD traction and lifestyle adventures outdoors.

As the TopGear TV boys joked on Sunday, the 30-plus mini SUV models available really can seem interchangeable to many eyes.

The design of the CX-5 blends sharp-angled shaping to the lights, grille and air vents with a soft and flowing theme for the sculpted fenders and rising panel swage lines. There is none of the somewhat vulgar exaggerated front fender flare as seen on the previous Mazda6, and the pointed-grille design strikes the perfect note. Its full-frame size matches the best luxury makes, while its vertical angle and inner detailing has a distinct touch of BMW.

As with the new 3 Beries BMW, the chrome grille edges flare outward into the pinched headlight graphics. The lights are sharply raked with a single projector beam lamp. This is halogen-powered until the top Grand Touring trim level, which brings bi-xenon lighting.

Even the missing fog lamps on the base Sport trim do not hurt the Mazda’s sharp appearance and planted stance. Also refined was the previous Mazda3-style smiling grille face, replaced by a more serious but still playful character.

All CX-5’s share extensive amounts of grey plastic for the lower sills and fenders, helping the cheapo trims feel just as stylish as the $30,000 ones.

In profile, the CX-5 is marked out by an upright windshield and long-looking hood, especially versus the latest RAV4’s raked glass and short, pointy nose. From the rear three-quarter angle, a set of slim and pinched taillights stands proud of the rear panels and gives some 3D feel to the vehicle design.

Large CX-5 letters look cool when paired with the gigantic “flying M” emblems on this generation of Mazda’s. The rear glasshouse is sharply tailored behind the back doors, which emphasizes the large flowing graphics that run up the sides of the car.

Everything about the back view of the CX-5 seems well-designed and satisfying. The creases and shut lines are all logical and the eye can trace over the structural lines in the diffuser, tailgate plate area and roof shape.

The same purity of exterior design is largely absent from the Toyota RAV4, whose new design direction brings funky creases and technical accents that are not as easy on the eye.

Both the Mazda and Toyota are available with a variety of eye-popping paint colors, but only the CX-5 still seems premium and interesting when painted white, grey and silver. In these basic colors, the interesting parts of the Toyota design can just disappear.

2014 Mazda CX-5 – Exterior Dimensions:

Wheelbase (in.) 106.3
Length (in.) 179.3
Width (in.) 72.4
Height (in.) 67.3
Track - Front (in.) 62.5
Track - Rear (in.) 62.4
Weight (Pounds) 3415 2.0L (3532 2.5L)
Drag Coefficient 0.33

2014 Mazda CX-5 – Standard Exterior Features:

  • Halogen headlights
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Spoiler, rear roof fin
  • Antenna, roof-mounted shark fin
  • LED Brake light - high-mount, interior-type (top of rear window)
  • Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
  • Mirrors (Side) - driver & passenger electric remote control, body color with turn signal lamps

2014 Mazda CX-5 – Optional Exterior Features:

  • Grand Touring Package: 19-inch Alloy Wheels, Power sliding-glass moonroof, Heated side mirrors, Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Clear Film Front Paint Protection Package ($595)
  • Clear Film Rear Bumper Top Protection ($75)
  • Roof Rack Side Rails ($250)
  • Remote Engine Start: A/T Only ($525)
  • Fog Lights for Sport Model ($350)
  • Rear Parking Sensors ($475)
  • Rear Bumper Guard ($100)
  • Trailer Hitch Receiver ($425)
  • Wheel Locks ($55)


2014 Mazda CX-5 Interior
- image 517353

Based on the CX-5’s trim style and relatively light curb weight, the logical assumption would be that this crossover must be tiny inside. In fact, that is far from the truth and the CX-5 battles it out inch by inch with the larger Escape and CR-V for most roominess totals.

The front seats feel sporty and premium, thanks to a vertical dash face and wide center console with integrated armrest. There is plenty of room all around but the black trim that is standard on non-Sport CX-5’s is a bit dark for some moods.

The standard tan cloth helps to lighten the interior but still comes paired with the handsome jet-black dash and trim accents. The biggest change when moving up the trim levels is the standard automatic transmission that comes on all the AWD cars, plus as standard on the FWD Touring and Grand Touring.

Only the FWD CX-5 Sport benefits from the new six-speed box, which replaces the previous five-speed manual. The Sport’s auto box also grows to six ratios this year from five before.

The CX-5 has a wonderful steering wheel shape that pairs some silver spokes with a deep central boss and compact airbag. It looks great and helps establish the car’s sporty demeanor right from the first corner.

The CX-5 has great cargo stats and a standard folding back seat. The pricey trims trade a 60/40 split seatback for a 40/20/40 design that is better able to carry skis with four people on board.

2014 Mazda CX-5 – Interior Dimensions:

Front Seating Capacity 2
Rear Seating Capacity 3
Headroom - Front (in.) 40.1
Headroom - Rear (in.) 39
Legroom - Front (in.) 41
Legroom - Rear (in.) 39.3
Shoulder Room - Front (in.) 57.5
Shoulder Room - Rear (in.) 55.5
Hip Room - Front (in.) 55.2
Hip Room - Rear (in.) 53.7
EPA Cargo Volume (cubic-feet) 34.1
EPA Cargo Volume - Seats Folded (cubic-feet) 64.8

2014 Mazda CX-5 – Standard Interior Features:

  • 5.8-inch color touch screen, Bluetooth-enabled connectivity, SIRIUS Satellite Radio with 4-month subscription, HD Radio Technology and Pandora integration (Touring and Grand Touring only)
  • Push-button start
  • Power windows with driver-side one-touch up/down feature
  • Tilt / telescopic adjustable steering wheel
  • 12V power outlets (2 Front / 1 Cargo area)
  • Audio system Automatic Level Control (ALC)
  • Audio auxiliary jack & USB connection ports
  • Steering wheel-mounted audio & cruise controls
  • Split fold-down second row

2014 Mazda CX-5 – Optional Interior Features:

  • Sport trim Bluetooth Audio Package ($400)
  • Touring trim Bose/Moonroof Package ($1,130): Bose Centerpoint 9-speaker Surround Sound System with AudioPilot
  • Touring trim Technology Package - Requires Bose/Moonroof Pkg ($1,485): TomTom-based Navigation, Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry System, Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system, rain-sensing wipers, bi-xenon HID headlmaps and auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Grand Touring trim Technology Package ($1,625): TomTom-based Navigation, Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry System, Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system, rain-sensing wipers, bi-xenon HID headlmaps and auto-dimming rear-view mirror

2014 Mazda CX-5 – Optional Interior Accessories:

  • Cargo Mat, Carpet ($60)
  • Cargo Net ($50)
  • Cargo Tray ($75)
  • Floor Mats, All-Weather ($100)
  • Compass / Auto Dim Mirror w/ Homelink ($295)
  • Retractable Cargo Cover ($200)
  • Sirius Satellite Radio with 4-month Subscription ($525)
  • Sport w/ Bluetooth Audio & Touring ($525)
  • Door Sill Trim Plates ($125)

Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes

2014 Mazda CX-5 Exterior
- image 517338

There is a huge variety of performance across these various trim levels, with AWD typically adding almost a second to the 60-mph run and lopping a bit off the overall top speeds as well.

The figures are below, and show how much quicker the new 2.5-liter engine makes the CX-5 in daily driving. The larger engine is standard on Touring and GT trims, with 0-to-60 mph times of 7.2 seconds for the FWD cars and 7.9 seconds for the AWD models.

The speedier models suffer a big mpg loss on the highway, down to a still-good 30 mpg versus 35 for the base FWD manual. The base CX-5 is probably too slow for most eager drivers, however, and with AWD it saunters to 60 mph in boring 9.6 seconds.

2014 Mazda CX-5 – Mechanical Details:

Trim Level FWD CX-5 Sport AWD CX-5 Sport FWD CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring AWD CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring
Engine Size and Type 2.0-liter 16-valve I-4 With Chain-Driven DOHC, Direct Injection And SkyActiv-G CVVT 2.0-liter 16-valve I-4 With Chain-Driven DOHC, Direct Injection And SkyActiv-G CVVT 2.5-liter 16-valve I-4 With Chain-Driven DOHC, Direct Injection And SkyActiv-G CVVT 2.5-liter 16-valve I-4 With Chain-Driven DOHC, Direct Injection And SkyActiv-G CVVT
Peak power (Horsepower) 155 @ 6000 155 @ 6000 184 @ 5700 184 @ 5700
Peak torque (Pound-feet) 150 @ 4000 150 @ 4000 185 @ 3250 185 @ 3250
Transmission 6-speed Manual, 6-Speed Automatic Opt. 6-speed Automatic 6-Speed Automatic 6-Speed Automatic
0-to-60 mph 8.9 seconds 9.6 seconds 7.2 seconds 7.8 seconds
Top Speed (mph) 122 mph 116 mph 126 mph 122 mph
EPA Fuel Economy MPG (City/Combined/Highway) 26/29/35 Manual, 26/29/32 Auto 25/28/31 25/27/32 24/26/30


2014 Mazda CX-5
- image 517359

The CX-5 is a Top Safety Pick from IIHS and a five-star car from the NHTSA. Rarely, the CX-5 scores a perfect rating for all the NHTSA collision tests, and still ranks well with a four-star rollover safety rating as its only demerit.

The CX-5’s top trims include a backup camera and blind-spot assistance as standard, and a new active safety option appears in the 2014 Technology package: Smart City Brake Support. This radar-based system will automatically prevent a frontal collision by braking to a stop if it senses the driver is not aware of the stopped car ahead.

2014 Mazda CX-5 – Standard Safety Features:

  • E911 auto emergency audio menu voice-command
  • SKYACTIV-Body and SKYACTIV-Chassis: First mass-production vehicle to feature 1,800MPa ultra-high tensile steel
  • Advanced dual front & front seat side airbags, plus side air curtains as well as rollover protection
  • Side-impact door beams
  • Hill Launch Assist
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) & Brake Assist
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Crushable brake pedal assembly
  • Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children (LATCH)
  • Rearview camera
  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) system
  • Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system – opt.


2014 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 517329

2014 Mazda CX-5 – 2014 Prices:

Mazda CX-5 2014 MSRP
CX-5 FWD Sport 2.0L - Manual $21,195
CX-5 FWD Sport 2.0L - Auto $22,595
CX-5 FWD Touring 2.5L- Auto $24,615
CX-5 FWD Grand Touring 2.5L- Auto $27,620
CX-5 AWD Sport 2.0L - Auto $23,845
CX-5 AWD Touring 2.5L - Auto $25,865
CX-5 AWD Grand Touring 2.5L- Auto $28,870


Toyota RAV4

2013 Toyota RAV4 Exterior
- image 483935

The new RAV4 is still a powerhouse in the sales arena, with a recent realignment to be a five-seater and four-banger exclusively, and leaving the seven-seater V-6 market to the larger Highlander.

The RAV4 shares its size and competition with the Ford Escape, but generally the Toyota and Mazda are much less premium and powerful than the top Escape Titanium specification.

Kia Sportage

2011 Kia Sportage High Resolution Exterior
- image 345191

The Sportage is also a handsome and crisply-styled crossover. It is a larger and wider car than the CX-5, with a cabin that has a number of extra features but feels less well-built than the CX-5 on the inside. The Sportage is scheduled for a slight refresh in mid 2014.


2014 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 517323

The CX-5 is the right car for the times, and the right blend of premium styling and crossover practicality mean it is the perfect sedan replacement.

On dealer lots and in leather-backed showroom chairs, consumers are far more excited about owning a frugal crossover with a high ride height and what they perceive is a more-premium image.

Unlike some base-trim competitors, the CX-5 is actually pretty respectable-looking even without the Touring and Grand Touring trim’s large central infotainment display. It comes standard wearing body-color bumpers and 17-inch alloy wheels; the budget CX-5 Sport is barely any missing style features from its pricier stable mates.

Economy and sporty manners were never the CX-5’s problem since its arrival two years ago, nor were there any complaints about its stunning efficiency.

Some grumbles did emerge about the dour and dark cockpits and a distinct lack of progress when drivers hit the gas. Just as quickly as it arrived, a larger engine and tech enhancements mean the CX-5 is finally at the top of its game.

Watch out, RAV4... the handsome, affordable and lively Mazda CX-5 is finally equipped to win serious sales volume from frugal crossover shoppers and people bored with normal sedans.

Category Rating Details
Driving B+ Tactile Electronic Power Steering Is Quick And Accurate
Performance B Larger Engine Still A SkyActiv Technical Marvel; And Quicker Of Course
Look A- Sporty Profile Hides Big Cabin; New Vertical Grille A Big Improvement
Value A $21,000 Performance-Car Secret With Snicky Six-Speed Manual
Overall B+ Premium Styling And Fun Persona Help CX-5 Stand Tall Versus Sales Leaders
  • Leave it
    • Oddly large range of performance and fuel economy figures for one small car
    • AWD option much slower than FWD cars
    • Missing interior touchscreen tech and LED lights up front
About the author

Press Release

The SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY savvy CX-5 returns to Los Angeles to make its 2014 model year North American debut and features a powerful new SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine as well as the all-new Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system.

2014 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 517307

2014 MAZDA CX-5

  • Mazda’s Compact SUV Entry Boasts New 2.5L Engine, Added Safety Features

“The ongoing success of the CX-5 is something we were hoping for and received in spades,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). “From a clean-sheet-of-paper approach, CX-5 dove head first into the competitive compact SUV segment and created quite a splash. The overwhelmingly positive response from consumers and critics alike are testaments that performance and practicality can be a winning formula without compromises.”

Engineered for the Real World

2014 Mazda CX-5 Emblems and Logo Exterior
- image 517310

No one wants to drive a slug, but a sports car doesn’t fit the everyday needs of most consumers, nor are such horsepower-bloated play things the most affordable of toys. But fun never had a sensible bone in its hyperactive, excitement-seeking body – until SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY.

Developed solely by Mazda, the brand that invented Zoom-Zoom for all, SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY is a deeply imbedded philosophy that obtaining more power, more torque and more MPG can be had by creating overall vehicle efficiency and still be offered at a dollar-sign amount attainable by the majority of the car-buying population. What is lost in the process of improving engineering numbers? Nothing. Safety, spaciousness, style – still all there. And better than before.

2014 Mazda CX-5 Exterior
- image 517337

Upon entering the marketplace, CX-5 was an all-new, true-to-segment entry into the compact SUV circle. Outfitted with a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine for all three trim levels – Sport, Touring and Grand Touring – the engine and its matching SKYACTIV transmissions were enough to offer consumers best-in-class combined fuel economy on all models. With 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 150 lb-ft of torque delivered at 4,000 rpm, enough get-up-and-go oomph delivered dynamics that any enthusiast could appreciate. The standard push-button start was all it took to get the revving going.

For 2014, the race-car high 13:1 compression ratio and uniquely crafted 4-2-1 exhaust system remain but can now be paired with an all-new SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine for Touring and Grand Touring models. Boasting nearly 19 percent more horsepower and 23 percent more torque, the SKYACTIV-G 2.5L still maintains the fuel economy threshold set by the SKYACTIV-G 2.0L in its segment-leading MPG. Redline is achieved at 6,800 rpm in the 2.0-liter and at 6,500 rpm in the 2.5-liter engine.

All CX-5 Sport models will be equipped with the SKYACTIV-G 2.0L engine and offer an EPA-rated fuel economy of 26 city/35 highway/29 combined MPG when mated to the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission, or 26 city/32 highway/29 combined MPG when optioned with the SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission. When equipped with Mazda’s Active Torque-Split All-Wheel Drive system (AT models only), fuel economy remains a highly-efficient 25 city/31 highway/28 combined MPG. At 35 MPG, CX-5 still holds the title of highest highway MPG of any SUV in North America, hybrid or not.

Only available with an automatic transmission, Touring and Grand Touring models will receive the SKYACTIV-G 2.5L engine. Touting 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm, the CX-5 becomes one of the more powerful non-turbocharged compact SUVs in its class. The EPA-tested numbers reflect minimal sacrifice in efficiency with 25 city/32 highway MPG for front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicles and 24 city/30 highway MPG for AWD vehicles.

Fuel tank capacity in FWD models is 14.8 gallons while AWD vehicles feature a slightly larger 15.3-gallon tank. This difference is to ensure that regardless of a consumer’s choice of vehicle, the segment-leading driving range will remain similar across the model line at about 430 miles. Overpowering most of its competitors as well as outlasting them, the 2014 CX-5 truly knows how to move forward and go further.

But fuel efficiency and power can’t be had with simple under-the-hood magic tricks. By crafting efficiency into not just a lighter engine and shorter shift strokes but also into every panel and every bolt, SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY showcases light weighting at its svelte best. With a starting weight of 3,194 lbs., a CX-5 Sport FWD with SKYACTIV-MT weighs less than some compact cars, such as the MAZDASPEED3 (3,281 lbs.). When fully equipped, a Grand Touring AWD model weighs in at 3,532 lbs. Even with a trim frame and smaller footprint, all CX-5 models offer a 2000-pound towing capacity.

Distinguishing Design

2014 Mazda CX-5 Exterior
- image 517336

Mazda’s current design language known as KODO, or “Soul of Motion,” is as inspiring as the very subject it draws inspiration from: nature, in its most calm and most furious. The ability to evoke a serenity that also behooves excitement is the essence of KODO. Calm, collected and coolly confident, the CX-5 entered a segment devoid of signature character lines, a vehicle class better known more for its Point A-to-Point B mannerisms and bulk-item cargo volume than for its style palate. As the first production Mazda to fully incorporate a soul of motion, CX-5 is convincingly striking in comparison to its peers.

Its sculptured body is taut and compact yet muscular. Shapely front and rear fenders hug the sporty SUV’s 17- and 19-inch rubber-and-rim pairings, projecting a brash, athletic swagger. With brawny alloy wheels as standard equipment, Sport and Touring models feature refined 17-inch aluminum alloy discs wrapped in P225/65R17 Yokohama all-season tires. Grand Touring models ride on aggressive 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels outfitted with P225/55R19 Toyo® A23 all-season traction.

In the front, black trapezoidal grille patterns add muscular depth while the new familial five-point “signature wing” extends its striking chrome into the angular wraparound headlamps. Detailed precision is magnified as a single sweeping stroke bridges the lower corners with sleek, artistic expression. Atop the strong fenders begins a pronounced crease, which curves and twistingly darts across the side panels, eventually readjusting to wrap itself around stylized tail lamps.

All this expression of motion in the sheet metal, the rounded surfaces befitted with edgy creases, are as much for finesse as they are for function. The sharply raked A-pillar is matched by the angles of the fastback design of the C-pillar and rear window, topping a dynamic profile, which, at the same time, affords all occupants one of the widest fields of view in the compact SUV segment.

CX-5’s exterior design was developed to create optimal airflow, making the overall shape as smooth as possible. This not only helped it achieve high fuel efficiency but also kept wind noise to a comfortable minimum. Additionally, all models are equipped with a rear spoiler, which not only aids in the vehicle’s already exceptional aerodynamic performance but also complements its aggressive poise. With a 0.33 coefficient of drag, CX-5 is one of the sleekest wind cutters currently on the market.

Interior Indulges

2014 Mazda CX-5 Interior
- image 517346

The vehicle’s exterior expression is evident in its interior impression as well. The driver-oriented cabin is intuitive with easy-to-read screens and a multitude of frequently-used controls within well-placed reach. And passengers are welcomed as well to relax in the comfort of the compact SUV’s supportive seats and soft-touch surfaces.

Black provides the clean base color throughout the cabin with sculpted, body-embracing seating available in either black or a two-tone black/sand on a choice of two cloth fabric patterns or genuine perforated leather. The black-on-black layout begets a traditional go-to color scheme for affluent sportiness. The sand-on-black arrangement offers a vibrant and refined color-contrasting option. Both color choices present the well-tailored fit and finish of the CX-5’s interior with defined luxury and non-discriminating comfort.

With no detail overlooked, every surface and crevice has been designed with purpose in addition to style. Featuring an abundance of soft materials on the door trims and upper dash panels, piano black accents and satin chrome elements further convey a high-end, well-crafted sense of quality. The instrument cluster offers meter lighting that makes the gauges bright and visible in the daylight as well as non-blinding in the darkness. The three-spoke racing-inspired steering wheel appeals to enthusiasts and offers functional features such as a tilt-and-telescopic adjustable column with steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls as standard equipment.

Such luxury features easily abound on the CX-5’s segment-leading wheelbase length of 106.3 inches. Seating five adults and offering a cabin that is undeniably flexible to everyday errands and weekend getaways, CX-5 does more than accommodate the demands of today’s active all- work and all-play lifestyles; it embraces them.

2014 Mazda CX-5 Interior
- image 517298
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