Living in the Barely Quicker Lane
An antidote for such acceleration ills has arrived by way of Mazda’s bigger, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, that comes common in the Touring and Grand Touring models in the 2014 model year. (The 2.0-liter carries on within the Sport trim and, unlike the 2.5, which is obtainable simply with a six-speed auto, may still be specified having a six-speed manual.) Although bigger by half a liter, the latest mill bumps output by 29 horsepower and 35 lb-ft of torque. So lucky, our CX-5 cracked off a 7.6-second 0-to-60 time and knocked down the quarter in 15.8. Welcome improvements to be assured, but at the cost of a few mpg.
Our long-term 2013 CX-5 Touring AWD with the 2.0-liter and automatic has averaged a solid 28 miles per gallon in mixed driving, but the 2014 2.5-liter test car returned only 21 mpg. Full disclosure: Approximately 40 percent from the mileage in our 2.5-liter test car was gathered in foot-to-the-floor, no-quarter-given driving from the backwoods of northern Michigan. More restraint with the accelerator could yield results nearer to the authorized EPA mixed number of 26 mpg. Both engines are rated to tow around 2000 pounds, sufficient tugging power for personal watercraft and small cargo trailers.
But the numbers only tell a part of the story. Whereas the 155-hp, 2.0-liter CX-5 is a willing but weak companion, the 184-hp, 2.5-liter car is a bit of an instigator, cutting and running in traffic situations where the base car would best hold out for the wider opening. All the chassis goodness in the 2.0-liter CX-5 remains, and the linear response and feedback from the electrically assisted steering are arguably finest in class. It is a well-balanced, cogently damped package that follows through on turn-in together with the routine predictability of a Michael Bay summer blockbuster.
Even so the braking components are away from exotic-single-pot calipers around, 11.7-inch vented front rotors and 11.9-inch solid rotors in back-Mazda has tuned the setup well, and our CX-5 2.5 stopped from 70 mph in 166 feet.
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