Living from the Slightly Quicker Lane
An antidote of these acceleration ills has arrived in the form of Mazda’s bigger, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which arrives standard within the Touring and Grand Touring models for the 2014 model year. (The 2.0-liter goes on on the Sport trim and, unlike the 2.5, which is available only with a six-speed auto, may still become specific having a six-speed manual.) Although bigger by half a liter, a recent mill bumps output by 29 horsepower and 35 lb-ft of torque. So endowed, 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 sure, but at the cost of a bunch of mpg.
Our long-term 2013 CX-5 Touring AWD with the 2.0-liter and automatic has averaged a great 28 miles per gallon in mixed driving, although the 2014 2.5-liter test car returned only 21 mpg. Full disclosure: Approximately 40 % from the mileage within our 2.5-liter test car was accrued in foot-to-the-floor, no-quarter-given driving through the backwoods of northern Michigan. More restraint using the accelerator could yield results closer to the authorized EPA combined quantity of 26 mpg. Both engines are rated to tow up to 2000 pounds, adequate tugging power for private 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 when the base car would best hold out for any wider opening. All the chassis goodness through the 2.0-liter CX-5 remains, plus the linear response and feedback with the electrically assisted steering are arguably best in class. This is a well-balanced, cogently damped package that follows through on turn-in with the routine predictability of the Michael Bay summer blockbuster.
Even though braking components are away from exotic-single-pot calipers all over, 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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