Living in the Gently Speedier Lane
An antidote for such acceleration ills has arrived comprising Mazda’s bigger, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which arrives common 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 offered only with a six-speed auto, may still become specified using a six-speed manual.) Although bigger by half a liter, the recent 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 sure, 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 thorough 28 mpg in mixed driving, although the 2014 2.5-liter test car returned only 21 mpg. Full disclosure: Around 40 % from the mileage within our 2.5-liter test car was accrued in foot-to-the-floor, no-quarter-given driving from the backwoods of northern Michigan. More restraint on the accelerator could yield results nearer to the certified EPA combined quantity of 26 mpg. Both engines are rated to tow around 2000 pounds, sufficient tugging power for personal watercraft and small cargo trailers.
Nevertheless the numbers only tell an element 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 little an instigator, cutting and running in traffic situations where the base car would best wait for the wider opening. All the chassis goodness in the 2.0-liter CX-5 remains, and the linear response and feedback in the electrically assisted steering are arguably finest 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.
However the braking components are far from exotic-single-pot calipers all 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.