Living in the Barely Faster Lane
An antidote for these acceleration ills has arrived by way of Mazda’s larger, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which occurs standard on the Touring and Grand Touring models for the 2014 model year. (The 2.0-liter carries on in the Sport trim and, unlike the 2.5, that is obtainable just with a six-speed auto, may still be 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 assured, but at the cost of several mpg.
Our long-term 2013 CX-5 Touring AWD with the 2.0-liter and automatic offers averaged a solid 28 miles per gallon in mixed driving, but the 2014 2.5-liter test car returned only 21 mpg. Full disclosure: Around 40 percent from the mileage in our 2.5-liter test car was built up in foot-to-the-floor, no-quarter-given driving from the backwoods of northern Michigan. More restraint using the accelerator could yield results closer to the certified EPA combined amount of 26 mpg. Both engines are rated to tow up to 2000 pounds, enough tugging power for personal watercraft and small cargo trailers.
Although 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 bit of an instigator, cutting and running in traffic situations that the base car would best wait 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. 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.
Although the braking components are far from exotic-single-pot calipers throughout, 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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