Thursday, June 20, 2013

Engine upgrade adds much to Mazda's CX-5

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – We’re spoiled, selfish.  We want our favorite vehicles to continually get better, to evolve, to stretch out with more perks and better drive characteristics.

Auto manufacturers know this is a key to sales success, and Mazda seems to know it better than most.

Take the 2014 Mazda CX-5, for example.

The latest version of the five-passenger sport-utility vehicle is a significant jump up from the previous one.  And the blue ribbon winner for best single improvement in this ride is the power plant.

The 2014 CX-5 gets the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower, a way, way better offering than the former 2-liter job with 155 horsepower.  Simply said, the 2.5-liter engine enables you to do things you couldn’t think of doing – or certainly didn’t look forward to trying – with the 2-liter engine.

Stronger, abler, the new, stronger engine just makes you feel more secure behind the wheel. You feel you can climb easier, haul better and just have a better chance of getting out of harm’s way if that occasion arises.

If the Old Folks Home is not that far away in your future – and I’m thinking of myself here, folks – you like the CX-5 over its big brother, the CX-9.  The CX-5 is the easier package to deal with, much lighter in feel and agile in an almost athletic way.

I realize there are folks out there with young families and lots of gear, and the CX-9 is likely going to be your cup of tea.  But for me, the CX-5 is a spot-on choice for a driver that likes good ride height, the ability to carry a good number of folks and passengers every now and then and an easy-handling SUV that makes a daylong road trip seem not all that tiring.

That’s the CX-5 in a nutshell.

My tester was comparatively pricey among the seven trim levels, a 2014 Grand Touring AWD version with enough extras to push the bottom line to nearly $32,000.  Even so, I thought that price was pretty good, given all the features on the sticker.

Mine included a power moonroof, leather trimmed sport seats, an eight-way power driver’s seat, heated power exterior mirrors and a kickin’ Bose audio system with nine speakers.  Like I said, pretty good goods for the price.

Fuel mileage is pretty good at 24 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

Mazda kicked in some sharp-angle side sculpting to spruce up the otherwise smooth small SUV profile, and riding on 19-inch alloy wheels looked good.  Felt good too.  Exceptionally smooth ride on the open road.  Interior space, comfort, quietness: quite good.

As in other models, the blind spot monitoring system sounded when I was well out of harm’s way and zooming past a car going 20 miles per hour slower than myself.  But hey, better to err on the side of safety, right?

Overall, a solid B-plus to A-minus grade range for this 2014 SUV.

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