Life in the Barely Faster Lane
An antidote of such acceleration ills has arrived by way of Mazda’s bigger, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, that arrives common in the Touring and Grand Touring models in the 2014 model year. (The 2.0-liter goes on on the Sport trim and, unlike the 2.5, which is available just with a six-speed auto, may still be specific with 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 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 make sure, but at the price of a few mpg.
Our long-term 2013 CX-5 Touring AWD with the 2.0-liter and automatic offers averaged a good 28 mpg in mixed driving, but the 2014 2.5-liter test car returned only 21 mpg. Full disclosure: Approximately 40 percent of the mileage within our 2.5-liter test car was gathered in foot-to-the-floor, no-quarter-given driving with the backwoods of northern Michigan. More restraint in 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, adequate tugging power for private 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 in which the base car would best hold out for a wider opening. All the chassis goodness through the 2.0-liter CX-5 remains, and the linear response and feedback with 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 an Michael Bay summer blockbuster.
Even though braking components are away 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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