Living in the Gently Quicker Street
An antidote of such acceleration ills is here in the form of Mazda’s bigger, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, that comes standard within the Touring and Grand Touring models in the 2014 model year. (The 2.0-liter goes on in the Sport trim and, unlike the 2.5, which is offered only with a six-speed auto, may still be specific with a six-speed manual.) Although bigger by half a liter, a latest 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 certain, but at the cost of several mpg.
Our long-term 2013 CX-5 Touring AWD with the 2.0-liter and automatic has averaged a good 28 miles per gallon in mixed driving, but the 2014 2.5-liter test car returned only 21 mpg. Full disclosure: About 40 percent of the mileage within our 2.5-liter test car was accrued in foot-to-the-floor, no-quarter-given driving with the backwoods of northern Michigan. More restraint using the accelerator could yield results closer to the certified EPA combined quantity of 26 mpg. Both engines are rated to tow around 2000 pounds, sufficient tugging power for individual watercraft and small cargo trailers.
Even so 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 that the base car would best wait for the wider opening. All the chassis goodness through the 2.0-liter CX-5 remains, plus the linear response and feedback from the electrically assisted steering are arguably finest in class. This can be a well-balanced, cogently damped package that follows through on turn-in together with the routine predictability of an Michael Bay summer blockbuster.
However the braking components are away from exotic-single-pot calipers 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.
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