Living within the Gently Speedier Lane
An antidote for these acceleration ills has arrived comprising Mazda’s bigger, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, that arrives regular inside the Touring and Grand Touring models for the 2014 model year. (The 2.0-liter goes on inside the Sport trim and, unlike the 2.5, which is available simply with a six-speed auto, could become specified having a six-speed manual.) Although bigger by half a liter, the new 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 expense of several mpg.
Our long-term 2013 CX-5 Touring AWD with the 2.0-liter and automatic offers averaged a solid 28 mpg in mixed driving, however the 2014 2.5-liter test car returned only 21 mpg. Full disclosure: About 40 percent from the mileage in our 2.5-liter test car was gathered in foot-to-the-floor, no-quarter-given driving from the backwoods of northern Michigan. More restraint in the accelerator could yield results closer to the official EPA combined amount of 26 mpg. Both engines are rated to tow about 2000 pounds, adequate tugging power for personal watercraft and small cargo trailers.
Nevertheless the numbers only tell 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 when the base car would best wait for a wider opening. All the chassis goodness in the 2.0-liter CX-5 remains, plus the linear response and feedback in the electrically assisted steering are arguably finest in class. This can be a well-balanced, cogently damped package that follows through on turn-in along with the routine predictability of the Michael Bay summer blockbuster.
Although the 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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