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2014 Mazda CX-5 – A compact sport-utility vehicle that is redefining its segment

Some may remember that Mazda’s previous compact sport-utility vehicle, the Tribute, shared the vast majority of its components including its styling with the Ford Escape. Although a capable vehicle, the Tribute certainly was not very unique. That all changed when Mazda introduced the CX-5 in 2012 as a 2013 model. No longer did Mazda offer compact SUV buyers a clone of another vehicle within the segment. The new Mazda CX-5 is a unique as can be with a beautiful exterior design, roomy interior and a one-of-a-kind powertrain.

The first thing you notice about the 2014 Mazda CX-5 is how good it looks. While other SUVs seem blocky, the CX-5 is quite curvaceous with its long, flowing lines that start at the headlights and run all the way to the back. The front fascia is both aggressive and sporty with sharply angled headlights and a honeycomb grill. Our test vehicle, a GT model, included massive 19 inch wheels that rounded out the overall look of the vehicle perfectly.

Inside, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 offers an elegant overall design, comfy seats, tons of room and lots of different storage areas. The center console offers quality materials and excellent workmanship while at the same time being easy to use and understand. Our leather seats offered red stitching that, although subtle, certainly brought the CX-5’s sporty attitude to the forefront. Oh, and let’s not forget the trunk that offers 966 liters of space even with the rear seats in place.

The 2014 Mazda CX-5 gets a new engine this year which powers the GS and GT versions. The 2.5 liter 4 cylinder SKYACTIV-G engine delivers 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. It features an unbelievable compression ratio of 13:1, the highest in its class and price range. Such a high ratio allows the engine to offer better thermal efficiency and improves both performance and fuel efficiency. Buyers can choose between a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic Skyactiv transmission. Both have been designed to lower fuel consumption while still allowing for spirited driving. The manual is lighter and more compact while the automatic has been designed to offer to best features of a continuously variable transmission and a dual-clutch setup.

Finally, the chassis was put on a diet and uses advanced materials to preserve rigidity. The end result is a light, nimble driving sensation with great fuel economy. The 2014 Mazda CX-5 is rated at 5.7 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway and 7.8 liters per 100 kilometers in the city. These numbers put Mazda’s compact SUV at the top of its class.

The base GX model also gets a SKYACTIV-G engine, although the 2.0 liter 4 cylinder has slightly less horsepower (155 hp). The CX-5 GX and GS models can be ordered in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive while the GT version only gets AWD.

Overall, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 drives like a car and sips fuel like a car, yet offers the functionality of a compact SUV. Now isn’t that the best of both worlds?