Life inside the Gently Speedier Lane
An antidote for such acceleration ills has arrived comprising Mazda’s bigger, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, that comes standard inside the Touring and Grand Touring models in the 2014 model year. (The 2.0-liter carries on within the Sport trim and, unlike the 2.5, which is available just with a six-speed auto, can still become 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 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 sure, but at the expense of some mpg.
Our long-term 2013 CX-5 Touring AWD with the 2.0-liter and automatic offers averaged a great 28 mpg in mixed driving, but the 2014 2.5-liter test car returned only 21 mpg. Full disclosure: Approximately 40 % of the mileage in our 2.5-liter test car was accrued in foot-to-the-floor, no-quarter-given driving from the backwoods of northern Michigan. More restraint on the accelerator could yield results nearer to the authorized EPA combined number of 26 mpg. Both engines are rated to tow up to 2000 pounds, enough 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 little an instigator, cutting and running in traffic situations in which the base car would best wait for a wider opening. All the chassis goodness in the 2.0-liter CX-5 remains, and the linear response and feedback through the electrically assisted steering are arguably best in class. This is a well-balanced, cogently damped package that follows through on turn-in 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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