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CX-5 is hot Mazda crossover SUV.

Byline: Ann M. Job

In its first year, the Mazda CX-5 crossover sport utility vehicle won over auto critics with its driver-pleasing handling, comfortable interior and sporty looks.

Now in its second model year, the five-passenger CX-5 promises to garner more compliments, thanks to a more powerful, but still fuel-efficient, engine that puts zoom into the compact SUV.

New for 2014, the 2.5-liter, double overhead cam, SkyActiv-G four cylinder has a larger displacement than the original 2-liter four cylinder and generates 184 horsepower, an increase of 29 over last year's sole engine. Its horsepower is higher than the four cylinder in the 2014 Toyota RAV4 and even one of the turbo engines offered in the 2014 Ford Escape SUV.

The new Mazda engine also delivers 185 foot-pounds of torque at 3,250 rpm, which compares with 150 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm in the CX-5's smaller engine and the RAV4's 172 foot-pounds at 4,100 rpm.

The intriguing part is that federal government fuel economy ratings for the front-wheel drive CX-5 with the more powerful engine, at 25-32, still are near the top of the non-hybrid, gasoline-powered, compact crossover class.

Add some new features for 2014 and the fact the CX-5 is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine, and it's no wonder the CX-5 is Mazda's second best-selling vehicle in America. The 54,388 U.S. sales so far this calendar year are more than double the CX-5 sales from last year at this time.

The CX-5 still offers a six-speed manual, though it is only with the smaller, 2-liter engine that remains in the lineup.

All told, the 2014 CX-5 remains an affordable and noteworthy choice for smaller SUV shoppers.

The test CX-5 was a top-of-the-line Grand Touring model with all-wheel drive, plus the optional technology package that includes a TomTom navigation system, high-intensity-discharge headlamps and advanced keyless entry.

The higher-powered CX-5 accelerates more eagerly and moves in sprightly fashion, due in part to the vehicle's impressive low weight that Mazda engineers carefully honed.

Power in the CX-5 came on smoothly and steadily through the automatic transmission.

The test CX-5 was stable in curves and corners, with little body lean exhibited.

The CX-5 interior isn't as stylized as those of some other vehicles, but it's handsome and functional.
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Author:Job, Ann M.
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 28, 2013
Words:383
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