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February 4, 2014

Review: 2014 Mazda CX-5 Pro

The bane of sport utility vehicles, compact crossovers included, is their infamy for being gas-guzzlers. Equipped with four-wheel drive this and electronic doodad that, they do deliver outstanding driving performance at the expense of burning a sizable hole in your wallet due to terrible fuel mileage. It’s for this reason why some buyers skip this genre altogether and instead move up to a mid-sized SUV powered by a lean-burning diesel. However, Mazda wants you to re-consider the compact crossover once more; one that doesn’t sacrifice driving performance for the sake of great fuel economy. They want you to take a look at the new Mazda CX-5 Pro.

“New” isn’t exactly the best term to describe the Mazda CX-5 Pro. From tip to stern, it is the very same CX-5 that debuted in the Philippine market two years ago. So with the exception of an additional exterior color, Soul Red, the CX-5 Pro speaks the all too familiar Mazda design language of KODO – Soul of Motion. The process of drilling down to the specifics of Mazda’s design philosophy may sound repetitive for anyone remotely interested in cars (after all, it was driven the year it launched in both M/T and A/T variants and soon as the range-topping 2.5 AWD Sport), but there’s little denying it still looks good. It’s been around since 2012, but the CX-5 looks millimeter perfect with its sweeping and swooping lines, complex projector headlamps, and clean (i.e. roof rail-less) roofline. There’s little to criticize maybe except it looks a tad like the Hyundai Tucson in some angles and the 225/65R17 tires are just too tiny. Those points aside, the CX-5 is still one of the, if not, the most handsome compact crossovers you can buy today.

Once you step inside, the “rinse and repeat” storyline of the CX-5 starts to wane. Now considered as their mid-level variant (though the base model has officially bitten the dust), the “Pro” in CX-5 Pro nets you leather not just on the steering wheel, but on the seats as well. The cowhide is well executed and gives more sense of luxury to the CX-5’s sporty cabin. Oddly enough, this perforated number features red stitching, a detail not found anywhere else in the CX-5’s interior. In addition, the door trims are still finished in the same jersey-like fabric found in the base CX-5. The mismatched stitching and use of cloth on the door trim aside, the rest of the CX-5’s cabin is well screwed together with soft, plush plastics on the upper dash and doors. There are still some hard plastics, but these are relegated to areas that you normally won’t and don’t touch or even see, so it’s perfectly fine.

Without mincing words, the CX-5’s seats aren’t the most comfortable, especially for the driver on long drives. But the seats on the CX-5 Pro are an exception, well at least for the front seats anyway. It’s as if Mazda plopped down the Mazda6’s seats into the CX-5 and called it a day. Whatever they did to these leather seats, it features excellent bum, thigh, and lumbar support. A drive to Santa Rosa one day and Clark the next aren’t tiring anymore. The backseats though are still pretty much the same, so passengers will end up with cushions which are several centimeters short of comfortable. This could mean complaints from the elderly and highly sensitive occupants. The rest of the cabin ergonomics are pretty much standard CX-5 fare: highly readable gauges, excellent steering wheel adjustment, and easy-to-reach controls. And though you sit a bit higher, the CX-5 does an excellent emulation of what it feels like driving a sports sedan. Space-wise, the CX-5 won’t win any awards; it’s good for four adults and luggage. If you plan to sit three at the back, better make sure they’re comfy sitting intimately close to each other.

The Mazda CX-5 is designed to maximize driving fun, and the Pro delivers the most returns; even outshining the 2.5 AWD Sport. Honestly, if you’re considering a CX-5 to fill your garage, it should be this one. Equipped with a 2.0-liter Skyactiv 4-cylinder engine with 155 horsepower and 200 Nm of torque, the CX-5 won’t win any sort of horsepower race. But since the real world isn’t about Trump Card figures, the CX-5 Pro delivers a great mix of driving fun and excellent fuel economy. For one, it gives up 135 kilograms of weight over the 2.5 AWD Sport and trades just 33 horsepower and 50 Nm—that’s just 10 percent less horsepower per metric ton. The lighter weight makes itself felt almost immediately with the CX-5 Pro’s quicker power pick up and better off-the-line feel. Without using a stopwatch (and you really shouldn’t care), the CX-5 Pro feels quicker to the most important person in the cabin: the driver. It’s also remarkably quieter and more refined than the larger Skyactiv engine. Shifts from the 6-speed automatic are smooth and imperceptible. The CX-5 doesn’t come with paddle shifters, and in the case of the Pro, you don’t need it. It shifts up or down when you want and need it to. It’s almost telepathic.

The “Pro” in CX-5 Pro might as well stand for “professional fuel miser” since it’s very easy to drive economically. Driving normally, with air conditioning on and stuck in traffic, the CX-5 Pro can return 11.11 km/L in the city, a 10-percent improvement over the regular CX-5 and an impressive 30-percent jump over the CX-5 2.5 AWD Sport thanks to its standard i-stop function that automatically shuts off the engine when idling in traffic. On highways though, the CX-5 Pro returns the same mileage figures as its non-i-stop equipped counterpart which is somewhere in the 17 km/L range.

Like its highway fuel mileage, the CX-5 Pro’s on-road behavior is fairly unchanged from the base model, so expect an exhilarating drive with good steering feel, excellent brakes, and a very balanced ride. Exterior visibility is excellent, so placing the CX-5 in traffic is easy. Parking it is equally easy, but it now comes with a reverse camera (no parking sensors) to help you out in tighter quarters. On the subject of ride, when the CX-5 Pro was first picked up from Mazda Philippines’s office, the ride is oddly soft and supple, like that of an executive sedan. A quick check revealed though that the tires were pumped at 32 PSI on all fours, when the recommended tire pressure is 38 PSI in front and 41 at the back; still even after packing the recommended pressure into the tires, the CX-5 Pro still managed a firm but comfortable ride.

For all intents and purposes, the Mazda CX-5 Pro could have suffered from the “middle child syndrome”, neglected and forgotten in lieu of its flashier big brother and more bang-for-the-buck little brother. However, this is farther from the truth. More than anything, the CX-5 Pro shines as the best example in Mazda’s compact crossover stable. It may not offer as much toys as the 2.5 AWD Sport, but it nicely tiptoes the balance between luxury and value-for-money. It’s the definite CX-5 and one that’s worthy of its P 1,455,000 price tag.

2014 Mazda CX-5 Pro
Ownership 2.0 Pro
Year Introduced 2013
Vehicle Classification Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration NA
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 155 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 200 @ 4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Unleaded / 93~
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,540
Width (mm) 1,840
Height (mm) 1,670
Wheelbase (mm) 2,700
Curb Weight (kg) 1,451
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires 225/65R17
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors No (Reverse Camera)
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Front
Auto Lights No
Auto Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 6
Steering Wheel Controls Yes


  1. How different is this from the Mazda 6? What are the striking differences in terms of features? Thanks!

    1. Very, very different. Too many to list actually. Here's are some useful links for you though:


      Mazda CX-5 AWD:

  2. Any idea where these things are being built?

  3. Mazda cx-5 according to my SA are all CBU from Japan.

  4. Uly, between this and the Forrester, which one would you recommend? Thanks

    1. If it's a primary car or a family car, I'd still get the Subaru Forester. The Subbie's bigger and offers a much bigger luggage space. It also drives quite nicely and does offer 500-mm wading depth and a ground clearance of 220 mm. And fuel economy's also very good even in the city.

      If my heart is settled on a Mazda CX-5 though, I'd skip the entry-level model and even the AWD Sport and go for the Pro. Personally, I find the size a bit too compromised and the luggage space a bit too small. That said, the feature mix is just right with everything you could wish for.

      Hope that answers your question.

  5. If boot size is not the priority. Which one is better, Subaru XV premium or Mazda CX 5 Pro?

    1. This is a very interesting scenario.

      Again, it depends on what you're looking of in a vehicle.

      Undoubtedly, the Mazda CX-5 is a tad bigger than the Subaru XV, the latter being pretty much a jacked-up Impreza hatchback. In terms of build quality, they're similar though I honestly don't know how that idle start/stop function of the CX-5 Pro would last in the Philippine setting.

      Both exhibit similar driving characteristics, but the CX-5 is sharper on pavement. Of course, with higher ground clearance and all-wheel drive, the XV is much better off the beaten path and is something I'd take for the weekend out of town.

      In terms of fuel economy, in the city, the CX-5 Pro fares better but on the highway things pretty much even out.

      Bottom line: if I were to spend my own money (without knowing how ownership costs/durability would be), my vote goes to the CX-5 Pro. That said, at least I know Subarus are built like tanks.

  6. So I get the impression that since the CX-5 Pro is bigger than the XV, the rear seats of the Subby are all the more cramped as compared to the Mazda's? Am I correct?

    1. Yes. The CX-5 Pro has bigger rear seats and luggage area compared to the XV.

    2. Thanks for the reply, Uly.

      Wife and I are torn tuloy. Haha. We were set to acquire the XV Premium until I read this review. But honestly, I'm still leaning on the XV; wife doesn't care about the Mazda brand! ;)

    3. I suggest that you test drive both.

      IMHO, if this will be a second car, get the XV especially if you already have a Montero Sport or Fortuner in your garage.

      Either that, or there's always the Forester!

    4. Hi, Uly. I'm back. Hehe.

      YES, we are now seriously considering the Forester, after I read your article on Subaru's unveiling of the 'mid-level' Forester! ;)

  7. which one is better over all is it this cc 5 or the forester 2.0i premium?

  8. if you are interested with Mazda CX-5 please let me know.
    Im SC of MAzda dealer.



  9. The new Mazda CX-5: A feat of engineering. A crossover without compromise. Offering confident driving, versatility, all-weather capability, spaciousness and advanced features made possible through a brand new engineering philosophy — the SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY. Re-imagining every component to work together in unprecedented harmony. The CX-5: A compact crossover SUV. An automotive revolution that proves innovative thinking can overcome compromise and turn the limits of imagination into reality.
    YOJIN3 Package:)
    Free 3-Year Periodic Maintenance Service 60k km(PMS) labor and Parts
    Free 3-Year ERA (Nationwide) with Free 3-Year Concierge Service
    Free 3-Year 100k km bumper to bumper Warranty

    SC: 09061070730

  10. Which one is better? I can't decide between the 4 SUVs:
    1. Mazda CX-5 Pro,
    2. Kia Sportage 2.0 EX CRDi 2WD,
    3. Subaru XV 2.0iPremium,
    4. Chevrolet Captiva 2.4 Liter 4X2 gas LS.

    What's the advantage between a Japanese compared to a Korean car? Some say na mababa ang resale value ng Kia cars?

    Moreover, do you know if ford will bring back the model Escape in the market in 2015?

    1. The Escape is coming back to the Philippines with 2 models. Reservations have already started. Customer deliveries start January 15.

  11. what is the ground clearance and water wading capability of the CX5 Pro?

  12. Hi Uly,

    I'm planning to get a CX-5 and I would like to found out if it will stack against the flood conditions of QC. I drive a Tucson 07 model with a wading depth around 400-500mm and I would like to know if the CX 5 is also around that level. Thanks!

    1. Getting 400-500 mm out of the Tucson is very optimistic and I think somewhat dangerous. The indicated wading depth of the Tucson is around 388-mm maximum.

      On the subject of the CX-5, there are no indications about its water wading capability. I suspect it will be similar to the Tucson, perhaps slightly higher. It's worth noting that the CX-5 does have a higher ground clearance (215 mm) versus the Tucson (198 mm).

      If you really, really need a CUV that can tackle floods, I suggest you go take a look at the Forester. It has an additional 5 mm of ground clearance versus the CX-5 (220 mm) and has a rated water wading depth of 500 mm.

      That said, if you really want a flood-proof vehicle, why don't you look at a larger SUV? The Trailblazer comes to mind.

  13. Hi Uly,

    I found this site interesting and people commenting are equally nice. I am also considering buying an SUV like the others my preference are the following:
    1. 2015 Mazda CX-5
    2. 2015 CRV 2.0S Cruiser Edition
    3. 2015 Nissan X-trail 2.0 (New Edition), 7 seater
    4. 2015 Isuzu Mux 4X2, A/T

    Could you please give me an insight what major consideration to take in selecting among the 4 SUV's above.

  14. Any news/gossip on when the 2016 Mazda CX-5 will become available locally?

    1. April. Had made reservation and was told first units will be coming in April

  15. Searched your website for an in-depth review of the Mazda CX-9, but couldn't find anything worthwhile. Hope you can do a full feature on it soon. I'm in the market for a 7-seater, and ride-wise I heard this was still the most comfortable, especially vs. those ladder-on-frame types. Looking forward to reading you review soon!

    1. I was actually able to drive the CX-9 pre-KODO:

      I'll make sure to find the time to review the KODO-faced CX-9 soon.

    2. Looking forward to it Ulysses! It's down to the CX-9 and the new Foed Everest, assuming its not matagtag.

  16. Is the i-stop technology reliable? I like the cx-5, but I'm worried its not as reliable as a CRV.

  17. Hi Uly,

    Can you give me some advise about the maintenance & fuel consumption of Mazda CX-5 or CX-9,compared to Toyota Fortuner? Also, considering the market in the Phil, which car among these will have the highest resale value or will be the easiest to sell? Thanks.

  18. Hi Uly,

    Can you give me some advise about the maintenance & fuel consumption of Mazda CX-5 or CX-9,compared to Toyota Fortuner? Also, considering the market in the Phil, which car among these will have the highest resale value or will be the easiest to sell? Thanks.

  19. sir uly, does this pro have a manual tranny option?

  20. Phishing sites, cookies, and other tools that compromise privacy and security using the filters. It gives a malware warning shows up when you visit sites known to install malicious software it doesn’t show the content of knock-off sites by default, and Firefox 3 Google Play Music Support

  21. Is it good to buy secondhand 2014 mazda cx 5 pro? Is there any known problems and is the fuel still efficient? Thank you.

  22. Is it good to buy secondhand mazda 3 or cx 5? Thank you

  23. Cx 5 2014 2.5 awd is it good to buy 2nd hand mazda?


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