Compact SUVs currently make up the fastest-growing segment in the auto industry, which can create a difficult decision for buyers trying to sort through the clutter. Fortunately, Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com has compiled this year’s list of its 10 best SUVs under $25,000, showcasing some of the best compact models out there. Securing the No. 2 spot was the 2014 Mazda CX-5, which was praised for its fun-to-drive factor, its fuel-efficient SKYACTIV technology and its smart-yet-stylish design.
KBB.com editors were also impressed by the CX-5′s five-seat practicality, which does nothing to diminish the crossover’s responsive handling. Despite being a relatively recent addition to the Mazda lineup, the CX-5 has already collected a number of automotive awards, including being named a 2013 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the best small SUV of 2013 by Car and Driver magazine. The CX-5 is hard to miss, with a fluid exterior that follows Mazda’s KODO, or Soul of Motion, design philosophy, but what drivers can’t see is equally important in setting the compact SUV apart from the competition.
“The Mazda CX-5 is perfect for families who want more than just a vehicle that can go from point A to point B, because it has very engaging handling despite its great fuel efficiency and spacious interior,” said Jeanette Downing, general manager of Goodwin Mazda, a Brunswick, Maine Mazda dealer. “With the CX-5, it is easy to forget you’re driving an SUV that has more than 34 cubic feet of space in the back, or about 65 cubic feet just by pressing a button and folding the back seat.”
Mazda’s SKYACTIV engineering is instrumental to the CX-5′s ability to provide impressive performance and efficiency regardless of all that cargo space. SKYACTIV technology focuses on improved engine compression ratios, transmission optimization and lightweight-yet-rigid frames, which combine to boost responsiveness while keeping fuel consumption to a minimum. The CX-5 was the first vehicle in Mazda’s lineup to incorporate the complete suite of SKYACTIV elements, and it serves as a solid example of how integrative vehicle design can produce excellent results after being implemented from the ground up.
When equipped with the standard 155-horsepower 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G engine, the Mazda CX-5 returns up to 35 mpg on the highway, making it the most fuel-efficient SUV on the market during freeway driving. SKYACTIV technology allows the powerplant to consume 15 percent less fuel than Mazda’s previous MZR 2.0-liter engine. For the 2014 model year, buyers can also now upgrade to a new 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G unit that produces 184 horsepower while still netting up to 32 mpg on the highway.
“The Mazda CX-5 offers hybrid-like efficiency without the inflated price tag associated with a gas-electric powertrain, and yet, there is no mistaking it for a hybrid once you step down on the pedal,” Downing added. “If you also consider the standard Dynamic Stability Control and traction control, as well as the optional all-wheel-drive system, then you’re getting all-weather capability without having to pay the extra fuel costs that come with other capable SUVs.”
Purchase price is typically the number that most car shoppers fixate on, but Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com says those initial costs can be outweighed by the out-of-pocket expenses that follow in the first five years of ownership. That is why the automotive-research site compiles its annual 5-Year Cost to Own Awards, which give vehicles buyers a clearer picture of long-term costs. In this year’s awards, KBB.com recognized Mazda as the most affordable auto brand in America.
For its 2013 5-Year Cost to Own Awards, KBB.com determined its winners based not only on purchase price and depreciation, but also on costs related to fuel, financing, insurance, state fees, repairs and maintenance. Mazda was predicted to have the lowest overall ownership costs of any automaker during a five-year period, thanks to its above-average fuel-economy ratings, low maintenance costs and high resale value. Meanwhile, the 2013 Mazda5 earned individual recognition in the Minivan/Van category.
“It’s easy to get hung up on the price of a vehicle, but taking the long view ensures a more satisfying car-ownership experience as the years go by,” said Jeanette Downing, general manager of Goodwin Mazda, a Brunswick, Maine Mazda dealer. “Mazda’s lineup manages to appeal equally to the head and the heart by offering plenty of performance, style and technology without costing owners much for maintenance or fuel.”
Mazda’s fuel-efficient lineup recently welcomed a new member to the family: the redesigned 2014 Mazda6. As the second Mazda vehicle to feature the brand’s full suite of efficiency-focused SKYACTIV technologies, the latest Mazda6 jumps to the head of the midsize-sedan class with its 38-mpg rating on the highway. The first model to fully embrace the SKYACTIV suite, the Mazda CX-5 compact crossover, also leads its segment by returning 35 mpg on the highway.
Fuel efficiency isn’t the only area where the Mazda6 mimics the CX-5, as both models feature Mazda’s KODO, or Soul of Motion, design language. In the sedan, that means an aggressive five-point grille flanked by sweeping, angular headlights that pull back over the flared front fenders, a look that is punctuated in the rear by dual exhaust pipes. Inside, the 2014 Mazda6 features advanced technology like an available 5.8-inch touchscreen with voice recognition, which makes for simple and safe control of the navigation system and audio settings.
“Midsize sedans have a reputation for being bland and boring, but the new Mazda6 turns that notion on its head,” Downing noted. “Mazda has made a name for itself by building exciting vehicles that buck trends, but the new Mazda6 really takes that idea to new heights with its daring design.”
We’ve been raving about the 2014 Mazda6 for months now, admiring the model’s great looks and awesome technology, but now we have a new reason to heap praise on the midsize sedan – it’s great on gas too! Mazda has revealed that the Mazda6 equipped with the automatic transmission will return 38 mpg on the highway without needing any hybrid technology or anything better than 87 octane gas. That’s proof that Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology really works.
Powered by an advanced 2.5-liter engine that produces 184 horsepower, the new Mazda6 is no slouch when it comes to acceleration, as would be expected from any Mazda. That fun-to-drive nature also applies to the model’s handling, which makes commuting a blast.
The new 2014 Mazda6 will reach our Maine Mazda dealership soon, so visit us today to schedule a test-drive! Or, if you can’t wait, try one of our fantastic 2013 models.