2019 Mazda CX-5
A few years ago, Mazda announced its intention to explore becoming more of a premium brand than ever before. Their efforts are being seen with the CX-9 and Mazda6 and their aspirational trim levels sold alongside more popular models. It seems that both new Mazda models were designed for both mainstream and premium consumers alike.
That strategy is now in place with the current CX-5 compact SUV. This popular Mazda had been praised for its design and higher quality interior. This model year marks a further step for the CX-5 with the availability of the turbocharged version of its 2.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine and the addition of a Reserve package for the Grand Touring model and a standalone luxury trim package called the Signature.
We received the latter – a 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature model with all-wheel-drive – to find out whether they have a premium vehicle for the well-heeled set.
It all starts with the latest iteration of the “KODO – Soul of Motion” design language. The results of its transformation a few years ago of this second-generation CX-5 model was the headlamp and tail lights units were narrower, the grille was more three-dimensional, and the lines are much sharper. This is true for the side profile and rear liftgate design. The placement of the chrome trim around the side windows is tastefully done.
We still believe that the Mazda CX-5 is very handsome and distinctive enough to notice them on the road – and there’s plenty of them out there!
The overall interior design feels more upmarket with higher-quality materials, along with easy-to-read instrumentation and superb operation of the infotainment system and other controls. The instrument binnacle features a customizable center screen for the speedometer and trip-related readouts.
The soft leather seats of the Signature model are extremely comfortable while offering plenty of support and bolstering. Front seat space is exceptional, but it will be the back seats that will surprise you. There is more than enough leg and head room in the back for people over six feet tall and the doors open wide, almost to 90 degrees. A power-operated liftgate offers ease of access to an expandable cargo space. Your cargo is protected with a rear shade attachable to the liftgate. It does operate almost like a window shade, which is great for even further privacy when loading into the rear. There is up to 59.6 cubic feet of space to haul in the back.
The CX-5 comes in two engines. The standard 2.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine serves up 187 horsepower from its high-compression motor. Add the turbocharger, as in our Signature tester, and the horsepower ratings jumps between 227 and 250 horsepower, depending on the kind of fuel you put into the CX-5. The higher the octane of fuel, the more power you get. Regardless of what fuel you pour into the Mazda SUV, the torque number remains at 310 pound-feet of low-end power.
Either engine is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission and, in our tester, the all-wheel drive system. Performance is superb, making the turbocharged engine a perfect match for the CX-5. For fuel economy, we averaged 23.8 MPG.
G-Vectoring Control is part of the CX-5’s traction and driving dynamics package. The idea behind this is to use the engine to assist in providing improved levels of steering, handling, and ride quality. This actually works well when road surfaces are less than ideal—during rainstorms, with snow and ice, and on anything other than smooth tarmac.
The CX-5 rides pretty well with a smooth ride, competent handling, and cornering. It should be just fine for many folks. The steering is also quite good, though putting it into Sport mode does tighten up the weight a bit. The wheel action is good with a solid turning radius overall. Brakes are superb with great pedal action and solid stops in both normal and panic situations.
It is one thing to say that this new CX-5 is safe. Active safety features include Smart City Brake Support, radar cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and Lane Keep Assist.
Pricing for the CX-5 starts at $24,350. Our tester came with a sticker price of $39,155.
As we mentioned before, the CX-5 is actually attracting two different kinds of customers, depending on which trim and engine they are looking at. For mainstream models, competitors include the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, and Jeep Cherokee. However, our CX-5 Signature model actually matches up with more premium compact SUVs, such as the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Lexus NX, Buick Envision, GMC Terrain, Infiniti QX50, Audi Q5, Jaguar E-Pace, Lincoln MKC, Volvo XC60, and Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
The best compliment to give the 2019 Mazda CX-5 is how it has grown into its new role of being everything to everyone. It could be argued that you have two different vehicles for two different kinds of customers within one lineup. No matter which one you choose, the Mazda CX-5 will deliver great moments for you over the miles ahead.
Story Credits: Carsoup Editors