It’s hard to stand out in the sea of compact crossovers on the road today but this week we bring you one that does. It’s Mazda’s best-selling vehicle the CX-5. The automaker sold more than 150,000 of them in 2018.
New for 2019
There are some noteworthy updates to the 2019 CX-5. There are two new trims - the Signature and Grand Touring Reserve. Both come with a new turbo engine. A new near-luxury interior also greets you in the top-tier Signature trim, which is what I’m reviewing, and last but not least, most of the lineup finally welcomes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Mazdas are known for their dynamic driving experience so let’s start there. The CX-5 Signature comes standard with a new terrific SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter turbo good for 250-horsepower on premium fuel, 227 on regular. The engine doesn’t have stop start. On the road, I was impressed. The power felt great for a crossover that weighs in at just over 3,800 pounds. The Signature comes standard with Mazda’s iActive All-Wheel Drive to handle a massive 310 lb.-ft of torque. Mazda cites the AWD 0-60 time as 7.3 seconds. Standard G-Vectoring Control Plus makes handling more precise. I wish Mazda had updated the old 6-speed automatic for an 8-speed, but it’s not a deal breaker for me because I liked the confident power, driving dynamics and tight handling so much. The suspension is on the firmer, sportier side, which I like, but if you like a really smooth Lexus-like ride you may want to consider other options.
The Mazda CX-5 is a modern-looking compact SUV without being edgy. A long hood in front gives it a premium feel and the grille is flanked by LED adaptive headlights and foglights. Auto fold door mirrors are a new 2019 feature. My Snowflake White Pearl ($200) rides on new 19-inch alloy wheels with a dark silver finish with LED combo tail lights in the rear, along with a roof spoiler and shark fin antenna.
The Signature trim is proof Mazda is going for near-luxury status. Inside, you’re greeted with comfy dark brown Nappa-leather trimmed leather seats with amazing heat warmers (not to mention the heated leather-wrapped steering wheel.) Soft touch surfaces adorn the dash and silver trimmed two-toned door panels. Mazda gave the interior real wood accents, but a lighter color for more contrast would have made the wood pop more.
I liked the clean look of the glossy, wide center console that houses the leather-wrapped gear shifter, sport mode button, auto brake hold and knob controller. Above it, Mazda keeps dual-zone A/C controls simple.
The cabin is quiet and the premium materials follow through to the heated back seats that have their own air vent. Leg room could be a little tight for tall people back there but head room is ample throughout the cabin. A moonroof is overhead.
Turn on the push-button stop start and a partial LCD tachometer lights up above the steering wheel. You scroll through the multifunction driver display via steering wheel controls.
Up on the dash you see the 7-inch infotainment display, though a larger 8-inch would have been nice in this high-end trim. It houses Mazda Connect and only functions as a touchscreen when you aren’t moving. Otherwise, you use a knob controller on the center console to sort through the settings. The really big news here is that the infotainment system now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all trims except the base Sport model. On the downside, the rearview camera could use a higher resolution camera and it doesn’t have gridlines that move.
The CX-5 offers four USB ports, two in the front and two in back. The voice recognition systems worked well for me when I followed the prompts. The 10-speaker Bose audio system delivered great, premium quality sound.
The 5-passenger CX-5 is shorter than some of its competition and that means less cargo space. A power liftgate reveals 59.6 cubic feet of room with the 40/20/40 split seats down. The headrests don’t fold down; you have to remove them manually. Visibility is good out the rear window. My tester has the optional roof rack and rails, cargo mat, all-weather floor mats, illuminated door sill trim plates, rear bumper guard, and retractable cargo cover.
The Signature comes with a host of standard safety features including Advanced Smart City Brake Support with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring (BSM), lane departure warning and cruise control. (I liked the BSM’s audible warning.) The Signature is also equipped with front and rear parking sensors, a 360 degree monitor, and heads up display that can recognize traffic signs.
The new turbo engine nets 22 city/27 highway miles for a combined 24 as opposed to 26 combined for the All-Wheel Drive base engine model.
What You’ll Pay
There is no doubt the CX-5 Signature has a lot going for it. It’s a fun to drive, quiet and comfy crossover packed with features and plenty of safety attributes. But the $36,890 starting price tag could be high for mainstream shoppers and is also on par with the BMW X1 xDrive starting MSRP from just under $37,000.
If you’re looking for a crossover with a great interior and best-in-class driving dynamics, the CX-5 should be on your shopping list.
2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD
- What I liked most: Impressive near-luxury cabin and fantastic driving dynamics.
- What I would change: Ditch the 6- for an 8-speed and give me a larger touchscreen.
- MSRP: Base price $36,890. As equipped $39,445.
- Fuel economy: 24 combined/22 city/27 highway.
- Official color: Snowflake White Pearl ($200).
- Odometer reading when tested: 3,452.
- Curb Weight: 3,825.
- Length-width-height: 179.1 inches long/83.3. inches wide/66.1 inches tall (AWD).
- Fuel-tank capacity: 15.3 gallons (AWD).
- Towing capacity: 2,000 lbs.
- Spare tire: Temporary.
- 2019 Mazda CX-5 in a few words: A powerful, quiet and comfy compact crossover with sporty driving dynamics to love.
- Warranty: 3 year/36,000 mile bumper to bumper Warranty; 5-year/60,000 Powertrain; 3-year/36,000 24hr roadside assistance.
- Final assembly location: Hiroshima, Japan.
- Manufacturer’s website: www.Mazda.com
Photo Credit: Mazda