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by Bill P. and Daryl Payne
This year the best-selling Mazda CX-5 is on a whole new level with an all-new Signature model added to the lineup. The top-of-the-line little red demon boasts a powerful 2.5T Skyactiv-G 4-cylinder engine with outstanding torque delivery. Turns out the new CX-5 is super sporty crossover we didn’t know we needed.
Other sporty whips like the Ford Edge ST are also new to the crossover segment, but the new CX-5 with its impressive price tag and even more impressive performance stirs up the competition.
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 is available in five trims plus a Signature Diesel model. The CX-5 Sport, CX-5 Touring and Grand Touring are all available in FWD or AWD. The upgraded Grand Touring Reserve and the CX- 5 Signature we reviewed has all-wheel drive standard.
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature features a spacious lux interior with amenities beyond its price point. With its refined performance that includes G-Vectoring Control Plus the Mazda CX-5 can be a thrill-ride at high speeds poised for cornering.
The new CX-5 Signature appeals to the sophisticated and the wild and adventurous.
Striking Design Aids Sporty Performance
At first look the CX-5 instantly appealing. Its slimmer look makes the CX-5 look sharper. The hood has two deep creases, the side has a huge muscle line and there’s a huge line across the trunk. Its chiseled body, shark fin antenna and rear roof spoiler all enhance aerodynamics.
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature has standard 19 inch alloy wheels and a grille that glistens in the sun. The side profile shows off the CX-5’s long nose and sloped greenhouse, unique to the sporty design of the CX-5.
LED headlights, daytime running lights, fog lights and LED combination tail lights are all standard on the CX-5 Signature. As is High Beam Control and the Adaptive Front Lighting System.
Daryl, a professed sports car and big truck guy took quickly to the Mazda CX-5 complimenting the cool Soul Red crystal paint and style lines. Basic tech that used to cost more money like rain sensing wipers, a power lift gate, power folding mirrors, keyless entry and a moon roof is standard in the CX-5 Grand Touring Reserve and the CX-5 Signature.
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 looks slim and trim on the outside. And the interior is much bigger than expected. The 5-passenger CX-5 Signature offers a wealth of amenities for convenience and safety technology. And displays have been updated to show even more stats. The 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature we reviewed has standard Caturra Brown Nappa leather seats, satin chrome accents, and layered wood trim.
First-Class Interior has Abundant Convenience Tech
LED ambient lighting and a black headliner are also standard. Drivers have an 8-way power seat with memory, heating and ventilation. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has stitching and heating, plus has controls for cruise control, phone and audio.
Daryl was instantly attracted to the CX-5 Signature’s cabin. He likes the black gloss and wood panels, and Nappa leather seats that he says are nice and hard but not rigid. He likes the look of the center stack, but thinks the leather-wrapped shifter is too short, and that manual mode should be on the right instead of the left.
The CX-5 Signature also has standard heated 40/20/40 split fold-down rear seats and a huge trunk with programmable tailgate.
While the seating design is new and cool, the dash and the center stack the 2019 CX-5 is the same as previous years minus some added trim. In fact, the buttons in the center stack of the CX-5 look just like the Mazda CX-3. There are only buttons for climate, and heated seats that take up the entire center stack. Then all of the other controls for infotainment and safety are accessible via the 7 inch touchscreen. Minimalism is great for the sporty CX-5, but there should be some variation for some of the other Mazda SUVs that adds more of a luxury feel and keeps drivers from using the screen to access nearly everything.
The 7 inch full-color touchscreen display houses controls for convenience and safety features along with a rear camera and Mazda Connect that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation and new 360-degree View Monitor. Drivers of the new CX-5 can use a multifunction commander knob nestled in the center console to adjust the touch screen if one doesn’t feel like reaching. A Bose 10-speaker sound system is standard on the CX-5 Signature.
Seated in the new CX-5 Signature drivers will have a wealth of info available at their fingertips. The new configurable active driving display shows info in vivid layout – less cluttered and less of a distraction. It features Traffic Sign Recognition.
A new reconfigurable 7 inch TFT gauge display is standard on the CX-5 Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and CX-5 Signature. It shows a ton of stats like current fuel economy, range, a compass, coolant temp, distance to empty and the i-ActivSense display.
The TFT display also shows illustrations for safety tech like the Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane-keep Assist, Lane Departure, Smart City Brake Support, Distance Support Recognition and Mazda Radar Cruise Control.
While the cabin design is awesomeness, there are a few drawbacks. For one, the CX-5 beeps when drivers climb out and walk away from the car, which is very annoying and can be unsettling for women or kids driving alone.
Daryl and Editor Sommer both noticed that the CX-5’s cabin is not well insulated. Drivers will hear noise coming from outside the car, both from the road and cars driving next to the CX-5. and the air rushing passed the closed windows.
The center console area is recessed too short and low, so a short person can’t rest their elbow on it comfortably. The cup holders in the center console are also awkwardly placed. Then the shifter is loose – or something because a slip of the hand and it can be accidently put in neutral.
Lastly it would be great if the 7 inch center touchscreen had a home screen with vital stats instead of the home screen that’s just icons.
Thrilling Performance with Awesome Handling
The best part about the 2019 Mazda CX-5 is its versatile powertrain that can go from smooth and serene to sporty with a tap of the gas and/or a click of the drive selector.
For 2019 engineers added a host of premium technology under the hood starting with the refined naturally aspired Skyactiv-G 2.5 4-cylinder engine and standard G-Vectoring Control Plus that enriches the entire road experience.
The Skyactiv-G 2.5 engine is fitted to the Mazda CX-5 Sport, Touring and Grand Touring models. Mazda is the only manufacturer in North America to offer cylinder-deactivation technology on a 4-cylinder engine. Cylinder-deactivation will shut down two outside cylinders at light loads or when cruising below 50 mph to save gas.
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature features a turbocharged Skyactiv-G 2.5T engine with a whopping 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque at just 2,000 rpm. The CX-9 Signature rides smooth and surprisingly light.
Daryl loves how the new CX-9’s turbo Skyactiv-G engine accelerates with aggression and precision. He drove all over Chicago and the western suburbs for days – at least 200 miles and there was still over half a tank!
The powertrain includes innovative technology that takes the red demon to the next level, like Mazda’s Dynamic Pressure Turbo, that can increase power deliver by building boost at low RPMs and opening up a secondary valve at higher RPMs. Cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) prevents knocking thus reducing combustion temperatures.
G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) makes steering response more precise by using small changes in engine output to shift weight to the front tires whenever the driver turns the wheel. Also cool is i-Activ All-wheel drive that keeps the CX-5 resilient and brave in bad weather.
Sturdy Independent front and rear suspension is awesome in the CX-5 as are the front ventilated disc brakes and solid rear disc brakes that stop on a dime from high speeds with no jerking.
A Drive Selector offers a sport mode that adds more aggression and enhances response.
The CX-5’s Skyactiv-G 2.5 T engine is matched to a Skyactiv Drive 6-speed Sport Mode automatic transmission with manual mode.
Safety & Performance Tech Work in Harmony
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 offers a stylish design, efficient and exhilarating performance, and the Signature offers an impressive suite of iActivSense safety technology standard. High Beam Control and the Adaptive Front Lighting System are standard on the CX-5 Signature along with Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control, and Hill Launch Assist.
Even more technology like the on-point Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Advance Smart City Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist and the 360-degree monitor are all standard.
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 starts at just $25k, compeling buyers of smaller compact SUVs to level up.
The top-tier CX-5 Signature hot on the streets with an MSRP of just $36,000, inspiring other Mazda models in the very near future.