Business

Test Drive: The 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD

Greg Zyla More Content Now
Posted: Jul. 22, 2019 8:13 am Updated: Jul. 22, 2019 8:15 am

Entry price: $24,350
Price as tested: $39,115

This week, we’re driving the 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature, a smaller five-passenger SUV with midsize, roomy features. Signature models are delivered with standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) and lots of amenities. Overall, CX-5 delivers just about everything a prospective owner desires, from parents with active families to college students who want reliable, sporty transportation.

The front-drive CX-5s start with the entry level Sport at just $24,350. Next up the CX-5 ladder is the Touring at $26,615, followed by the Grand Touring at $30,045. Next come the more expensive CX-5s, both fitted with standard AWD ala the Grand Touring Reserve at $34,870 and top line Signature at $36,890.

Regardless of model choice, all feature Mazda’s great looking CX-5 motif and mechanical wizardry the company calls Skyactiv engineering. Standard on every ’19 CX-5 is forward collision warning with “city speed” automatic emergency braking, a most notable no-extra-cost addition. If you want AWD on Sport and Touring models, add $1,400 and you’ll be ready for some off-road adventures and/or more secure driving on problematic, snow covered roadways.

Mazda CX-5 debuted in 2013 to rave reviews and surpassed over 1 million sold worldwide in 2017. Along the way, Mazda tweaked its engine and suspension advancements including driving innovations that include Mazda “G-Vectoring,” its nomenclature for enhanced body, ride and handling control. Although complex, G-Vectoring impacts vehicle speed, throttle position and rate of steering wheel rotation. Included is slight braking upon cornering entry, weight distribution stabilization, and improved throttle response coming off the corner. (Check with your dealer for more info).

Now in its second generation introduced two years ago, CX-5 features a prominent new grille, LED head and tail lights and improved fascia that lead to an overall impressive aerodynamic design. The interior has been upgraded, too, and is so roomy you’ll think it’s a midsize more so than its official EPA listing of a small SUV.

Mazda engineers continue to develop more efficiency from smaller cubic inch engines, transmission gearing and AWD underpinnings that result in excellent performance and better fuel mileage. For 2019, they prove what is possible in power development from its small Skyactiv 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. The front-drive and AWD CX-5 Sport and Touring models utilize the 2.5 with normally aspirated fuel injection to develop 187 horses and 186 lb. ft. of torque. Fuel mileage for the front drive models are 24 city and 31 highway while AWD models deliver 24 city and 30 highway.

However, when you move up to the more powerful Grand Touring Reserve and Signature versions, the little 2.5-liter gets way stronger thanks to the addition of a turbocharger that really adds some welcome pep. Horsepower moves up to 227 with 87 octane fuel and if you fill up with the 93 octane, the ponies top out at 250 with torque moving all the way up to an impressive 310. The only drawback is fuel mileage, as it drops to 22 city and 27 highway for the AWD, still decent but not great.

As for gear changing, all CX-5s rely on Mazda’s proven six-speed automatic transmission that is designed for both peppy acceleration and highway cruising. There is also a manual shift and Sport mode for even better RPM control and performance. (The turbo engine is not available on Sport and Touring trims).

Underneath, CX-5 features a MacPherson strut front suspension that combines with a multi-link rear setup resulting in a very agile, quiet and fun to drive vehicle. It’s easy to park and a pleasure on the open highway.

Our top class Signature tester features standard features galore, including heated and ventilated 8-way power driver seat with lumbar, 6-way power passenger seat, push button start, windshield driving display, and windshield wiper deicer. The list goes on with the Signature, however, as blind spot monitoring, rain sense wipers, heated side mirrors, Bluetooth, tilt and telescopic steering, Apple and Android compatibility, Mazda Connect Infotainment with navigation, 10-speaker Bose surround sound stereo, heated steering wheel, SiriusXM, power moonroof, four USB inputs, power liftgate, 7.0-inch display, back-up safety camera, heated rear seats with 40/20/40 tri-split, Nappa leather trim, and more are all standard. (Phew!)

Overall, the cabin delivers impressive detailing, lots of storage areas, excellent instrumentation and many color combinations to choose from.

Additionally, safety items are many and include rear cross traffic alert, lane departure/ lane keep assist, 360 degree rear monitor, all the airbags, hill launch assist, dynamic stability control, traction control and four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes. Toyo 19-inch all-season tires on special bright/dark two-tone alloy wheels receive credit for putting the power to the ground and provide excellent grip around sharper corners. When you package all these safety items together, Mazda CX-5 in any dress enjoys a government 5-Star overall safety rating and IIHS Top Safety pick.

The final tally on our fully loaded tester came in at $39,155 retail and includes options like a $300 exterior paint upgrade, $125 rear bumper guard, $125 all weather floor mats, $400 illuminated door sills, $70 cargo mat, $250 retractable cargo cover and $995 delivery.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 106.2 inches, 3,825 curb weight, 15.3 gallon fuel tank, 36 ft. turn circle, 7.5-inch ground clearance, 2,000 lb. tow capacity and up to 59.6 cu. ft. of cargo space depending on rear seat arrangement.

Mazda continues to stay ahead of the curve with its 2019 CX-5. Check with your dealer for any current incentives and test drive both the front and AWD versions for better comparisons.

In summary, Mazda CX-5 is an outstanding smaller to midsize SUV that carries a recommended rating from Consumer Reports.

I’ll ditto that.

Likes: Looks, pricing, safety, Mazda engineering, turbo.
Dislikes: Infotainment learning curve, 7-inch screen too small, USB port locations.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.

In Case You Missed It

Search for woman enters new chapter 10 years later
Christina Whittaker's family, friends hold benefit to help hire private investigator