Jump to content
  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    Review of the 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature: A Little Something For Everyone

      ...The compact crossover that checks all the boxes...

    2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature

    Mazda is on a mission lately to make their products feel more premium. They have been tuning their vehicles to be quieter and more refined in order to give them an air that they are above their class. This second generation of the Mazda CX-5 debuted for the 2017 model year with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder producing 187 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft of torque.  For 2019, Mazda added the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine from the CX-9. On regular gas, the engine produces 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft of torque, but if you fill it up with 93 octane, the horsepower figure bumps up to 250.  Available only on the Grand Touring and Signature trims, the 2.5-T makes the CX-5 the compact crossover with the most available torque.  Mazda sent a CX-5 Signature for me to try for a week to see what I thought.

    large.927629212_2019MazdaCX-5-5.jpgThere’s no replacement for displacement… maybe

    The biggest CX-5 news for 2019 is the engine options. There is the 2.5-T mentioned above and a 2.2-liter turbo diesel. Both are exciting entries into a relatively conservative segment.  The 2.5-T is the second-largest displacement engine available in the segment, behind the 3.2 liter V6 in the Jeep Cherokee.  This 4-cylinder puts out quite a bit more torque than the bigger V6, though the Jeep produces more horsepower (271 @ 6,500 rpm). Even among 4-cylinders, this is the largest displacement you can get, but none of those others offering 2.5 liters also offers a turbocharger. This engine is rated by the EPA to get 22 city / 27 highway.  I got about 24 mpg in mostly city driving. Zero to 60 is a claimed 6.2 seconds.

    Under normal driving, the engine is quiet and composed, with torque coming on quickly when called for. When the pedal is mashed at speed, the CX-5 leaps forward with minimal turbo lag and gives off a strong growl from under the hood. The only time you can really feel any lag in the turbo is if you are starting from a dead stop. Overall, you never feel without power at the tip of your toes and the sounds, and lack of sounds, from the engine room is quiet and refined.

    One area the CX-5 falls behind on is in the transmission department. Although the transmission offers smooth shift and is willing to downshift when called upon, a 6-speed automatic almost feels anachronistic in a time when all of its direct competition is sporting 8 or 9 speeds. I never thought there would come a day when 6-forward gears aren’t enough, but here we are. Adding 2 or 3 more gears to the CX-5 would further liven up the already sporty crossover and help keep the turbocharged engine firmly in the good places of its torque band.

    Ride: Al dente – Firm but tender

    If there is a brand that Mazda is looking to emulate here by being premium without the premium badge, it would likely be BMW.  The ride is firm, but not so harsh as to spill your latte. Steering is on the heavy side with precise control and great on-center feel.  Body roll is minimal. Pushing the CX-5 into corners is fun and the standard G-Vectoring Control Plus makes sure you stay planted where you intended to be.  The i-ACTIV all-wheel-drive mostly runs in front-wheel-drive mode until microscopic amounts of wheel slip are detected and then some torque is instantly transferred to the rear wheels.  Mazda programs the AWD system to always have at least a little bit of torque going to the rear in order for the transfer of torque to happen faster. 

    large.2064484844_2019MazdaCX-5-3.jpgIt’s what’s inside that matter most

    Inside the CX-5, the premium story continues. There is a distinct lack of cheap plastic even in places where they could probably get away with it. The dash and door panels are made of soft-touch material and there is a tasteful amount of chrome trim. Though the seats look black in pictures, they are actually a very dark brown that Mazda calls Caturra Brown Nappa leather. This leather is a feature of the Signature trim level and they are both heated and ventilated.  Rear passengers get heated outboard seats as well, controlled from inside the fold-down center armrest. Also, a feature of the Signature trim is the real wood dash inlay and ambient cabin lighting. The seats in the CX-5 are very comfortable with just the right combination of support and cushion. They would be most welcome companions on a long road trip. The rear seats are fairly flat and do not offer a lot of legroom.  There is no adjustment fore and aft.  Wind and tire noise has been kept to a minimum.

    There are 4 USB ports, two in the up front armrest and two in the rear armrest. Only one of them allows a connection to the infotainment system.  Oddly, the USB ports don’t seem to put out much juice as my phones were very slow to charge from them.

    The infotainment system is another area similar to BMW.  The unit is controlled by a large dial in the center console or touch screen controls. I found the touch aspect to be laggy and a long reach, so I found myself using the dial. Using the dial to navigate is simple enough, but the menus and layout of the screen could probably use a re-think.  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both here, for some reason only Apple CarPlay can be activated by touch. Operating either system is frustrating with the dial however, this is especially true for Android Auto which I found frustrating to use without touch screen functionality. At least, unlike BMW, Mazda doesn’t charge you an extra subscription fee to use them. Sound from the Bose speakers was clear, but not especially great.

    There was a time when people mostly bought crossovers for the utility of hauling lots of bulky stuff home from the store, however, these days are different. Now, crossovers are a fashion statement.  Still, the CX-5 has 59.6 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded and 30.9 cubic feet with the seats up.  That is at the high end of mid-pack in the segment with the Honda CR-V being the leader, while the Toyota RAV-4, Chevy Equinox, and Ford Escape all have less. 

    Do you need a safe space? This may be it.

    The Mazda CX-5 Signature comes with a whole host of safety equipment and the center of it all is the heads-up display that keeps the driver informed.  Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane-Keep Assist, and Radar Cruise Control, all have status lights in the heads-up display.  I found the blind spot monitoring system to be especially helpful when I was backing out onto a busy street with limited visibility.  Radar Cruise control is one of my favorite systems of all and I feel it should be standard equipment on all cars. The CX-5 can even read speed limit and stop signs as you approach, changing and updating the local regulations in the heads up display.

    The Signature also comes with active headlights that turn when you turn to help see around corners. They helped me spot a deer on the side of the road I normally would not have seen.

    The Verdict

    The CX-5 Signature is the top of the CX-5 line, so naturally, the price is reflected in that. With an MSRP of $36,890 before any options, the CX-5 may seem pricey, but it comes with everything you could possibly want.  However, when you compare it to other small crossovers with similar equipment it actually ends up comparing favorably to others in its class. I priced out Jeep Cherokee Overland with the 2.0T and technology group and the MSRP is $41,685. A GMC Terrain Denali with all the same option boxes checked? $41,430.  A Honda CR-V can’t even be equipped like the CX-5 because there is no up-level engine option, yet it still rings up to $38,147.

    Overall, Mazda has produced a handsome, sporty, fun to drive crossover with enough utility to remain competitive. They’ve loaded it with safety equipment and kept the price in check. It is definitely worth a look.

     

    Edited by Drew Dowdell
    The original version of this article had the cargo specs listed incorrectly.


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    GREAT review, and a favorite in this class. It oozes upmarket, well polished, comfortable, refined, "I just enjoy driving this everyday" that makes Mazda great.

    Favorite of friends, and referred often. Even the normal non turbo models in Touring trim level, etc. with leatherette, full & same safety, etc. with a $30k sticker...just make an Equinox/Terrain/Escape/CR-V/etc. seem that much more plebian.

    Nice ride & well baked.

    • Thanks 1
    • Agree 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Your review is very good here.  And it is true the other competition is priced high like this.  The new normal.  It is also why they needed a powertrain with more gusto to justify the MSRP.  Particularly since you can at a certain price point upgrade to a larger vehicle and depending on the equipment, get big power in a bigger package but maybe sacrifice a few niceties.

    • Thanks 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    These are really nice rides.  It was between this and two Subarus for my wife but she ended up picking a Subie.  Not sure where you got the cargo numbers, I've read smaller?  Around 31/56 seats up and down.

     

    • Thanks 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    From everything I read, the CX-5 is one of the best small crossovers, and the turbo gives it more power than a lot of others.  But I think $40k for any small crossover is a lot.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    25 minutes ago, frogger said:

    These are really nice rides.  It was between this and two Subarus for my wife but she ended up picking a Subie.  Not sure where you got the cargo numbers, I've read smaller?  Around 31/56 seats up and down.

     

    I've corrected the article.  There is clearly a typo in the little brochure Mazda gave me with the car. It mentions cargo room with second and third rows folded.  Someone at Mazda clearly copy/pasted from the CX-9 brochure.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Even though the styling is dated, and apart from the awful plood + Chinese style dash, I would definitely take an Envision over this if you wanting to stay in the compact class. Myself I find Mazda design very cold while knowing it is still pretty well done. 

    Edited by regfootball
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, regfootball said:

    Even though the styling is dated, and apart from the awful plood + Chinese style dash, I would definitely take an Envision over this if you wanting to stay in the compact class. Myself I find Mazda design very cold while knowing it is still pretty well done. 

    I don't give the design dated at all. The plood in the signature is real wood. I wouldn't take an envision over this.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    9 minutes ago, Paolino said:

    Awesome write up.. I am a very big fan of Mazda.  I would have considered a 6 if it had a V6 still.  I love their design, materials, and I've only read good things about them.

    The 6 has this same Turbo-4 in it as an option on the top model. You wouldn't like it though, too firm of a ride. 

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




  • Similar Content

  • Posts

    • Thanks for the information. The Model X seems to have an abundance of space, everywhere.  The Lyriq just seems to have such a large "engine bay" that could/should still be able to have at least 2 cubic feet of space available. It isn't like their rear cargo space is THAT much larger than what they chose to compare it to.  It's a perfectly fine vehicle and the lack of a small frunk wouldn't stop me, it's just a little disappointing it doesn't have one when I feel like they could have engineered one in and still had a large boot. 
    • At 2.12 and 0.95 cu.ft for the Audi and Jag's frunk respectfully is a non-issue for the Lyriq not having a frunk. Maximizing the back trunk space as what the GM guys are saying for the Lyriq and the reason why they did it that way by-passing the need for a frunk sounds like marketing BS, until you realize that Audi and Jag's frunk space is nonexistent...   To which GM's words then kinda make sense as the Lyriq does in fact offer more room back there.   Frunk space is kinda expected though, for EVs, so there is that... Tesla Model X for a comparison as Tesla is the benchmark....   https://www.tesla.com/ownersmanual/modelx/en_us/GUID-91E5877F-3CD2-4B3B-B2B8-B5DB4A6C0A05.html     Cargo Volume Table 1. 5-Seater Cargo Volumes Area Volume (liters) Volume (cubic ft) Front trunk 183 6.5 Behind first row, second row folded flat 2,410 85.1 Behind second row 1,050 37.1 Maximum total cargo volume with driver and front passenger 2,593 91.6 Maximum total cargo volume with 5 passengers 1,233 43.5 Table 2. 6-Seater Cargo Volumes Area Volume (liters) Volume (cubic ft) Front trunk 183 6.5 Behind first row, second row in max cargo position, third row folded flat 2,431 85.8 Behind second row, third row folded flat 935 33 Behind third row 425 15 Maximum total cargo volume with driver and front passenger 2,614 92.3 Maximum total cargo volume with 6 passengers 608 21.5 Table 3. 7-Seater Cargo Volumes Area Volume (liters) Volume (cubic ft) Front trunk 183 6.5 Behind first row, second row folded flat 2,314 81.7 Behind second row, third row folded flat 957 33.8 Behind third row 425 15 Maximum total cargo volume with driver and front passenger 2,497 88.2 Maximum total cargo volume with 7 passengers 608 21.5       The Lyriq's cargo space is plentiful and it would seem like an engineering choice to favour rear space over the use of a frunk.  Is it a sound engineering choice? Possibly yes as the powertrain bits need not be crammed.   Is it a sound MARKETING choice? Time will tell as many folk really dont understand engineering choices all to well...   Nor do they seem to care.  If they want a frunk, they WANT a phoquing frunk... 
    • Lyriq Chief Engineer, Jamie Brewer, recently explained to GM Authority that the team decided to prioritize rear cargo space over two separate cargo areas. Thus, the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq will have a larger traditional rear storage area. In fact, according to Brewer, that enables the Lyriq to boast the “largest cargo volume in its competitive set.” That made us wonder what, exactly, is the Lyriq’s competitive set. According to Cadillac spokesperson, Katie Minter, it consists of the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace. “Lyriq is aimed at customers that are looking for a luxury SUV with outstanding styling, ride and handling and seamlessly integrated technology. In this instance, we’re looking at vehicles such as the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace,” Minter told GM Authority in an emailed statement. So then, Lyriq has a maximum cargo volume of 60.8 cubic feet behind the first row seats and 28.0 cubic feet behind the second row. When compared to the Audi e-tron and the Jaguar I-Pace, the Lyriq does offer more space in the back. 2023 Cadillac Lyriq Cargo vs. e-tron I-Pace   Cadillac Lyriq Audi e-tron Jaguar I-Pace Rear cargo volume behind second row (cu. ft.) 28.0 28.5 25.3 Rear cargo volume behind first row (cu. ft.) 60.8 56.5 51.0 Frunk cargo volume (cu. ft.) N/A 2.12 0.95 Total front & rear cargo volume (cu. ft.)* 28.0 30.62 26.25 * With second row seats upright However, both the e-tron and the I-Pace feature frunks (2.12 cubic feet in the e-tron, 0.95 cubic feet in the I-Pace respectively), allowing the e-tron to have slightly more total cargo volume (combined frunk and rear cargo area). https://gmauthority.com/blog/2021/05/heres-why-the-2023-cadillac-lyriq-doesnt-have-a-frunk/  
    • That's probably a better worded way to put it. It's a missed opportunity.  They're all liquid cooled at this point and I can't imagine Ford and Tesla are having battery cooling issues, at least I haven't heard of any yet and I've watched a fair amount on the Mach-E and know somebody with a pair of Teslas in Nevada.  I don't believe lack of cooling has ever been a factor in an EV catching fire. It's always something shorting and sparking with poor connection(s) somewhere.  I'd also like to learn why. They have to have a good justification, I know they're not a bunch of idiots who "didn't think of it".  I just don't want the press release answer of "we needed the space for packaging". 
    • Hummer EV (and Silverado EV) are much bigger and truckular...so they have a lot more space underneath for the dirty bits.   The Lyriq isn't a high riding 4x4, so it has to use space for the electric motor(s), power brake system, HVAC, radiator, etc under the hood...
  • Social Stream

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. bobo
      bobo
      (54 years old)
    2. loki
      loki
      (39 years old)

About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We  Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×
×
  • Create New...