Mazda’s CX-5 has been available in GX, GS and GT trim and now, for 2019, there is a Signature edition which adds more power and luxury.
The extra power for the Signature edition comes from Mazda’s SkyActiv 2.5-litre four cylinder engine but redesigned to add turbo power; this adds 41 horsepower to the CX-5, but the big increase is in torque.
In the GT model, the 2.5-litre engine puts out 186 lb.-ft. of torque, but add the turbo and it jumps to 310 lb.-ft. of torque. This translates into great throttle response at any speed and quick passing on the highway.
A six-speed automatic transmission transfers the power to all four wheels. While other manufacturers are moving to eight- and even 10-speed automatics, the six-speed in the CX-5 does an excellent job, especially when connected to the turbo engine.
Higher engine torque requires less gears to provide good acceleration and the CX-5 proves this again along with the lower complexity of a six-speed automatic.
During operation, the transmission shifts smoothly both up and down to match driver demands.
Excellent handling has long been a tradition with Mazda vehicles, with a sporty, yet comfortable feel. Nineteen-inch wheels and lower profile tires give a performance look and aid in precise steering feel but some of the credit has to go to Mazda’s G-Vectoring control.
G-Vectoring is a very subtle computer control of throttle to keep the vehicle moving in a smooth line. There is no on/off switch for G-Vectoring and the only real way to feel its effect is to drive the same vehicle without this system so you can compare the drive.
What G-Vectoring does is add or decrease power for milliseconds to keep the vehicle moving smoothly around corners without having to add any steering corrections. Go into a corner and the CX-5 just goes around the corner as if on rails. The effect is even more pronounced on passengers, with less minuscule, side-to-side sway that gives a relaxing and comfortable ride. The difference really shows up on longer road trips.
Inside, the Signature edition adds more luxury, with heated and ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, 10-way power driver’s seat with memory and a six-way power passenger seat.
Nappa leather seats and Abachi wood trim on the dash and door panels give a luxurious look and feel. Dual-zone climate control keeps the interior comfortable and the heated steering wheel was appreciated on cold mornings.
On the road, the blind spot monitoring makes lane changes safer while the rear cross traffic alert provided good warning when backing out of parking spots.
The rear-view camera has a wide viewing angle that shows up on the dash-mounted seven-inch display screen and the heads-up display keeps your eyes on the road while driving.
Lane keeping assist gives a vibration warning when the vehicle strays from its lane and the radar cruise control makes driving easier in traffic. The radar system also provides pedestrian detection to brake the vehicle and help avoid a collision.
Styling wise, Mazda has played it safe on the exterior. It is distinctly Mazda and is smooth and clean but in my opinion it starts to blend with other SUVs.
The interior is another story. It is luxurious, well laid out and ergonomics are excellent.
I have not been a fan of dash display screens that seem to be tacked on to the top centre of the dash but the CX-5 screen seems better integrated than many and it is easy to view.
The materials have a look and feel of quality far above the vehicle’s price range.
The CX-5 Signature edition is priced at $42,945 including shipping charges. That’s very competitive in this SUV marketplace and the CX-5 offers a lot of features for the money.
Model: 2019 Mazda CX-5
Configuration: all-wheel drive, five-passenger SUV
Engine: 2.5-litre, turbo, four-cylinder producing 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy: City 10.8 L/100 km; Highway: 8.7 L/100 km
Special features/options: rain-sensing wipers, automatic dual-zone air conditioning, heads-up driver display, navigation system, heated front and rear seats, automatic high beam headlamp control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connection, Napa leather seating, power driver and passenger seat
MSRP: $27,915 base price GX model
Price as tested: Signature model, $42,945, including $1,895 destination charges\