2019 Mazda CX-5 Review: Boost-worthy

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The 2019 Mazda CX-5 gains more power thanks to some delicious boost which suits its personality perfectly. An already great SUV now has more to offer.

Sports cars are no longer what they once were. For the last few years, sports SUVs (sports-sports? We need a new name for these vehicles…) have become the norm as they continue to increase in numbers. The new 2019 Mazda CX-5 with Turbo is the latest to join the trend and we’re certainly not complaining.

The arrival of a turbocharged Mazda CX-5 was imminent the moment CX-9 specifications became known some years ago. What’s most befuddling about these boosted affordable compact crossover is that they will almost always represent a most microscopic portion of sales for any given vehicle. And yet, they represent a disproportionate number of stories you will read on these SUVs.


Boost is making the rounds

2019 Mazda CX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Even so, I’d been looking forward to driving the boosted Mazda CX-5 from the moment it was announced as like most auto critics and consumers alike, everyone enjoys the CX-5. In fact, not only will you be hard-pressed to read a thoroughly negative review on the Mazda SUV but you guys have made the 6th best-selling SUV in Canada in 2018, ahead of the immensely popular Jeep Wrangler and once-beloved Chevy Equinox.

What explains our love for the Mazda CX-5? It’s simple: It is not only one of the most attractive and classy looking utes of the bunch but it also happens to be an excellent driver.

If we get right down to it, up until the arrival of the new 2019 Toyota RAV4, it was the most dynamic and engaging to drive in the entire category. If the new RAV4 brings with it a newfound level of refinement, the CX-5 falls only a half-notch below it for smoothness of operation however, if clipping apexes on access ramps is a hobby of yours, as it is for me, the CX-5 still takes it.


An SUV for drivers

2019 Mazda CX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

This winning recipe begins with the fact that Mazda still insists on building driver-focused vehicle – bless your souls! And because of this brilliant philosophy, they did not absent-mindedly drop in the turbocharged 2.5-litre 4-cylinder in the engine bay and called it a day. Hell’s no! they retuned the suspension slightly, did some work on the always impressive i-Activ AWD system and topped it all off with Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus brake-biased torque vectoring system. In other words, the chassis was and is well and ready to deal with the additional power.

I was also excited for the new turbo CX-5 because early last winter I reviewed the new Jeep Cherokee turbo which I thought was a complete fast blast. Although the Jeep’s 2.0T produced more punchy horsepower, I was convinced that the Mazda’s 2.5T was going to shred pavement. And it does but doesn’t at the same time.

Contrary to the Jeep’s onslaught of torque, Mazda’s tuned its 2.5T to be civil – all 310 lb.-ft. of torque come online in such a linear fashion that unless you crush the throttle, the power, including its 227-horsepower, almost seems disappointing. And given that the vast majority of buyers and drivers will be equally civil behind the wheel, the decision is the right one. I myself was a little underwhelmed when I shot my video ever after a few days of driving…

But then, I decided to drive as though I’d stolen the Mazda and discovered the beast that lies within. I’d selected “sport” mode on a number of occasions and although I had noticed a difference, I’d return to “normal” almost immediately. With the right (or is that wrong?) and sport mode engaged, the 2019 Mazda CX-5 turns into quite the land rocket.


Comfortable and spacious, as always

2019 Mazda CX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

When not fearing radar traps, the CX-5 remains a lovely place to spend many an hour covering ground. This is especially true in my tested $40,950 Signature CX-5 with standard cocoa Nappa leather seats and trim with Abachi wood-trimmed interior. While the Nappa leather is sweet and all, I’d save $1,500 by opting for a GT with the 2.5T.

The seats are comfortable, sufficiently supportive for both front and rear passengers. If I was to raise one issue, I’d say the front center armrest is set too far back to be useful. The boot is large and useable, perfect for family duties.


The ideal CX-5

2019 Mazda CX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The other big piece of news with the 2019 Mazda CX-5 is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard from the base $27,850 FWD GX trim. And although I do love boost, the most sensible CX-5 is the GS with AWD and the Comfort Package for $32,750.

As SUVs continue to grow in popularity, the Mazda CX-5 will remain a hot item in the segment. And thanks to the boosted engine option, intrigue will be equally boosted.


2019 Mazda CX-5 Picture Gallery

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