Mazda finally put some performance in the popular CX-5 by swapping the CX-9’s turbocharged engine under the hoods of the GT trim as well as the brand new Signature trim.
The 2.5-litre turbocharged four-banger puts out 250 horsepower compared to the 187 horsepower managed by the naturally aspired 2.5-litre in the lower trims.
Well, according to the precise instructions from Mazda, if you put 93 octane gasoline in the tank, you’ll get all 250 horses. But if you only have 87 octane juice at hand, the power will be restricted to 227 hp.
No matter what pump you stop at, though, you’ll get a whopping 310 lb-ft of torque early on in the pedal.
Mazda has also tweaked the chassis a little bit, giving its i-ACTIV AWD system a few new gizmos and sensors, as well as multiple suspension iterations. The new Signature variant sits on top of the pyramid, and besides the new engine, it comes with higher-end interior features, as well as power folding mirrors and new wheel design. Finally, the CX-5 is now outfitted with the long-awaited integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto suites.
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature sure looks good on paper, but is it a good buy? Here’s our take on it.
Why you should buy a Mazda CX-5 Signature
1) First off, the introduction of the CX-9’s 2.5-litre turbocharged powerplant is a real plus, bringing good amounts of power (and especially torque) in the CX-5. It was one of the missing elements needed to make this SUV as “sporty” as Mazda claimed it was.
2) The torque figure (310 lb-ft) rivals some to high-end luxury compact SUV’s, and the gearbox does a great job at handling it. Unlike some other manufacturers that opted for a continuously variable transmission in their compact SUV, Mazda bolted a good ‘ol five-speed automatic which seamlessly manages power, without sounding like a “dying goat” when accelerating on the road.
3) It masters the fun-to-drive factor. Although our test drive took place in about three feet of fluffy British-Columbian snow, we were able to throw around the CX-5 thanks competent i-ACTIV AWD system, permissive DSC and TCS systems that prioritize driving dynamics, and features like G-Vectoring control, that brakes the engine upon turn-in to put weight on the front tires to help with front traction. The 2019 model now gets GVC+, an add-on that drags the outside front brake to improve response when coming out of the same corner.
4) Finally, Mazda put quite a bit of effort into the CX-5 Signature’s cabin. It features real wood accents, along with elegant stitching on the steering wheel and a color scheme that makes the interior feel more upscale than the other CX-5 variants, as well as rival compact SUVs.
Why you should not buy a 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature
1) Because the 2019 CX-5 hasn’t changed dimension-wise this year, and the Signature trim obviously bears the same dimensions as the other trims, it still feels a little tight back there for the passengers, as well as for cargo space. Visibility towards the rear is also limited for the driver.
2) The Signature trim is hardly recognizable from the others. Considering the price tag that comes with this upper trim, there is hardly any way you can differentiate a CX-5 Signature from other trims, except for the wheels. If you’re paying luxury compact SUV money for a mainstream SUV, you might want to be able to be a little bit different than the “normal” CX-5.
3) Last but not least: the price. The Mazda CX-5 Signature trim will ring the bell at 40,959$ (starting price). This is in luxury compact SUV territory and even with all the qualities that the CX-5 Signature bears, it is still a mainstream vehicle with limited “prestige” factor.
Le Mazda CX-5 Signature 2019 is a good buy thanks to its powerful new engine, its advanced driving dynamics and its upscale(er) interior.
Is it worth opting for a Signature variant compared to the other CX-5 variants in the catalog? Yes! But considering its starting price, one might want to look at comparable products on the Audi or BMW sides if one finds that the “prestige” factor with the CX-5 Signature is lacking.