This is Mazda’s best-selling vehicle in the United States, and it has also been a longtime favorite here, because the cx-5 is simply gorgeous to look at. It also is fun to drive, but the cx-5 has had a few problems in the past. It’s not as accommodating on the inside as some of the larger compact crossovers and it hasn’t had as much power under the hood as some of them either. But at least one of those things has been changed for 2019 because we now get a new turbocharged engine under the hood and for folks that were waiting for apple carplay and android auto.
We finally have that on the inside as well to top things off, Mazda then decided to give the cx-5 a bit of a suspension tweak. But it’s at this point that I should say we haven’t really been able to test the dynamics of the cx-5 because obviously it is snowing and we have received about two feet of snow over the last 24 hours. And that has meant that we have not been able to 0-60 test this. We haven’t been able to handling test it either. 20, 19 doesn’t change much in terms of the overall looks the cx-5, so we have basically the same front end that was going on in 2018, LED headlamps up here, LED fog, lamps below, and this very attractive.
Grille is kind of a little split right here. So you can actually stick your hand between this painted section and this chrome bar right there. It definitely looks like a mini Mazda cx-9, it’s a very attractive. Look behind that large Mazda logo is a radar sensor, because this vehicle does have radar adaptive cruise control autonomous, braking all those other active safety features as well.
One of the areas where the cx-5 falls behind the competition is overall interior room, especially cargo room behind the second row. Now that does not change for 2019. Part of that is because, at 179 point one inches long. This is on the small side of the segment, but the rest of that has to do with the overall design and overall priorities of the cx-5 you’ll notice that the cx-5 has a longer hood up front.
Part of that is due to the drivetrain design and of hood, and part of it is just because it gives you this gorgeous looking side profile. The reality to that is that we get a little bit less overall interior room and then Mazda decided to prioritize rear seat, accommodations for the interior, giving us a smaller cargo area in the back, but rear seat, legroom and front seat legroom. That is actually quite competitive. In this segment out back, we find more LEDs in the tail lamp modules dual exhausts at the bottom, and I have to say that the overall design of the rear end actually reminds me a little bit of modern infinities, which is not a bad thing to be Reminded of when we’re talking about a mainstream crossover under the hood, we find the same 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine in the base models that we saw last year.
It produces 187 horsepower in 186 pound-feet of torque. It’s made it to a six-speed automatic transmission, which is a few gears behind a lot of the competition. Now that will give us 28 miles per gallon. If you choose front-wheel drive 26, if you choose all-wheel drive, but we’re here to talk about the turbo.
The turbo engine is based off of that 2.5 liter engine, but there are obviously some significant revisions in order to bump power up to 250 horsepower and torque. All the way up to 310 now this engine is designed to run on regular unleaded or premium unleaded. It’s your choice. If you feed it regular, it will produce 227 horsepower.
If you feed it Premium, it will produce 250 front seat. Comfort in the cx-5 is fairly good, but these seats are not quite as adjustable as we find in. Some of the competition. 20-19 has not brought us, for instance, four-way, adjustable, lumbar support and even in this top-end trim, which is theoretically trying to compete with luxury or near luxuriant trees. We don’t have things like an extending thigh cushion.
We do, however, have a tilt telescopic steering column with a large range of motion, and we now have heated and ventilated front seats. Now it’s worth noting that the front passenger seat does not have the same range of motion as the driver’s seat, even though the cx-5 is a little on the small side for this segment. As I said before, they’ve really prioritized rear seat room and that’s why we find overall combined legroom figures that are very similar to the larger Nissan Rogue and only one that’s shorter than the Honda CRV. This is actually a very comfortable back seat and overall Headroom is very good for this segment.
I still have about two inches left or so sitting very upright in this seat. There’s definitely enough room if I wanted to scoot all the way over to the right side, where this front seat was all the way back in its tracks now keeping in mind. This is a compact crossover. If this seat is leaning back like it is here, then you are gon na have to straddle it a little bit as you’d expect out of a crossover, the rear seats fold down, but unexpected for this segment.
We actually have a 40/20/40 folding rear seat back. This is another feature that I really love about the cx-5. This makes it a lot easier to put large items like skis or snowboards or surfboards, that sort of thing in here without putting them on the roof and still have four people in the car. That’s a lot more difficult if you simply had a 60/40 folding rear seat back.
The center section is not completely independent of this outboard seat behind the driver’s side. So keep that in mind, if you fold that it will fold the center section as well? If I fold down the center armrest, this is where we find cupholders and the buttons to turn on and off the heated rear seats, as I’ve said before, there’s no free lunch when it comes to designing a car so because the cx-5 is a little bit shorter. Overall than some of those alternatives, and because we have about the same kind of rear legroom, that room has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is the cargo area, so we find just under 30 cubic feet of storage area back.
Here, that’s up to 9 cubic feet less than many of its direct competitors. However, it is relatively square and the overall 24 inch roller bag score is only about one to two bags behind the competition, but it is important that if you want that extra room you’re not going to find it in the cx-5 as we look around this interior, Keep in mind that you can only get the 2.5 liter turbo in the top two trims of the cx-5, and this is the very top signature trim that we’re in right. Now we have a pretty standard sized moonroof right there over the driver and front-passenger heads height, adjustable shoulder belts for the driver and front passenger and two-way adjustable headrests, it’s a little bit difficult to tell on camera, but the leather in this vehicle is a dark brown. Leather very similar to what we see in the Mazda 6 signature, the center sections of the seat back and bottom cushions are perforated, because these seats are both heated and ventilated in this trim, bearing in mind that we are in a mainstream vehicle, we still find a Combination of hard and soft touch plastics on the front doors, but rather, unlike most mainstream vehicles, we actually have real wood trim on the doors and the dashboard.
This is something that Mazda has done with their top-end trims to great effect. Lately we see basically the same sort of thing in the new Mazda 6 as well. The basics of this interior have not changed since 2018, so we find basically the same shapes going on the dashboard. Although again, we find those improved materials like that real wood trim going on right there.
Perhaps the biggest change in this interior is the fact that we now get apple, carplay and android auto in this touchscreen infotainment system. That’s mounted right up here on the dashboard. All this isn’t the software that we recently saw showcased in the new mazda3. This is the latest version of the Mazda connect infotainment software, which again supports that smartphone integration.
This vehicle features a touchscreen as well as a controller. So as long as you’re parked, you can touch the screen now. Personally, I think it’s a little bit of a pity that we can’t touch the screen all the time, but Mazda says that this is for overall vehicle safety. As with the previous model, your vehicle, this vehicle, also features available factory navigation, although this particular model does not have its card inserted.
So I can’t really show you that right now, the overall feeling of this interior is definitely restrained and elegant. I, like the overall simplicity of this layout at the bottom of the dashboard. We have a control for the heated steering wheel, the dual zone, automatic climate control, with controls for these new ventilated seats right down there at the bottom heated seats up there at the top, because we’re driving a Canadian spec vehicle at the moment for this review. You’ll notice that these temperatures are in metric beneath the climate controls, we have a storage area right there, where we have a 12-volt power port and definitely enough room to store those larger smartphones.
We then have a pretty traditional console. Shifter here drive us all the way back manual mode is over to the left. We don’t have any paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel, and then we have a drive mode button right over here to the left of the shifter behind the shifter. We find the controls for that multimedia infotainment system.
We have a knob that toggles side-to-side clicks down and then rotates around. We then have some direct access buttons at top a back button, a favorite button, and this is the volume and mute knob very similar to it. We see in some outtie products an electric parking brake right over here and auto brake hold behind. All of that we have two large cupholders and then a large padded center console.
If I lift this up, here reveals the two USB inputs, SD card slot and auxilary input for that multimedia system and sort of a moderately sized storage cubbies, it’s not as large as some in the top and trim the instrument. Cluster borrows the LCD Center section from the mazda6, which gives us our digital speedometer right there, as well as trip computer information. This is not quite as configurable as some of the competition’s LCD instrument clusters, but definitely has a nice look to it that we don’t see in the lower end trims. The top-end trims also borrow the heads-up display out of the Mazda cx-9 and, if i zoom all the way out here, you’ll notice that this is a different design than we saw in some of Mazdas other products which had a little sheet of plastic.
That popped up from the dash – or this is now actually projected on the windshield like a luxury car, so the heads-up display LCD is actually down there in that hole and it’s projecting the image right here on the windshield glass. The steering wheel remains the same as the 2018 model year vehicle. So it’s still a round design. Sport grips up top no paddle shifters.
On the back on the left, we find the infotainment controls, volume, up/down, voice, command, track forward backwards, some phone buttons. This info button changes the screen right there on that multifunction LCD instrument cluster, then, on the right side, we have the controls for the radar adaptive cruise control system. Unfortunately, I don’t have much for you in the way of preliminary scores today, because we’ve been driving this vehicle out in the snow all day long. It has been snowing pretty hard and even though these roads have been plowed, the snows really been piling up quickly and obviously it’s not safe to zero-to-sixty test this vehicle.
The other problem, really, of course, with this launch location, is that we’re up here in Canada and logically we’re driving this vehicle on winter tires a because that’s the smart thing to do and be because it’s required in Canada during this time of the year. So these are not the kind of tires that you would actually get on your cx-5 if you were to buy it at home in America. The result is that we don’t know exactly how well this is going to handle exactly how well it’s going to perform either. But I do have some suspicions and I suspect that our 0 to 60 time is going to be right around 6.4 to 6.5 seconds.
Very very similar to the Mazda 6: that’s because we get the same engine under the hood. The two vehicles are close in terms of overall curb weight. This is actually a little bit heavier than that Mazda 6, but we have all-wheel-drive available and if you choose all-wheel drive you’re gon na be able to apply all that power more easily than in the Mazda 6 there’s so much low-end torque out of this 2.5 liter Turbo that any front-wheel drive vehicle with this engine in it is gon na spend a lot of time spinning its front tires. But if you get all-wheel drive like the model that we’re driving right here, then it solves that problem and you can actually apply all of that torque all of that power and get zero to 60 faster now, obviously, that fast, zero to 60 time is going to Be when this vehicle is running on premium unleaded, it’s probably going to be a little bit slower on regular unleaded Mazda tells us that the power difference is primarily at the top of the engines.
Rpm band, so peak power drops from 250 to 227, but that is still likely going to have an impact on overall 0 to 60 time. Well, it was a little bit disappointed in the overall performance of the mazda6, the last time that we had it, because it is a little bit slower than the Camry v6 or the Accord 2.0 T. The cx-5 is a horse of a different color, because the competitive set is very different here. The Toyota Rav4 doesn’t have nearly this kind of power.
This also has significantly more power than we find in the Honda CRV in this particular segment. We have entries like the Tucson, with its 1.6 liter turbo that’ll, get you 0 to 60 in 7.2 versus 7.34, the CRV turbo. This is likely going to be about a second faster than those entries. It’s also probably going to be a little bit faster than a Kia Sportage turbo, which is really the only direct competition to the cx-5, and the cx-5 in this format has a much better overall steering feel than what we find in the Sportage.
The Sportage grips well, but the overall steering feel and overall driving experience isn’t quite as good as the cx-5 now part of the way the cx-5 gets to this excellent driving experience is obvious and it’s this very firm suspension. I’ve noticed that the last time we took the cx-5 off-roading that the suspension is quite firm and it’s really noticeable if you’re out here on this particular road, it is actually a smooth road. I’ve driven on this exact same road in the summer. Many many times up here in Whistler, but when it’s covered with snow, it’s lumpy it’s bumpy and you feel all of that in the cabin.
Something like a Honda. Crv is definitely going to be softer, but it’s not gon na handle, as well as the cx-5. As a result, we don’t know too much about cabin noise yet because I’m not driving this at home and we’re not driving it on the OEM tires the tires that actually come with the car when you buy it. That’s because we’re up here in the snow – and it has winter tires on it.
Instead, Mazda has not specifically said that they’ve done anything to try and improve overall cabin quietness. So I suspect this is gon na, be basically the same as the last cx-5 we tested. So I’m just gon na go ahead and pop that number up there at the top of your screen for reference when it comes to overall fuel economy. Again, we can’t comment too much about that because of the nature of the driving up here in Canada.
I expect this is probably going to be right around that 24 to 25 mile per gallon range, depending on exactly how you’re driving the vehicle. That’s basically what the EPA says we should get in the cx-5 that is going to be notably below something like the Honda CRV with its 1.5 liter turbo, but remember that vehicle has a continuously variable transmission. So it’s not going to feel quite like this, and it has significantly less power than this as well. After driving the cx-5 for a day, I have to say that it reminds me a great deal of the Acura RDX.
Now, logically, the RDX handles a little bit better. It’s a little bit faster 0 to 60 and the ride is perhaps a little bit more polished, especially if you get the model with the adaptive suspension. But the cx-5 does very very well for itself and keep in mind. This is significantly less expensive than that Acura for 2019.
The cx-5 has gotten a little bit more expensive. The base model starts at twenty-five thousand three hundred forty-five, although that’s still a pretty good deal when you look at the standard equipment in this particular segment, if you want to get the 2.5 litre turbocharged engine and I’m sure you do, then you have to step all The way up to the Grand Touring reserve trim for thirty five thousand eight hundred sixty five or the signature trim, which is what we’ve been driving here for just under thirty eight thousand dollars. Although thirty eight thousand dollars sounds like an awful lot to pay for a cx-5, it’s worth, noting that this is now one of the most powerful vehicles in this particular segment and one of the fastest again. I expect this to go zero to sixty around six point.
Four seconds my bottom line with this crossover is pretty easy. The cx-5 was already a great-looking crossover, it was already fun to drive and it was already fairly practical on the inside. Although again, you do have to give up a little bit of overall a terior practicality in order to get the driving dynamics that we see in this vehicle. But the big problem last time was that it just wasn’t as fast.
The overall speed didn’t match the driving dynamics, and that is definitely different for 2019, because this now has the speed to go with the driving dynamics. Now it still may not necessarily be the best handling entry in this segment, but that’s very easy to solve aftermarket. If you put summer tires on this Mazda cx-5, it would honestly handle just about as well as a BMW, x1 or x2. That’s saying a lot for a vehicle that costs thousands and thousands of dollars less than a luxury or near luxury vehicle.