2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD: Still some Zoom-Zoom left

The predecessor to the Mazda CX-7 and Tribute, the 2019 redesigned CX-5 is a much-improved edition to the Mazda lineup. Very comfortable, smooth ride, quiet engine and comfortable seating make this a big contender in this market: A very full lineup, to be sure.

Our 2019 CX-5 was the Signature model, topping out at close to $40,000. A bit steep, but the CX-5 can be had for less and in a handful of model trims. Available are the Sport ($24,350), Touring ($26,615) and Grand Touring ($30,245. Front-wheel-drive is the norm, All-wheel-drive available as an option.

Although our Signature model didn’t want for any extras, it did come equipped with a few options, including cargo mat ($70), all-weather floor mats ($125), illuminated doorsill trim plates ($400)-an expensive but nice touch, Soul Red Crystal Paint ($595)-the color of the year, it would seem, rear bumper guard ($125) and retractable cargo cover ($250.  When opting for the Signature trim level, one now expects to get many bells and whistles.

As expected in this price range, one can expect such goodies as the heated power mirrors with turn lamps, auto-fold door mirror (a must with the size of today’s vehicle mirrors), rain-sensing windshield wipers, keyless entry, push-button start, radar cruise, 8-way power driver’s seat,

A Good Housekeeping Awards winner for two years in a row, the Mazda CX-5 gets koodoos for being a “crossover that looks and feels like a luxury vehicle,” but at a much nicer price. Handling and driving experience get an “A” and GH drivers praises the interior for design, with “luxe details.”

Getting more than you pay for seems an important category these days, and why wouldn’t it be? As the average price for a vehicle today hovers around $36,000. Although at times difficult to come up with, paying $36,000 for a vehicle you keep upwards of 5-10 years these days doesn’t seem like such a bad investment.

Although the Zoom-Zoom tag has been retired from Mazda, you can rest assured they still offer great handling, decent power and sports handling in their vehicles.  An attractive exterior goes along with the Mazda CX-5’s luxury interior and goodies like all-wheel-drive.  As always, our test vehicles are the top-of-the-line editions; ours, the Signature with AWD.

Those looking for a compact SUV that doesn’t feel small, the CX-5 fits the bill. By comparison, the Honda CR-V will feel like a smaller vehicle, so too the Rogue. The Toyota RAV4, though, will be a close competitor. Hard choice today.

Changes to the 2019 CX-5 are noticeable, beginning with the new large grille; a favorite item for change these days. The CX-5’s is distinctive, somewhat indented and comes together at the corners with the hood, featuring sporty slim headlights. This lends a more aggressive look to the Mazda and sets it apart.

Drivers might be surprised how quiet the 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder turbo engine is; it’s barely noticeable at stops and picks up nicely. Fuel economy hovers around 24-25 mpg., and doesn’t seem to be affected by the turbo, even when ramping it up. Not a SUV driver or necessarily a fan, this writer appreciated the CX-5’s feel, as well as the efforts manufacturer’s are making to get this type of vehicle more driver-friendly and FUN.

Drivers won’t be disappointed with the CX-5’s new turbocharged 2.5-liter SkyActiv GI4 engine. Better than some turbos, one doesn’t feel that annoying lag, and can expect a burst of power, and not at the expense of your wallet.

Mazda’s use of G-Vectoring Control Plus uses intermittent light braking on each wheel as you take the corners. The torque vectoring system offers excellent handling that feels sporty, and not so like a SUV.

Frissell’s Fido Friendly Ride

The pups rode with me a few times and both when the rear seats were up and when down. Either way, there’s plenty of room for them and they preferred the windows cracked a tad. The rear seats fold down flat so accommodating dogs or otherwise is a snap. By measure, the Honda CR-V has a bit more cargo room, but for most, the CX-5 space is sufficient.

The Mazda CX-5 interior with leather seats-perforated-offers comfortable seating for all size of drivers. Seats are well-formed and rear seating can hold up to three passengers in comfort. Rear seats in our Signature model were also heated-nice plus. Chrome trim around the dash, with wood insets. Those opting for this trim level will also enjoy a sunroof.

The steering wheels is manual tilt/telescope, and of course, has multiple controls to operate just about anything from the steering wheel. All is intuitive and easy to work.

Of course, one can opt for a more affordable CX-5 in the Sport trim level. But when moving into the top-of-the-line Signature, you get all you need, including heated/cooled front seats, sunroof, top notch safety equipment, 360-degree camera, etc. AWD is standard on this model.

SPECS

MSRP: $36,890; total vehicle price $39,450; options:    delivery $995

Engine: SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter, 1.4 intercooled turbo, 227 hp., 31- lb-ft. torque

Transmission: 6-speed SKYACTIV-Drive Auto; manual shift mode, sport mode

Wheelbase: 106.2 in.

Height: 65.3 in.

Width: 62.8 in.

Length: 179.1 in.

Curb Weight: 3,825 lbs.

Tires: P225-55R19 all-season

Wheels: 19-inch alloy

EPA MPG: 22/27

Competition: Honda CRV, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Toyota RAV4, etc.

Size: 5-passenger

 Warranty: 60 month/60,000-miles powertrain lass:

Class: Compact Crossover SUV

Where assembled: Hiroshima, Japan

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