GATEWAY TO ITS TURBOCHARGED SOUL: 2019 MAZDA CX-5 SIGNATURE 2.5T
The main ingredient to a disaster recipe is always thinking it could be better. Like Mother always said, “if it isn’t broken, why fix it.” When it comes to Mazda and its compact CX-5 crossover – there was absolutely nothing wrong with it – in fact, we loved this little family carrier with its refined chassis, energetic personality, beautiful physique and premium interior. So, when Mazda decided to take the turbocharger from their large three-rower CX-9 and put it in the CX-5, it isn’t really a fix, but rather subtle upgrade.
After rolling out in 2017 with its new generation skin, not much has changed going into the 2019 model year. Changes that were made include the addition of two premium trim levels, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature. With our example being the bougiest of the bunch in Signature trim starting at $36,890 – its finest contour is elevated with a brown nappa leather interior, real wood trim, and all the latest offerings in premium comfort and technology. Newly fitted for 2019 integrates ventilated front seats, 7-inch digital TFT gauge display, 360-degree all-around view monitor and a black headliner.
Like the Mazda 6 sedan that recently received the same turbo transplant, this is now the cream of the crop when it comes to the CX-5. With the new turbo-four exclusively available in the Ground Touring Reserve and Signature trims its also only available in all-wheel drive with newly engineered torque vectoring system. For as simple-minded as Mazda is, they certainly had to made things difficult when it comes to understanding how this new turbo-engine works. Essentially the 2.5-liter turbo-four is rated for 250-horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. The catch however, that performance is only produced by using premium 93 octane fuel. Anything lower and the CX-5 is rated for 227-horsepower.
When using the right fuel, the CX-5 feels properly quick. Designed for both fuel economy and performance, Mazda did some clever engineering footwork. This turbo uses low end torque to push itself along making off the line speed and passing as simple as planting our foot to the floor. But because it runs out of breath at the high end of the rev-counter, the six-speed automatic tends to shift early. Thus, the outcome equivalates to a compromise of both worlds with just over six-seconds to 60-mph and an average fuel economy of 25-mpg combined.
This boosted performance heightens the all-around pleasures we adore on the CX-5. With its superb chassis configuration and pleasantly responsive steering, there is so much joy to be had sitting behind the wheel. The turbo-four hoists driving confidence on the twisty ends of the back road and by simply engaging the drive mode into sport, it enhances its personality to a sports car-like alter ego with crispy responses from the transmission; tighten steering composure and serene suspension balance of sport and comfort.
Inside, the premium levels are staggering close to those that hold a premium badge. With soft touch materials, amplify finishes and up-to-date comfort conveniences – the near $40,000 price tag on our tester showcases its value through every surface. If we were to be nit-picky, and really this is pulling the fine end of the string here, the infotainment system and the technology behind is starting to run old school for its price point, the screen is too small but the up side is that it features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Turns out, this wasn’t really a fix per-say but more like a rejuvenation. The CX-5 maintains the joy that we always found behind the soulful Mazda badge, now its just a lot more enjoyable. It’s the new gateway to the soul; all we have to do is push start.
Model: 2019 MAZDA CX-5 2.5-TURBO AWD
Starting Price: $34,870
As Tested: $39,325
Engine: 2.5-LITER TURBOCHARGED FOUR-CYLINDER
Horsepower/Torque: 250-HORSEPOWER / 310 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 6-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Drivetrain: I-ACTIV ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 22-CITY / 27-HWY / 22-COMBINED
(AS TESTED: 24.6 MPG COMBINED)
Fuel Range: 300 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±6.0 SECONDS