SportsCar magazine test drive: Mazda CX-5 Signature

SportsCar magazine test drive: Mazda CX-5 Signature

SCCA / SportsCar Magazine

SportsCar magazine test drive: Mazda CX-5 Signature


Even prior to sitting in the latest model, we were already sold on the qualities of the Mazda CX-5. You see, we’d recently come to the end of the lease on a 2016 Grand Touring with the 2.5L naturally-aspirated motor in our personal fleet, and we’d replaced it with a 2019 version of the same trim. To say the least, the CX-5 is an outstanding daily driver. So when offered the opportunity to sample the turbocharged Signature edition of the CX-5, we couldn’t say no.

The CX-5 continues to be the brand’s top selling nameplate, with further refinements elevating the model and providing for a premium experience at a reasonable price point.

Images courtesy Mazda

While the standard four-cylinder Skyactiv-G 2.5L engine, delivering 187hp and 186lb-ft of torque, is enough to motivate the CX-5, being able to sample this chassis outfitted with the Skyactiv-G 2.5T engine, paired with the i-Activ all-wheel-drive system, sounded like fun. With an impressive 250hp and a robust 320lb-ft of torque (when sipping premium fuel – 87 octane drops output to 227hp), the forced induction CX-5 variant really comes to life.

The torque delivery is nearly instantaneous, with a tune that emphasizes low-end grunt in order to get you up to highway speeds quickly. But after only a short time behind the wheel with the Skyactiv-G 2.5T, we were left scratching our heads as to why anyone would ever want a diesel version of the CX-5 – if you want power, this is your huckleberry. In fact, We can’t think of any situation where the diesel would be the better option. While it does get slightly better fuel economy around town, the higher cost of diesel fuel, and higher sticker price, means you might never see the return. Furthermore, the diesel version doesn’t match the 2.5T on horsepower or torque.

With 320lb-ft of torque on tap, we only wish Mazda would have seen fit to up the tow rating of the CX-5, which sits at a modest 2,000lbs. In other parts of the world, both the petrol and diesel CX-5 is rated to tow roughly double our American version.

With an as-tested price of $39,455, our Signature CX-5 was well equipped, with items like Apple CarPlay, Bose premium audio, heated steering wheel, and ventilated power seats trimmed in Caturra Brown Nappa leather. The exterior has seen little change since the 2017 facelift, while restyled 19-inch alloy wheels and power folding mirrors joined the lineup in 2019.

With an EPA rating of 22 city, and 27 highway, the Signature proves reasonably economical and provides the comfortable and quiet ride we are accustomed to with the CX-5, albeit with a lot more oomph when you press the go pedal.

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