Road Test: 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature

Whether commuting or taking a road trip, Mazda says it’s aiming to enrich people’s lives through their vehicles and celebrate driving. The Mazda CX-5 is an excellent embodiment of that philosophy.

We’ve had the opportunity to sample the CX-5 several times since it was introduced in 2012, and with each model year, Mazda has continued to implement tweaks and features to keep it at the forefront.

New for 2019 is a luxurious Signature trim, which includes a turbocharged SKYACTIV-2.5T engine and an enhanced focus on the chassis, including the latest technologies with G-Vectoring Control Plus.

The engine is a technological tour de force that produces 310 lb-ft of torque from just 2,000 RPM and 250 horsepower on 93-octane fuel (227 horsepower with 87-octane gasoline). Paired to a 6-speed automatic, power is linear, fast, and sounds delightful.

To complement the powerful engine, new G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) is standard across all trim levels of the 2019 CX-5. The original G-Vectoring Control is a Mazda-exclusive technology that makes steering response more precise and consistent by using small changes in engine output to shift weight to the front tires whenever the driver turns the wheel. In this updated version, GVC Plus also improves steering response as the driver straightens the wheel, by adding a hit of braking to the outside front wheel.

The more precise response of GVC Plus helps from accidentally over-driving the car in high-speed and emergency maneuvers, resulting in better stability and more confidence.

Dimensionally, the CX-5 remains the same as before, but the refined cabin and suspension feel far more solid, comfortable, and developed when going down the road. The suspension was re-tuned to reduce friction, allowing the wheels to easily glide over bumps while maintaining confident control of body motions. Steering geometry was also improved to help the CX-5 carve through corners more naturally.

Inside, the CX-5 Signature cabin and seats are wrapped in Caturra Brown Nappa leather, genuine layered wood trim and satin chrome accents to tie the whole look together.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel features unique stitching, while ambient interior LED lighting, a black headliner and a frameless rearview mirror all play their part in creating a refined interior atmosphere.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and featured on the 7-inch touchscreen. The driver has the option of using the screen, Commander knob and shortcut buttons, or voice commands. Mazda gets kudos for the offering everything and leaving it up the the people inside to make the right choices.

The heated steering wheel and cooled seats are simply a delight and expected in a modern SUV. Mazda’s intuitive AWD system keeps the CX-5 in motion and under control no matter what’s going on outside and in spirited driving.

Safety-wise, the 360-degree parking monitor and parking sensors in the front/rear are fantastic. The latest suite of safety tech like automatic collision braking, lane departure assist, radar cruise control, and automatic high beams all worked in unison. The Active Driving Display projects speed and key info on the windshield, a step up from the folding display that utilized a folding display in previous years.

Summary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling9
Powertrain and Fuel Economy9
Interior Fit and Finish10
Gauges and Controls9
Total Score93

Make: Mazda
Model: CX-5
Trim Level: Luxury
Engine: 2.5L Turbo 4-Cylinder
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Options: Mats, Illuminated Doorsills, Machine Gray Paint

Base Price: $36,890
As-Tested Price: $39,155

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