Editors’ pick

2019 Mazda CX-5 Turbo First Test: It’s All About You

As with CX-5s powered by the standard 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine, the turbocharged CX-5 uses a six-speed automatic that’s responsive but not as smooth as the CVT of a CR-V 1.5, whose 7.6-second 0-60 time just about splits the difference between the two CX-5s.

Where the CX-5 trails its less powerful and slower competitors is fuel economy. That shouldn’t be surprising: Mazda added power to a package that already fell behind the class leaders. To be fair, the CX-5 2.5T AWD’s 22/27 mpg city/highway is competitive with the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0T AWD’s 22/28 mpg (0-60 in 6.6 seconds) and the Jeep Cherokee Latitude AWD’s 21/29 mpg (0-60 in 6.6 seconds).

Despite the CR-V’s slower acceleration, we’d still recommend comparing the CX-5 2.5T against the Honda, which is EPA-rated at 27/33 mpg with all-wheel drive and a 1.5-liter engine. Thing is, the CX-5 2.5T’s extra power and torque will tempt you every time you get behind the wheel, meaning you may not achieve the EPA’s 22/27 mpg estimate in the real world. Even if you did, however, that’s less driving range and lower fuel economy than the CX-5 2.5 AWD’s 24/30 mpg. Depending on how you feel about your role amid increasingly serious news about climate change, owning the gorgeous and entertaining CX-5 2.5T also comes standard with the guilt you may carry from driving a compact crossover with the fuel economy of a larger vehicle. Put another way, the quicker CX-5 2.5T merely manages EPA-rated fuel economy on the highway what the CR-V 1.5 AWD achieves in the city (the more challenging rating for non-hybrids).

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The Signature trim’s Nappa leather seats feel great, but it’s easy to initially mistake their dark brown color for black. As we noted in our CX-5 verdict, the crossover’s seats could be more comfortable.

So maybe you stick with a non-turbo CX-5. As with every crossover in this class, that Mazda must still compete against the CR-V that’s also fun to drive but far more practical inside. The Mazda’s rear seat is adequate to the Honda‘s stretch-your-legs accommodations, and the cargo area is also much bigger in the Honda. Between trips to big box stores, the Honda still excels with its supremely flexible center console area between the two front seats. Adjusting the A/C is also far easier in the Honda, thanks to the Mazda’s style-over-substance layout that places HVAC controls awkwardly at the very bottom of the center stack. The upside? The CX-5 Signature’s dash looks clean and upscale, thanks to real wood trim and leather-like material just below the undersized 7.0-inch infotainment display. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the CX-5 Touring and above is huge, but we’re already looking forward to the CX-5’s adoption of the new 2019 Mazda3’s 8.8-inch display, which is helpfully canted toward the driver.

Aside from a few dealer-installed accessories such as a cargo mat and illuminated doorsill plates, our CX-5 Signature also justified its $39,030 as-tested price with a surround-view camera system that proved useful despite the center screen’s small size. Even if you save $2,020 by choosing the 2.5T’s GT Reserve trim, the CX-5 still comes with a few upscale features, including ventilated front seats and power-folding mirrors. If you can live without best-in-class interior space and if acceleration is more important than driving a crossover that can hit 30 mpg, enjoy the CX-5 2.5T. Feel secure with its stellar safety scores, take pride in its stylish curves, and smile every time you can take advantage of its swift acceleration.

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2019 Mazda CX-5 AWD (Signature)2019 Mazda CX-5 AWD (Grand Touring)
BASE PRICE $37,885$32,440
PRICE AS TESTED $39,030$32,760
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUVFront-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.5L/227-hp*/310-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-42.5L/187-hp/186-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic6-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,791 lb (59/41%)3,694 lb (57/43%)
WHEELBASE 106.2 in106.2 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 179.1 x 72.5 x 65.3 in179.1 x 72.5 x 65.3 in
0-60 MPH 6.4 sec*8.3 sec
QUARTER MILE 14.9 sec @ 93.6 mph*16.4 sec @ 83.7 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 125 ft123 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.79 g (avg)0.79 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.7 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)27.8 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 23.3/32.2/26.6 mpgn/a
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 22/27/24 mpg24/30/26 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 153/125 kW-hr/100 miles140/112 kW-hr/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.81 lb/mile0.74 lb/mile
*SAE Certified

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