The Mazda CX-5 has been one of our favorite compact crossovers for years thanks to its sporty driving experience and more upscale styling. When second-generation debuted, Mazda amped up the styling even more giving the CX-5 a more stylish exterior to set it apart from its rivals, like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
When we first got behind the wheel of the second-generation CX-5 we loved its nimble handling, but there was just one thing that would have made it better – more power. Enter the 2019 Mazda CX-5, which is now available with the same 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder as the larger CX-9 and the Mazda6 sedan. With 92 octane fuel, the new engine generates 250 horsepower or if you put in the cheaper 87 grade you’ll get 227 hp. No matter which fuel type you put in, there’s 310 lb-ft. of torque available. To compare the naturally-aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder generates only 187 hp and 186 lb-ft.
The turbocharged engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and is only available with all-wheel drive. As you can imagine, an extra 63 horsepower and 124 lb-ft. of torque gives the CX-5 a serious power boost. The turbocharged engine adds an extra dose of excitement under the hood and makes the already great CX-5 even better.
Around town the standard four-cylinder does a pretty good job of getting the CX-5 down the road, but at higher speeds, like on the highway, it runs out of steam. The turbocharged four-cylinder on the other hand packs a nice punch, around town or on the highway. The throttle response is great and the turbo spools up quickly to make the CX-5 even more fun to drive than before. And just like the rest of the CX-5 lineup, the steering and chassis is nearly perfect. The steering is uber precise and has good feedback, while the suspension does a good job of limiting body roll.
While we love the extra power from the new turbocharged engine, it does have one downside, reduced fuel economy. The turbocharged engine is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The base engine with all-wheel drive is rated 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
Another downside is the fact that the turbocharged engine is only available on the top two trim levels: Grand Touring Reserve and Signature. The Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels are only available with the naturally-aspirated engine. So that means that in order to get the turbocharged engine you have to be willing to pay at least $34,870 for the CX-5 Grand Touring Reserve, while the CX-5 Signature starts at $36,890. The base CX-5 Sport starts at $25,750.
Inside the the CX-5’s interior feels more upscale and luxurious than some of its rivals, especially if you select the Signature trim level with its real wood trim and Nappa leather seats. Our CX-5 Signature tester felt more like an entry-level luxury compact crossover. While the interior does feel luxurious, the CX-5’s tech features don’t really win it any extra points. The infotainment system does now offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, but it’s a bit hard to use via the rotary dial. Only when you’re at a complete stop will the infotainment system allow you to use your fingers to select a song or friend to call. The infotainment system is also a bit slow to power up.
The CX-5 Signature model also comes with a 360-degree camera system in addition to the traditional rear view camera, but both screens have poor resolution, which makes it a bit hard to use.
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 continues to be one of the more athletic, fun to drive models in the compact crossover segment. With the addition of the new turbo, the 2019 CX-5 won’t disappoint buyers that want the versatility of a crossover, but with a bit more sport under the hood.