Sun. Sep 22nd, 2019
2019 Mazda CX-5 Turbo

2019 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Drivers’ Notes Review

The second-gen Mazda CX-5 has been on sale since 2017, but the big news for this year is the addition of a new turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four. The engine is only available with all-wheel drive, but the extra grunt means fuel economy is down from the naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four (24 city, 30 highway and 26 combined).

The new engine is wrapped in the same familiar package we’ve seen for the past couple of years, but is exclusive to the range-topping Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trim levels.

Our contributor Ben Hsu had high praise for the CX-5 turbo in our recent first-drive review. Now the rest of us have had a crack at it.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I love the CX-5’s looks and driving dynamics. It’s a sporty Mazda tailored to the crossover segment. This one, done up in Soul Red Crystal Metallic (what a name) and Signature trim with smokey 19-inch wheels, looks great. The Skyactiv-G four-cylinder with 227 hp (on 87 octane) and 310 pound-feet of torque makes for a brisk driving experience. In Sport mode, it’s almost more eager than I want it to be.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: The Mazda CX-5 was already a contender for being the best-driving compact crossover, but this turbo engine clinches it. The throttle response is impressively quick and boost comes on so smoothly. The bountiful torque makes it a blast when squirting through traffic and blasting out of corners. The transmission shifts smartly and smoothly, and I never felt like I needed to manually shift. The only downside is that the engine is a bit loud. That can be fun when you’re caning it, but it’s a little annoying when you’re just cruising around.

The design is attractive and clean, and the switchgear feels great, especially the hefty temperature and infotainment knobs. Some of the materials could be a little nicer, and the interior is tighter than some of the competition. The infotainment is a little clunkier than others, but after spending some time with it, it becomes fairly easy. Overall, the Mazda has a strong cabin. But I may not be as bothered by all this simply because of how good the CX-5 is to drive.