Car Review: Mazda CX-5 Signature takes the compact crossover upscale for a price

The Mazda CX-5 has been the fun-to-drive alternative in the compact crossover market for years. For 2019, the Mazda CX-5 is a more refined crossover as well, and adds a dose of luxury with the new Signature trim level. The Nappa leather trimmed interior is a step up on much of the competition, and it rivals premium and luxury compact crossovers.

For a compact crossover, there is ample space for passengers in the front and back seat. Those in the back seat finally have air vents so it’s better to regulate temperatures than before. A seven-inch color display and NAV system work well with voice controls. The central wheel controller takes a few minutes to get used to. Cargo space is adequate, but there are larger rear cargo areas in other compact crossovers on the market.

The new CX-5 has a new turbocharged engine, a big change that finally provides the power that was missing from previous CX-5 models. The ride is a bit softer and more luxury-oriented, but it’s still fun in the corners even if it’s not as sharp as before.

Cost: $36,890; as tested, $39,325

MPG: 22 city/27 highway; 22.5 mpg over 210 miles of mixed driving using regular fuel

Safety: Blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, advanced Smart City brake support and lane keep assist/lane departure warning system and front and rear parking sensors

Options: $595 Soul Red crystal paint, $400 Illuminated doorsill trim plates, $125 rear bumper guards, $250 retractable cargo cover, $70 cargo mat

Things to know: The Mazda CX-5 Signature is a new luxury version of the venerable crossover, now with more power and a ride that trades a bit of sport for a more refined, softer feel. The constant updating of the CX-5 has made a very solid all-around compact crossover for your buying dollar.

Pros:

  • New Signature trim level gives you luxury not usually found in a compact crossover
  • The power upgrade from the new turbo engine is a welcome addition
  • Still fun to drive and the ride is less stiff than before

Cons:

  • Fuel economy is less than some others in the class
  • Price seems a bit high when fully loaded, but also seems to be the going rate
  • The central screen is a bit smaller than some of the competition; takes a bit of time to master

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