The 2019 Mazda CX-5 looks the same but is significantly upgraded under the hood and in the cabin. Photos by Benjamin Yong.
The Mazda CX-5 finished the past year as one of the best-selling crossovers in Canada, and the stat shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s driven one. Gorgeous, refined and comfortable, perhaps the only missing piece of the puzzle was a more powerful engine. Well that’s changed for 2019 as the model undergoes a mid-cycle refresh borrowing the 2.5-litre turbo engine from the CX-9 and Mazda6, as well as getting upgrades to the GVC (G-Vectoring Control) system, suspension and infotainment.
The SKYACTIV-G 2.5T four-cylinder mill is pretty much the same one found in the brand’s flagship SUV and sedan: pushing 227 horsepower (or 250 if filled with premium octane) and 310 lb-ft of torque, compared to the 187 horses in the base 2.5 that’s naturally aspirated. Special turbine and intake manifold design help the motor breathe well, and output is smooth and linear, feeling almost like a V6 when I punched the throttle on the highway during a media first drive event in Whistler before the holiday break.
For those unfamiliar, GVC is a computer rather than a mechanical based marvel, possessing the ability to tell the powertrain to reduce engine torque the moment you enter a corner. This places extra weight over the front tires, increasing grip and enhancing steering feel. The software goes 2.0 and can talk to the brakes too, so while exiting a corner the front outside brake is applied to better stabilize the vehicle.
Although the empty parking lot was under about a foot of snow when we tried to test the feature, the CX-5 was quite composed each time we whipped it around a cone. Additionally, the ride remained civil even going over big icy ruts due to the revised spring and damper setup.
Also new to the crossover is the introduction of a top-of-the-line Signature trim. Bordering on luxurious, the long list of highlights includes the aforementioned turbocharged engine, cocoa Nappa leather and genuine Abachi wood interior, ventilated front seating, power folding mirrors and 19-inch alloy wheels.
All grades receive Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, programmed in a unique way by Mazda. Once plugging a compatible smartphone into the dedicated USB port, all the familiar menus may be manipulated using the buttons and HMI (Human-Machine Interface) Commander rotatory knob. Although using physical controls to operate a touch-based system may seem counterintuitive, you aren’t required to take your eyes off the road as often or as long to access various core functions.
Drivers of GT models and above will notice the addition of SiriusXM Traffic Plus and Travel Link services (five-year complimentary subscription), accessible from the infotainment home screen and able to show weather forecasts, current fuel prices, traffic conditions and sports scores.
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 starts at $27,850 for the GX; MSRP for the signature is set at $40,950.