Caraganza First Drive Review 2019 Mazda CX-5: Don’t ask



When people find out what I do for a living they always seem to ask me the very same question: “What kind of car should I buy?” This always elicits my very well thought out professional answer: “How the hell should I know?”

That’s because the truth is autos are such and individual thing. Sure, some are more popular than others, but at the end of the day what works for me, might not work for you.  Occasionally, someone will ask me a question I can answer (and which seems smarter than the first): “What kind of car do you own?”  That’s easy to answer. I own a 2008 Mazda 3. It’s still going strong after 130,000 miles, and beyond a cracked motor mount several years ago has cost me only scheduled maintenance, tires, gas and an occasional air freshener (when I remember to change it that is). I bought my Mazda 3 ( I figured the folks at Mazda were just not into naming cars) in 2010 with low miles and when it was only a couple of years old (best way to buy a ‘new’ car by the way).

So when I get a chance to test a new Mazda I like to see how much as changed since my model came out.  And having a bit of bias I look at any new Mazda I get to test with a more critical eye; after all it’s about time I trade the old “M3” in.

Mazda sent me one of their SUVs for a recent week, a 2019 CX-5. Now I’m not a fan of SUVs, especially since most of those I see would never be something a soccer mom would (gasp) take off the pavement.  But when doing a bit of research, the first photos I saw of the CX-5 showed it plowing through snow, off road.

I was intrigued.

The 2019 Mazda CX-5 is actually classified as a crossover (which is still an SUV just a bit smaller). It’s offered in five trim levels: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature.

The 2019 is part of the second generation of the CX-5 introduced in 2017.  For 2019 Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration has been added, ventilated front seats and surround-view parking camera are options and there’s a bigger engine for the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims.

Standard features on the base Sport model include LED headlights, push-button ignition, a 7-inch touchscreen, manually adjustable front seats, 40/20/40-split reclining rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, a four-speaker sound system and two USB ports. Low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert are also included.

You can add the Sport i-Activsense package which gets you automatic headlights, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, upgraded forward collision warning and mitigation with pedestrian detection, and automatic windshield wipers.

Moving up the line of course adds more and opens up more options.  Things like the Touring Preferred package with items like a sunroof, a power liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an upgraded 10-speaker Bose sound system.



The Grand Touring gets you all of that, along with 19-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, LED foglights, heated side mirrors, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable passenger seat, driver-seat memory functions, an upgraded driver information display, a navigation system, and satellite radio. The optional GT Premium package adds a head-up display, power-folding mirrors, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and a windshield wiper de-icer.

The Grand Touring Reserve adds the Grand Touring’s optional features as standard plus the more powerful engine and all-wheel drive. Finally, the top Signature adds ambient cabin lighting, premium leather upholstery, wood trim accents, a surround-view camera, and front and rear parking sensors.

The Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (187 hp, 186 lb-ft of torque) and equipped with front-wheel drive. Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims come with a more powerful turbocharged version of the same engine (227 hp — 250 hp on 91 octane gas — and 310 lb-ft of torque) and come with standard all-wheel drive. Both engines are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Perhaps it was my “I already own a Mazda bias” but when I got in to the CX-5 Signature I had for my tester for the first time I found the cabin small but not confining at all. The controls seem well laid out and easy to use. The 7-inch touchscreen used to control the functions seemed a bit small at first, but after a bit I found it to be logical and positioned ins a way that didn’t take away from the view out the front.  The screen can also be controlled by a knob on the center console.

No, I never took it off-road but with the 227 horses under the hood, I had little doubt the 3825 pounds of curb weight could maneuver off the pavement, and that the pictures were indeed not photoshopped.

My wife, who I sometimes think loves our Mazda 3 more than me, also spent a few days with the CX-5 and her only question was “How much can we get one for?”

Good question.

One of the things I like about Mazda is the value. The top of the line CX-5 we had, pretty much packed with everything, has an MSRP of $39, 030.  Which means that a savvy shopper could get a pretty good deal on a very nice SUV, uh sorry, crossover.

It also means that the trusty old Mazda 3 in my driveway may soon ride off in the sunset replaced with a CX-5.

Just don’t ask me what kind of car you should buy, okay?

The 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature
MSRP: $36,890
MSRP (as tested): $39, 030
Engine: 2.5 Liter turbocharged I-4, 227 hp @ 5000 rpm, 310 ft-lb torque @ 2000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic w/OD
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 22 city, 27 highway, 24 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 28
Base Curb Weight: lbs     3825

Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity:     5
Passenger Volume: ft³     103.6
Front Head Room: in     39.3
Front Leg Room: in     41
Front Shoulder Room: in     57.1
Front Hip Room: in     55.2
Second Head Room: in     39
Second Leg Room: in     39.6
Second Shoulder Room: in     54.8
Second Hip Room: in     55.3

Cargo Area Dimensions
Cargo Area Length @ Floor to Seat 2: in     38
Cargo Area Width @ Beltline: in     57
Cargo Box Width @ Wheelhousings : in     41.3
Cargo Box (Area) Height: in     32.4
Cargo Volume to Seat 1: ft³     59.6
Cargo Volume to Seat 2: ft³     30.9

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase: in     106.2
Length, Overall: in     179.1
Width, Max w/o mirrors: in     72.5
Height, Overall: in     65.3
Track Width, Front: in     62.8
Track Width, Rear: in     62.8
Min Ground Clearance: in     7.5
Rear Door Opening Height: in     30.7
Rear Door Opening Width: in     44.3
Liftover Height: in     32.4

Corrosion Warranty Miles:   unlimited
Maintenance Warranty Months: none
Corrosion Warranty Months:  60
Powertrain Warranty Miles:  60000
Full Warranty Miles: 36000
Powertrain Warranty Months: 60
Full Warranty Months: 36
Roadside Assistance Miles: 36000
Maintenance Warranty Miles: none
Roadside Assistance Months: 36

Greg Engle