Updated: Apr 1, 2022
This may be a new-ish website, but I'm here after 12 years at TireKicker and 23 years of writing and talking about cars on TV, radio, in print and online, so I've built some favorites over that time. One of them is the Mazda CX-5, a vehicle that first won my heart five years ago when my then-future stepdaughters, my then-future wife and I took an 1,100 mile spring break roadtrip and the CX-5 shone all the way.
A lot of cars don't change much in five years, but the CX-5 absolutely has. This year alone, Mazda's i-Activesense safety suite is standard, the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models now have an eight-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system and fonts on switchgear and the exterior have been revised.
Last year, the engine got a significant bump in horsepower in the higher trim levels, like our Signature, to the 2.5-liter turbo four that's in the CX-9 and Mazda 6 sedan. It makes 250 horsepower on premium fuel, 227 on regular and 310 pounds per foot of torque. If those numbers in a small-ish crossover suggest performance to you, you're right. Sixty miles an hour from a standing start happens in 6.2 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimate is 22 city/27 highway. We couldn't break 21.6 in 100-plus miles of city streets, urban freeways and rural two-lane roads.
Along with that, the 2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD includes a six-speed automatic transmission with sport mode, 19-inch alloy wheels, an independent front and rear suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars, electric power-assisted sterring, all-wheel drive, an engine harmonics enhancer and G-Vectoring Control Plus. Mazdas have always been better handling, more engaging cars to drive than their competition and the G-Vectoring Control Plus give them still more of an edge. The CX-5 isn't a Miata, but it's got a family resemblance on winding roads that no other crossover in its class can match.
Base price for the 2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD is $37,055. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the full list, but among the highlights on the standard equipment list is rain-sensing windshield wipers, a power moonroof, Nappa leather-trimmed seats, LED headlamps, foglamps, daytime running lamps and taillamps, A Bose ten-speaker audio system and navigation.
And there was very little in the way of extra-cost options on our test vehicle ($595 for Soul Red Crystal paint and $125 for a rear bumper guard), so with $1,045 delivery, processing and handling fee the as-tested price comes to $38,820.
That's about six grand more than the bottom line on the 2015 CX-5 I referenced above, and the power, handling and amenities are all light years ahead of what this vehicle was offering five years ago. As the headline says, sophisticated zoom-zoom.