If you need luxury you need to see this.
A few years ago Mazda rebranded as a premium car company. Still value priced—especially for what you get— the brand has been making waves; it’s a great car for a smart girl who wants luxury but doesn’t need a flashy badge to tell the world.
Sort of like the stealth goodness of a demure but luxe Saint Laurent bag versus the bright interlocking double C’s that announce a Chanel bag. Inside, they are smartly designed and appointed with quality details, but on the outside they have a different message to the world. One says “I got this,” the other says “look out, here I come!”
Mazda is just such a luxury car. It delivers the luxury features you need, but minus the flashy badge. And, as long as the luxury is real, we’re good with that.
So, is it All That?
We took the Mazda CX-5 Signature edition for a spin—a rather long spin, driving from New York to Vermont and back— and found that yup, this little SUV has it all: Looks, luxury and a drive experience that feels great and has your back.
We test drove the Signature edition, the top of the line that for $36,890 is loaded. Fully loaded. Mazda added a few things that I’d probably have skipped that added $2,200 to the price. So, with delivery ($995) the MSRP comes to $39,905. But if you are willing to skip the bumper trim and Mazda sill plates, you can bring the price down a bit.
Luxury Technology Designed to Connect You Seamlessly
This is what I loved probably the most: Apple CarPlay instantly displays when you plug in your phone. On my 5 hour drive I was able to listen to my playlists, SiriusXM radio, texts from my team and more, all via my phone. The connection was easy and instant. Oh, and I could make actual phone calls, too!
The Signature edition includes head up display, which also projects speed, radio information and more the windshield so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road. You can even make adjustments to the adaptive cruise system—the speed you’re set to and the distance you’re set to follow traffic ahead of you— in the head up display.
Mazda’s navigation, which is only offered in the Signature model, worked great, and as a bonus, displays turn by turn directions and road signs in the HUD in front of you. Unfortunately, the head up display doesn’t display maps or directions from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And yes, the system actually reads the road signs.
The Signature edition also includes blind spot monitors, rain sensing wipers and automatic high beam headlights. This is a pretty great package of technology for a car in this price range.
Let’s Talk About the Zoom Zoom
If you watched TV in the ’90’s you remember the wide-eyed boy who whispered to the camera in amazement, “zoom-zoom” as a Mazda drove by. Well, that’s still true. Mazda is known for a great drive due to a couple of things: A highly tuned drive experience and a lot of toque.
Mazda’s designers not only created a tight suspension and responsive drive system, but the interior is designed to hug you tight while you drive so you really feel every curve and hill without being tossed around the car.
And then, that torque. Torque is the oomph that accelerates a car; typically for a car to accelerate and maintain its speed, torque and horsepower ratings are about the same. More horsepower usually means more torque (give or take a bit). Torque can impact a car’s fuel economy, too, so some carmakers tone it down a bit to keep those numbers in check.
Luckily for CX-5 drivers, the Signature edition has significantly more torque than horsepower, giving it a lot of zip: 310 lb-ft of torque for it’s 227 horsepower. This gives it plenty of zoom-zoom and capability on the highway, even when fully loaded. And, if you really want to get your zoom on, paddle shifters in the CX-5 offer even more control and if you use premium fuel you can increase the horsepower to 250 from 227.
Unexpected Luxury Design Is a Wonderful Surprise
Ever heard that saying, the magic is in the details? That’s the case in this car’s interior. There’s the leather upholstery of course. And plenty of places to put your stuff. But it’s all framed in chrome, leather and panels of elegant satin wood that give the interior a sublime, rich feel.
On the exterior the CX-5 has been redesigned with a more sculpted look. Its panels are a bit more toned, the front end has a more distinct look and a diamond cut grille that glitters just a bit, and its finished in a deep gloss paint that is enough to make you stop and stare. A lot. I’m a huge fan of Mazda’s paint. If nothing else about this car were beautiful, this alone could make it worth owning. Like that Eames chair in your living room, or the Reidel swan decanter in your dining room. Even though they are luxurious and completely functional, you’d own them just so you can marvel at their beauty, too.
What We Listened to in the 2019 Mazda CX-5
The premium Bose sound system– an included feature in the Signature edition– was a great accompaniment for our long road trip. This is what sounded sooooo good in this car: signature songs by some of our favorite artists.
Disclosure: Mazda provided the CX-5 Signature for this review; all opinions are my own.