Tuesday, February 23, 2021

2021 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD: The Sporty Crossover Gains A Larger Infotainment Screen


Highlight: Optional red seats are now available on the CX-5.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $39,125 (Base model $26,545)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; hill launch assist; traction control system; stability control; a rearview camera with a rear cross traffic alert system; a radar activated cruise control system; a tire pressure monitoring system; lane departure warning system; a lane keep assist system; a blind spot monitor system with a rear cross traffic alert system; and a smart city brake support system with pedestrian protection

Standard Equipment On Sport (Base Model): 17-inch wheels; front wheel drive; a 6-speed automatic transmission; a a 7-inch infotainment screen; rear roof spoiler; manual front seats; cloth seats; a leather wrapped steering wheel; a push button start system; remote keyless entry system; steering wheel mounted controls; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; rear seat recline; and an electronic parking brake

Standard Equipment (Signature Model): includes Grand Touring features too; 19-inch wheels; 2.5-liter Skyactiv turbo runs off unleaded and premium gasoline; 250-hp turbo engine; all-wheel drive; automatic leveling head lights; rain sensing windshield wipers; a dual zone automatic climate control system with pollen filter; a heated steering wheel; a keyless entry system; a power rear liftgate; a rear privacy glass; power front seats; leather seats; a rear center armrest; ventilated front seats; heated front seats; heated rear seats; a 10-speaker Bose audio system with satellite radio; a navigation system; a 360-degree camera; a smart city brake support; a traffic sign recognition system; reverse and driver attention alert; front and rear parking sensors; lane departure warning; lane keep assist system; automatic folding mirrors; dual exterior heated mirrors; a black cloth headliner; and a radar activated cruise control system

Optional Features On Test Vehicle:  a rear bumper guard
Other Trims:


Grand Touring 

Carbon Edition

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 4-speaker AM/FM/HD radio

Apple CarPlay/Android: Available

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder/187-hp (horsepower)

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 25-city/31-hwy

What’s New: For the 2021 model year, the CX-5 joins the CX-9, adding a larger infotainment screen. Moreover, a new Carbon trim has been added to the model's portfolio.

USB Connectivity: Yes

Why: The second generation premium-like compact crossover, with its prominent luxury-like grille, received its last major makeover in 2017. With the exception of the higher end Grand Touring and Signature models, all of the CX-5 trims are available in a front wheel drive or all-wheel drive configuration. Both the Grand Touring and Signature models are only available with an all-wheel drive system.

And the big news, for the model, is the vehicle finally gains a much needed larger 10-inch infotainment screen. Mazda's design and engineering team addressed one of our major gripes. 

Also for those seeking a more subdued exterior treatment, a brand-new Carbon Edition joins the line up. The vehicle distinguishes itself from other CX-5s with its flat gray exterior paint, 19-inch black wheels and gloss black door mirror. However, the interior treatment comes alive with bright red seats.

Moreover, like with a number of CX-5s, the stylish new trim is available with two 4-cylinder powertrains. There is the naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter or the spunkier Skyactiv-G 2.5 turbo engine, which produces 187-horsepower and 250-horsepower respectively. We must note the 250-horsepower can only be achieved by opting for premium fuel, when gassing-up. Without the upgraded fuel, the turbo engine's horsepower drops to 227. Despite the lower horsepower, with the unleaded fuel, the CX-5 provides an engaging driving experience, with its more precise handling and steering. These two characteristics distinguishes the CX-5 from its competitors.

Furthermore, for those seeking the ultimate luxury treatment, the top of the line Signature trim is available. The CX-5 we reviewed was outfitted with the Signature badge. This meant that the compact crossover was equipped with such features as a turbo engine, 19-inch wheels, an ambient airplane-like interior lighting package, premium leather, a Black color headliner, an automatic dimming frameless rearview mirror, a bright Silver finish on the door switch panel, wood interior trim accents, front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree camera. In our opinion, the interior design theme of the Signature trim is more on par with the German luxury brands than the non premium mainstream brands.

But: While the infotainment screen is larger,  the downside is that the CX-5 still requires too many steps to operate the audio system via its rotary dial system. Mazda’s engineering team needs to consider adding knobs and buttons, as it former partner Ford has done, in order to make their system more user friendly.

Furthermore, to compliment the premium design, Mazda should consider making the cozy interior give the illusion of more space by offering a panoramic power sunroof. 

Lastly, the cabin size is slightly smaller than most of the vehicles in the segment. Its definitely noticeable in the second row, where the legroom is sparse.

Verdict: Mazda is doing everything possible to place the vehicle, as well as the brand, in the same class as an Audi, while distancing itself from such brands as Chevy and Ford. For buyers seeking a more premium-like class vehicle, without reaching into the luxury price range, the CX-5 is a worthy contender to consider.

Competition: Chevy Equinox; Ford Escape; GMC Terrain; Honda CR-V; Nissan Rogue; Subaru Forester; Toyota RAV4; and VW Tiguan

1 comment:

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