2019 Mazda CX-5 TFL Expert Buyer’s Guide: Should I Really Spend $37,885 on a Top-End Model?

The 2019 Mazda CX-5: Now with turbo power!

2019 Mazda CX-5 Buyer's Guide
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 offers the new range-topping Signature trim level. [Photo: Mazda]

Mazda updated the 2019 Mazda CX-5 with new trim levels and, more importantly, a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine.

After prospective buyers anxiously awaited the arrival of Mazda’s turbocharged 2.5-liter SkyActiv engine to make its way into Mazda’s compact crossover, we finally learned its coming to the 2019 Mazda CX-5 a few weeks ago. Mazda recently launched their online configurator for the U.S. model. Prices start from $25,345 for the Sport model, and rise to $37,885 for the top-spec Signature.

So what do you get with each trim level, and is it worth the money to buy a fully loaded Signature? Of course, the answer to that question is always, “it depends”. However, we’ll walk through each trim level here and recommend options to consider.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Pricing Guide

Model 2019 Price 2018 Price Difference
Sport (FWD) $25,345 $25,145 +$200
Touring (FWD) $27,610 $27,210 +$400
Grand Touring (FWD) $31,040 $30,640 +$400
Sport (AWD) $26,745 $26,445 +$300
Touring (AWD) $29,010 $28,510 +$500
Grand Touring (AWD) $32,440 $31,940 +$500
Grand Touring Reserve (AWD) $35,865 NEW
Signature (AWD) $37,885 NEW

2019 Mazda CX-5: The Basics

Now, there are two powertrain options in the 2019 Mazda CX-5. However, each is dependent on the trim level you buy. The three lower trim levels – Sport, Touring and Grand Touring – all retain the naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter SkyActiv engine. That means you still get 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission – a manual option is no longer available – that routes power to the front or all four wheels.

Unfortunately, a more powerful engine does not increase your towing capacity. As with the older models, your towing capacity is still rated at 2,000 pounds, regardless of which engine you choose.

The two new trim levels – Grand Touring Reserve and Signature – are the only two that get the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine. That powerplant puts out 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, same as it does in the Mazda6 and CX-9. These models also get a six-speed automatic transmission, but only come with all-wheel drive.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Sport ($25,345 FWD | $26,745 AWD)

The base model 2019 Mazda CX-5 comes with a fair amount of standard content out of the box. 17-inch alloy wheels come standard, as do LED headlights, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and low-speed automatic emergency braking (called Smart City Brake Support). G-Vectoring Control Plus comes standard on all CX-5 models.

Mazda also includes its 7.0-inch MazdaConnect infotainment system as standard equipment. However, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is not available as standard on Sport models. You do still get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, but manually-adjustable cloth seats. Mazda also includes the most basic four-speaker stereo system they offer on the 2019 Mazda CX-5 Sport.

The only package option available on the Sport is the i-ActivSense package for $625. That includes High Beam Control, Lane Keep Assist, adaptive cruise control, higher-speed Smart Brake Support, automatic on/off headlights and automatic rain-sensing wipers.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Touring ($27,610 FWD | $29,010 AWD)

Step up to the Touring trim, and Mazda offers more creature comforts over the Sport model. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come integrated on Touring and above trims, as well as dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and auto-leveling headlights. The features that were part of the i-ActivSense package come standard on Touring and above trims. Mazda also upgrades the stereo system to six speakers and fits leatherette seating.

The Touring Preferred Equipment Package for $1,375. That includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, as well as a power-sliding moonroof and a 10-speaker Bose audio system. Unlike the Sport, Touring models get a powered rear liftgate with this package.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring ($31,040 FWD | $32,440 AWD)

There’s a huge price jump from the Touring to the Grand Touring – more than $3,000. For that, however, you get much more in the way of equipment. This trim level kicks off with 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, adaptive front lighting, heated exterior mirrors and LED fog lights. The power rear liftgate and sliding moonroof that were part of the Touring Preferred Equipment Package come standard here.

On the interior, Mazda fits a 7.0-inch LCD display in the gauge cluster on Grand Touring and higher trims. You also get 8-way power adjustable leather seats, a 10-speaker Bose stereo system, navigation and Sirius XM satellite radio.

The Grand Touring is the last trim level with an available option package. The GT Premium Package, a $1,625 option, adds even more comfort options. You get an Active Driving Display, automatic power-folding mirrors, heated rear seats and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a windshield wiper de-icer.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring Reserve ($35,865 | AWD only)

Another price jump, but another big upgrade. From here onward, you get Mazda’s 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. Apart from the power bump, you also get the i-Activ all-wheel drive system. Front-wheel drive is no longer an option.

All the options that were available on the GT Premium Package come standard on the Grand Touring Reserve. That includes auto-folding side mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, Active Driving display and heated rear seats. You also get ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

No package options are available on the Grand Touring Reserve trim.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature ($37,885 | AWD only)

Up until this point, there are few ways to tell the trim levels apart unless you’re keen on details. On the signature trim – a $2,020 increase over the Grand Touring Reserve – you get special Signature trim badges. Apart from the badging and bespoke 19-inch wheels, all the other changes that set the Signature apart are on the inside.

Ambient lighting, Nappa leather seats and LED interior lighting give the Signature a more premium feel. You also get a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror and layered wood trim. The Signature features a unique steering wheel, a 360-degree camera system, as well as front and rear parking sensors.

Again, no package options are currently available for the 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature. That means, for a shade under $38,000, you get a fully-loaded CX-5 with every option Mazda currently offers.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Getting 2.5-Liter Turbo Engine

Which to buy?

The 2019 Mazda CX-5 covers a wide price band, with nearly $13,000 separating the base and high-end trim levels. Fortunately, that also means you have a wide range of options to choose from. You can pick a trim that has the features you want, without paying for features you don’t.

While the Signature trim offers every piece of competitive tech its rivals offer, $37,885 is a big ask for a compact crossover. At that price, you’re skirting luxury brand territory.

For us, the best all-around value in the Mazda CX-5 lies in the Touring trim level with the Touring Equipment package. We would also equip that CX-5 with i-Activ all-wheel drive, as we do live in Colorado. For $30,085, you get a capable crossover with all the traditional safety features available to most crossovers, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. On that basis, it’s not as necessary to have satellite radio. You still get heated front seats, a power liftgate, and the 10-speaker Bose system.

The LCD instrument cluster display is a cool feature, but it doesn’t display any unique information you wouldn’t get in a standard gauge cluster. The 2.5-liter turbocharged engine is a great addition to the range, but the standard engine is capable and costs nearly $6,000 less than the Grand Touring Reserve.

Which model would you buy? Let us know in the comments below! Come back to TFLcar.com for more 2019 Mazda CX-5 news, views and real-world reviews.