Quick Spin: 2020 Mazda CX-5

Here at Limited Slip Blog, we are well acquainted with the Mazda CX-5 and all its merits.  When Mazda offered up the latest, greatest variant of the CX-5, the “Signature” trim, we couldn’t resist another go. 2020 features some additional standard safety features and improved NVH after last year’s larger update added the 2.5L turbocharged engine to the platform. Our CX-5 arrived dressed to kill in its stunning “Soul Red Crystal” paint.  This color alone is worth a trip to the Mazda dealership to see what its all about.  This bold shade of red was the perfect complement to the curvaceous and attractive design of the CX-5.  The styling, combined with the paint color and quality, and trim contributed to a presence that somehow seems like a bargain at $38,850.

The interior of the CX-5 Signature was exceptionally tasteful.  Nothing in the interior seems gimmicky or like it will age badly. All of the materials have a high-quality look and feel, contributing to an interior ambiance that once again seems a bargain at its pricepoint.  In the not-so-distant past, it was impossible to get an interior this nice in a vehicle for less than $60k, let alone less than $40k. The infotainment is the same as other Mazda products in that it takes some getting used to to use, but the Bose branded sound system was exceptionally clear and natural sounding in the midrange, as well as able to play loudly with minimal perceived distortion.  The CX-5 Signature provides a genuine luxury interior experience and is among the nicest in its class, if not the nicest.

The driving experience left me feeling that composure and comfort with a slight sporty edge were the main objectives of the Mazda engineers tasked with tuning the CX-5.  The ride was compliant over most surfaces but erred on the firmer side of agreeable, and the damping could get some what “springy” or “bouncy” feeling over rippled road surfaces.  The steering was well-weighted but a bit aloof directly off center, which, combined with the relatively lazy throttle tip-in, contributed to the sense of luxury: stay calm, and lightly touch the gas, brakes, or steering wheel, and relax.  If you do press the throttle harder and corner with more exuberance, you will be greeted by surprisingly brisk acceleration from the 2.5L turbo 4 and a competent chassis that will do its best hot-hatch impression with aplomb.

Although the CX-5 is not the newest vehicle in its class, Mazda has steadily kept the updates flowing, adding to the inherent excellence that is the CX-5.  At the end of the day, the CX-5 is a serious contender for the best in class, and deserves a serious look for all those who like their CUV experience served with up with luxury in the forefront balanced by a dash of sportiness to keep things interesting.

Ken Wilson

2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD
Soul Red Crystal Metallic$595
Caturra Brown Nappa LeatherN/C
Destination Charges$1,100
As Tested MSRP$38,850

2019 Mazda SUV Rundown
Mature: 2017 Mazda CX-5

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