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2019 Mazda CX-5 Review

The 2019 Mazda CX-5 earns a spot near the top of our compact SUV rankings. It's one of the most athletic small crossovers in the class, and it has a premium interior and high safety scores.

Pros & Cons

  • Agile handling
  • Smooth ride
  • Powerful optional engine
  • Upscale cabin
  • Below-average cargo space
  • Awkward infotainment controls

New for 2019

  • New engine options, including a turbocharged four-cylinder and a turbo diesel
  • Optional Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, ventilated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree parking camera
  • Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims

 Is the Mazda CX-5 a Good SUV?  

Yes, the 2019 CX-5 is an excellent compact SUV. It handles better than most of its classmates, and it has energetic engines that help it get decent fuel economy. The CX-5's cabin is one of the nicest in the class, though it doesn't have quite as much cargo space as some competitors. Overall, this Mazda delivers plenty of quality for a fair price, which is why we named it a finalist for our 2019 Best Compact SUV for the Money award.

Should I Buy the Mazda CX-5?

The 2019 CX-5 should be on your short list of compact SUVs, especially if you're looking for a sporty ride. For 2019, Mazda upped the ante in terms of performance with an available turbocharged engine that delivers brisk acceleration. Test drivers have also been impressed by the CX-5’s interior styling and ample seating space.

That said, this class boasts a number of outstanding vehicles. The Honda CR-V offers great fuel economy and plenty of passenger and cargo space. The Subaru Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive, and it has a long list of standard active safety features. You may want to give these competitors a test drive before you make your decision.

Compare the CX-5, CR-V, and Forester »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mazda CX-5?

The 2019 Mazda CX-5 is part of a generation that debuted for the 2017 model year. For 2018, Mazda added standard blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The 2019 CX-5 is the first to offer Mazda’s 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers up to 250 horsepower, depending on the type of fuel you use. Other new-for-2019 options include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a 360-degree parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, and ventilated front seats. Although there are several new options for 2019, the standard features list is largely unchanged. Mazda also introduced the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims for 2019. Additionally, a new turbo diesel power plant joined the engine roster for 2019.

Go with the 2019 CX-5 if you're interested in one of the new optional engine or the latest tech offerings. If you're content with a base model, consider shopping for a used 2017 CX-5 instead, since it has many of the same features as the 2019. Models from 2017 (and before) cost even less, but they are vastly different than models from the current generation.

To gain further insight into the differences between the current and previous generation, read both our 2016 CX-5 and 2017 CX-5 reviews. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 CX-5 »

We Did the Research for You: 30 Reviews Analyzed

To give you a complete overview of the 2019 CX-5 – and make your car-shopping experience easier – we analyzed 30 Mazda CX-5 reviews alongside performance specs, interior dimensions, fuel economy ratings, and more. This review uses applicable research and data from the current CX-5 generation, which spans the 2017 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our crew has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an external company manages the ads on our site.

How Much Does the Mazda CX-5 Cost?

Starting at $24,350, the 2019 CX-5 has a slightly above-average starting price among compact SUVs. The Touring and the Grand Touring trims start at $26,615 and $30,045, respectively. The high-end Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims cost $34,870 and $36,890, respectively. All-wheel drive is a $1,400 option for all but the two highest trims, which come standard with it. The all-new CX-5 Signature with the turbo diesel engine starts at $41,000, and it comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mazda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mazda deals page.

Mazda CX-5 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V?

The 2019 Honda CR-V ranks up there with the CX-5, but it trades sportiness for versatility. The CR-V has a slightly roomier cabin than the Mazda and a larger cargo hold by more than 16 cubic feet. Both SUVs have a similar list of standard features, but the Mazda outshines the Honda when it comes to interior quality. It also has a more powerful engine option and better handling. Choosing between these two SUVs boils down to what you value most: utility or performance. Go for the CR-V if you're looking for space, or opt for the CX-5 if you want a sportier ride.

Which Is Better: Mazda CX-5 or Subaru Forester?

The Subaru Forester is another high-ranking compact SUV, but it’s designed to appeal to different shoppers than the CX-5. The Forester focuses on safety and comfort while the CX-5 emphasizes performance and interior opulence. The Subaru comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is a rarity for this class. It also has a long list of standard active safety features, including adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. Though the Forester has poised handling, it’s slow to accelerate on the highway when equipped with the base engine. Choose the SUV that best matches your preferences.

Compare the CX-5, CR-V, and Forester »

CX-5 Interior

How Many People Does the CX-5 Seat?

There's seating for up to five people in the CX-5. The front row has comfortable and supportive seats, and there’s a decent amount of passenger space. The back row is a bit tighter, but it can accommodate taller passengers. Trying to fit three adults in the rear seats may be a challenge, however.

CX-5 and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the CX-5’s rear outboard seats, as well as an upper tether for the rear middle seat. The middle seat has the ability to borrow lower anchors from adjoining seats when they are not in use. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the setup the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

CX-5 Interior Quality

The CX-5 features an upmarket cabin with sophisticated styling, enhanced by elements like a standard leather-wrapped steering wheel and available Nappa leather upholstery. Options include heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, and power-adjustable front seats.

CX-5 Cargo Space

There is 30.9 cubic feet of cargo space when the rear seats are up and 59.6 cubic feet of space when they are folded. These numbers are a little low in the class, but the CX-5 still have enough storage space for most shoppers. A power liftgate is available.

CX-5 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The CX-5’s standard infotainment system has a 7-inch touch screen, HD Radio, voice command, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and four speakers. Available features include two additional USB ports, six speakers, a 10-speaker Bose premium audio system, satellite radio, and navigation. For 2019, Mazda added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as options. For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

The standard infotainment system has touch-screen capability, which becomes disabled while you are driving. That leaves you with a rotary knob near the gear selector. It’s easy to use, but some reviewers complain that there are not enough physical controls.

Read more about interior »

CX-5 Performance

CX-5 Engine: New Turbo Four Brings the Heat

Although the CX-5’s standard 187-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine has enough power for your daily commute, you can take things to a whole new level with the CX-5’s new optional engine. Mazda now offers a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and it’s one of the most powerful in the compact SUV class. It produces 227 horsepower when fueled with regular gasoline, and that rating increases to 250 horsepower with premium gas. Both power plants come with a six-speed automatic transmission that makes good use of engine power.

Another addition for 2019 is a 2.2-liter turbo diesel engine, which produces 168 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. When equipped with this engine, the CX-5 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

CX-5 Gas Mileage: Good, Not Great

With the base four-cylinder engine, the Mazda CX-5 gets 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. These estimates are about average for class. With the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the CX-5 delivers a lower 23 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. CX-5 diesel models earn 27 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

CX-5 Ride and Handling: Among the Best

Mazdas are known for having athletic handling, and the CX-5 follows this trend. While you won’t mistake this SUV for a Mazda MX-5 Miata, its nimble handling and sharp steering deliver a far more engaging ride than just about every other compact SUV. Its suspension system is a little on the firm side, but the CX-5 still maintains a compliant ride. Although it isn't as supple as some of its competitors, the CX-5 easily smooths out most bumps in the road. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

Read more about performance »

CX-5 Reliability

Is the Mazda CX-5 Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 CX-5 a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average. 

Mazda CX-5 Warranty

The CR-V has a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

CX-5 Safety

CX-5 Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the CX-5 a 2019 Top Safety Pick+. It also earned the highest rating of Good in all crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 model five out of five stars overall, with five stars in frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

CX-5 Safety Features

The CX-5 comes standard with a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and low-speed automatic braking. Available features include forward collision warning, full-speed automatic braking, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree parking camera, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, fog lights, traffic sign recognition, and a head-up display.

Read more about safety »

Which Mazda CX-5 Model Is Right for Me?

The CX-5 comes in five trims: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature. The base Sport trim should be sufficient for most shoppers. It has a decent list of features that includes blind spot monitoring and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen.

If you have a little more room in your budget, consider purchasing the Touring trim. It adds Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, and leatherette upholstery with suede inserts. Those interested in the available turbocharged engine might consider stepping up to at least the Grand Touring Reserve. Not only does this trim add the more powerful engine, but it also comes with standard all-wheel drive and a ton of standard features. However, it costs about $10,000 more than the base model.

The top two trims come standard with all-wheel drive, but it’s a $1,400 add-on in the Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring trims.

Mazda CX-5 Sport

The base Sport trim costs $24,350, and it comes with an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, HD Radio, voice command, two USB ports, and four speakers. Standard safety features include a rearview camera, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and low-speed automatic braking. The Sport trim also has cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and push-button start.

Mazda CX-5 Touring

Starting at $26,615, the Touring trim comes equipped with leatherette seats with suede inserts, a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, six speakers, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, two extra USB ports, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

A Touring Preferred Equipment package is also available for $1,375. It adds a 10-speaker Bose premium audio system, a moonroof, and a power liftgate.

Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring

The Grand Touring trim starts at $30,045. It comes with leather-trimmed seats, a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated side mirrors, fog lights, a moonroof, a power liftgate, and a 10-speaker Bose premium audio system.

A GT Premium package costs $1,625 and adds traffic sign recognition, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats.

Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring Reserve

The new-for-2019 Grand Touring Reserve trim starts at $34,870. It features all-wheel drive, a turbocharged engine, traffic sign recognition, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.

Mazda CX-5 Signature

Starting at $36,890, the new Signature trim has most of the Grand Touring Reserve's features in addition to Nappa leather upholstery, a 360-degree parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, wood trim, and unique styling. The 2019 CX-5 Signature with a turbo diesel engine starts at $41,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local CX-5 dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mazda deals page.

See 2019 Mazda CX-5 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Mazda CX-5 is one of the most well-rounded small crossovers on the market. It delivers a more engaging driving experience than most rivals, it rides smoothly, and it has an upscale interior. A relative lack of cargo space is the main knock against the CX-5, but overall, this is one of the best choices in the compact SUV class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2019 Mazda CX-5 proves that not all compact-crossover SUVs are created equal. In general, they’re usually quite good at many things, but don’t really have an aspect or two that delivers a knockout punch. …But get behind the wheel and the CX-5 displays an extra talent that’s virtually nonexistent elsewhere in the class. The driving experience is engaging, not the chore that other contenders seem to be. There’s more: The styling would suit a luxury vehicle, the cabin is similarly upmarket, and fuel economy is remarkable. The CX-5 is a must-try." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "But overall we like the 2018 Mazda CX-5 for its excellent balance of sportiness, comfort and practicality. The exterior design is sleek and modern, and while not overly generous inside, the CX-5 does offer a competitive amount of room for people and cargo. The upscale interior materials, along with a host of standard tech and convenience features, convey the sense of a vehicle that should cost quite a bit more than it does. It's a top pick for a small crossover in 2018." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "In the 2018 Mazda CX-5, you'll find a competent small SUV loaded with style, features and functionality. … Despite a taut suspension and responsive handling, the CX-5's ride isn't harsh or jarring, giving it a leg up overt (sic) competitors like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4." -- Autotrader (2018)   


Expert Advice

Last Updated: November 14, 2019

Steady Demand: Sales of the Mazda CX-5 rank mid-pack among compact SUVs; Mazda dealerships have moved about the same number of CX-5 models this year compared to the same period in 2018. Top sellers in the segment, such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, are both outselling it more than 2 to 1. While it’s not the best seller in its class, the CX-5 is far and away the most popular vehicle in Mazda showrooms. Its sales have accounted for about half of all Mazda sales so far this year.

Research more buying advice »
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