2019 Mazda CX-5 Adds Turbo Engine, New Trims

2019 Mazda CX-5; Manufacturer images

As we expected, Mazda unveiled a new range-topping trim level for its CX-5 SUV called the Signature at this week's 2018 Seattle International Auto Show. The automaker's third U.S. product to offer the Signature badge, the highfalutin' CX-5 features a few upscale amenities and more power — and it isn't the only thing that changed for the SUV.

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Already an upscale player among compact SUVs, the CX-5 could pass muster among entry-luxury SUVs were it not for its modest power. On sale by year's end, the 2019 model might clear that hurdle thanks to a newly available, turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that's good for 227 horsepower — up 40 hp versus the CX-5's standard non-turbo four-cylinder. In regions with 93-octane premium gas, the motor makes 250 hp on the fancy stuff.

The Signature isn't the only new trim level. Another additional variant, the Grand Touring Reserve, slots between the Grand Touring and Signature. That makes five trim levels for the 2019 CX-5 (in ascending order: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature), up from only the bottom three for 2018. The Sport, Touring and Grand Touring come with front- or all-wheel drive and the non-turbo four-cylinder, while the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature come only with AWD and the turbo four. Mazda also touts refinements to the suspension and steering systems.

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A 7-inch dashboard touchscreen remains standard on the CX-5. New features for 2019 include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on Touring models and up, plus a 7-inch configurable gauge display on the Grand Touring and up. The Grand Touring Reserve and Signature add ventilated front seats and power-folding side mirrors, while the Signature gets a gaggle of exclusive technology and material upgrades: Nappa leather upholstery (versus cloth, vinyl or regular leather on lower trims), genuine wood trim, a fancier headliner, a 360-degree camera system, and parking sensors for the front and rear.

None of those features were available for 2018, but neither was the prospect of a CX-5 that ran a stone's throw from $40,000. Pricing with destination on the 2019 model starts at $25,345 (up $200 from 2018) and tops out at $38,480 for an AWD Signature with factory options. That's a hefty increase versus the 2018 CX-5's factory-loaded price — about $34,000 — but isn't outside the norm for a compact SUV. The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan and Chevrolet Equinox, to name two rivals, both top $40,000 with options.

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