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Mazda CX-5: Which Should You Buy, 2019 or 2020?

2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature

Most significant changes: The base Sport model gains Mazda’s i-Activsense suite of safety features as standard. Grand Touring model adds standard paddle shifters, and the Grand Touring Reserve upgrades to an 8-inch touchscreen from the prior 7-inch unit.

Price change: Base prices are up $740 on the Sport, $115 on the Touring and $165 on the Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature.

On sale: Late fall

Which should you buy, 2019 or 2020? 2020, unless there’s a slammin’ deal on a higher 2019 trim. Price increases are modest, and the Sport model now comes with more safety features.

Mazda’s five-seat, compact CX-5 SUV returns for 2020 with the automaker’s i-Activsense safety package standard across the board. The package, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist and a few other features, ran another $625 on the base trim level, called Sport, for 2019. With those features now standard, the Sport’s starting price rises $740 to $26,135 for front-wheel drive and $27,535 for all-wheel drive (all prices include the destination charge).

Related: 2020 Mazda CX-30 Classes Up Subcompact SUV Class

Price increases on the CX-5’s four higher trim levels (in ascending order Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature) are up $115 to $165. The exception is the Signature Diesel, a diesel-powered variant that tops the range, for which Mazda has yet to announce details.

Sport, Touring and Grand Touring editions are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 horsepower, which teams with a six-speed automatic transmission. All three are available with front- or all-wheel drive.

The Grand Touring Reserve and Signature use a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that generates 227 hp with regular gas and 250 with 93-octane premium. With premium gas, torque increases by 10 pounds-feet to 320 on 2020 models. AWD is standard on the Grand Touring and Signature.

The CX-5 comes with a well-trimmed interior that fits four to five people in quiet surroundings. It also shines for its precise steering, adept handling and, with the turbo engine on premium fuel, spirited performance. But it falls short against rivals like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 in passenger and cargo room. All models except the Sport come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the multimedia system works as a touchscreen only when the car is stopped. While in motion, the system requires using a less intuitive control knob to navigate.

The Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models come with knee-buckling starting prices north of $36,000, which bumps into the low end of mid-size SUV prices. Lower-priced trim levels warrant a look, but check out the competition as well.

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