2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature
2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD in Machine Gray Metallic (a $300 option)

Quick Spin

2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD

Class: Compact Crossover

Miles driven: 340

Fuel used: 15.0 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB-
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishA
Fuel EconomyB
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB
Tall GuyA-
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Engine Specs250-hp 2.5L
Engine TypeTurbo 4-cyl
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAll-wheel drive

Real-world fuel economy: 22.6 mpg

Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 22/27/24 (city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular gas

Base price: $37,055 (not including $1045 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Machine Gray Metallic paint ($300)

Price as tested: $38,400


Quick Hits

The great: Turbocharged engine provides sprightly acceleration; one of the best-handling compact SUVs around

The good: Classy interior trimmings; comfortable ride

The not so good: A bit pricey in top-line Signature trim; not as much cargo space as some class competitors; some testers dislike infotainment control interface

More CX-5 price and availability information


CG Says:

The Signature model of the Mazda CX-5 was new for 2019, and it helped to maintain the compact crossover sport-utility as a Consumer Guide “Best Buy” in the class. The things that Mazda has done to it for 2020 are good enough to keep that streak going for a third year.

Mazda CX-5 Signature
The current-generation Mazda CX-5 debuted for the 2017 model year, and sees a few small tweaks for 2020.

Slip behind the wheel of the CX-5’s top model, which starts at $38,100 with delivery, and you’ll find 10 additional lb-ft of torque in the turbocharged engine, a new off-road traction assist, and a slightly larger infotainment touchscreen. Those additions are heaped upon the fine road manners, comfortable ride, and upscale cabin environment that CG already admired in the 5-passenger trucklet.

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Mazda CX-5 Signature
The CX-5 Signature’s interior trimmings give it an upscale feel. Standard features include a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel with shift paddles, heated/ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.

Signature signs in with a 2.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine—also new in ’19—a 6-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. (The Grand Touring Reserve that sells for $2020 less has this same drivetrain.) Horsepower ratings of 227 (on regular fuel) or 250 (with premium) at 5000 rpm are unchanged. However, there’s 3.2 percent more twist for livelier getaways, 320 lb-ft of torque that peaks at 2500 rpm, which is 500 revs higher than before. A selectable “Sport” driving mode sharpens throttle response. CG testers collectively averaged a modest 22.6 mpg in a roughly even mix of city/highway driving, though one driver did get close to 25 mpg. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 22 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 24 combined.

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Mazda CX-5 Controller
The infotainment screen on Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models is a bit larger for 2020. A “Commander Control” knob at the rear of the center console controls most infotainment functions.

CX-5s feature Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus that adjusts power delivery to wheels during cornering to better manage weight shifts and improve the driver’s sense of control through turns. However, the Signature and Grand Touring Reserve now come with an off-road traction-assist feature designed to optimize torque distribution and traction control when not on pavement.

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Mazda CX-5 Controller
There’s good room in the front seats, and decent space in back for average-sized adults. Signature models come standard with rich Nappa leather upholstery–Caturra Brown, in the case of our test vehicle.

Standard equipment in the two highest-level CX-5s includes an infotainment system with a stand-up display screen that has grown an inch to eight inches. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what shows up on that screen is subject to orders issued through the Commander Control dial in the console. That’s one feature of the vehicle that CG doesn’t like as much for its attention-diverting nature and complication of seemingly simple tasks like inputting radio-station presets. At least the dual-zone automatic climate control is operated separately and more conveniently.

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Cargo Area
The CX-5 slightly trails class rivals such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 in terms of cargo space. There’s 30.9 cubic feet of volume behind the rear seats, and 59.6 cu. ft. with the rear seat backs folded.

Other items built into the CX-5 Signature are 19-inch alloy wheels, moonroof, power liftgate, windshield-wiper deicers, frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink remote, 10-speaker audio system, navigation,  satellite radio, head-up instrument display, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality. A well-appointed cabin welcomes passengers on to comfortable and supportive Caturra Brown Nappa-leather seats that are heated front and rear and ventilated in front. There’s a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel; genuine wood trim; and LED lighting for the glove box, cargo area, vanity mirrors, and lamps in the overhead console. Safety-related technologies extend to forward collision warning and mitigation (with pedestrian detection), lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and traffic-sign recognition.

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Mazda CX-5
CX-5 Signature models come standard with a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that makes 227 horsepower on regular gas and 250 hp on premium. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are also standard.

Doors open very wide to ease entry and exit. For the vehicle’s size, passenger room is better than cargo space, which lags behind that of some class competitors. Levers in the side walls remotely release the backs of the 40/20/40 rear seats. When retracted, the seats rest nearly flat, albeit at a slight height above the cargo floor. Personal-item storage in the cabin is varied and serves occupants of both rows. The pull-down rear-center armrest not only houses a pair of cup holders but also a shallow covered storage space and the switches for the rear seat heaters.

On balance, CX-5s do a lot of things the right way for acceptable prices. That’s the definition of a Best Buy.

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2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature
Though it’s beginning to show its age against some newer-design rivals, the Mazda CX-5 remains one of our favorite compact SUVs for its fun-to-drive demeanor, zippy available turbocharged engine, and upscale interior.

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2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature

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