2021 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD

Signature is the top of the line
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
December 29, 2020Updated: December 29, 2020

Mazda’s CX-5 is an excellent 5-passenger compact SUV. It is fun to drive because of the agility and peppy engine.

Fit for the top-end model, the interior is sophisticated, even elegant in the rich good looks. Seating is comfortable, and the newly revamped large 10.25-inch touch screen Mazda Connect Infotainment System complements the Nappa leather-trimmed seats. The driver’s seat is 8-way power adjustable with power lumbar support and 2-position memory. Front and rear seats are heated, but only the front occupants enjoy ventilated seating on hot days. The tilt/telescopic steering wheel is also heated.

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Mazda Connect user controls. (Courtesy of Mazda)

For connectivity, Mazda offers up Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Mazda Connect services, Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. Sound is produced through a Bose 10-speaker surround sound system.

The Mazda CX-5 Signature is powered by a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter engine with Dynamic Pressure Turbo, punching out 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque with 87 octane fuel. Feed it 93 octane gas and the power rating gets bumped to 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. This powered is carried through a SKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode.

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Bose speakers. (Courtesy of Mazda)

On the mileage front, Mazda CX-5 turbo AWD achieves 27 mpg highway and 22 mpg city, for a combined 24 mpg average.

To go with this power and great mileage is the stopping power provided by 12.6-inch front ventilated disc brakes and 11.9-inch rear solid disc brakes. Off-Road Traction Assist is a smart electronic rear differential lock that will figure out which wheels need to apply power to, when the vehicle is stuck in a slippery spot with free-spinning wheels. This feature will gets you out of such snow, ice, sand, or mud situation.

Outside, the CX-5 Signature is painted Machine Gray Metallic. It rests on 19-inch alloy wheels wearing all-season tires. There are quite a few nice and helpful things, such as rain-sensing windshield wipers, fixed intermittent rear wipers, and windshield wiper de-icer for the bad weather days. Other features like heated power mirror with turn lamps, auto power-folding side mirrors, rear privacy glass, power moon roof, and power lift-gate further add to the quality exterior ensemble.

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Looking from the side. (Courtesy of Mazda)

However, I felt the rear middle seat was too narrow and the outboard cushions intrude into the middle seat space. The front seats were comfortable for adults and there was ample leg and head room even with the moonroof. Second-row legroom is adequate and other spaces are okay for short trips.

The driver’s seat is high and gives the driver a commanding seating position with good visibility all around. I could have done with a little more luggage space.

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Inside the CX-5. (Courtesy of Mazda)

The Mazda CX-5 has an outstanding NHTSA 5-star safety rating, scoring 5 stars for overall vehicle score, and all frontal crash and side crash categories. The only 4-star score is for the rollover rating.

It is easier to understand these high ratings when you have numerous standard features like Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Smart Brake Support with Collision Warning, Advanced Smart City Brake Support with Pedestrian Detection, and Lane Departure Warning System with Lane-keep Assist to help you stay safe.

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A handsome front design. (Courtesy of Mazda)

Mazda provides yet more standard safety and security features on the CX-5, like rearview camera, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Hill Launch Assist, Ring Structure unibody construction, side-impact door beams, and front seat belt pre-tensioners.

The MSRP for Mazda CX-5 starts at $25,270 for entry-level Sport trim. The price goes all the way up $37,405 for the Signature AWD.

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at his paper or durhlcaussey@gmail.com.