Can it survive the daily grind?

It’s no secret that we have an affinity for the Mazda CX-5. Stylish, fun to drive, versatile, and relatively affordable, the CX-5 offers almost everything we look for in a mainstream compact crossover vehicle. Thanks to the arrival of a new 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four and G-Vectoring Control Plus, which now applies light braking to the outside wheels to assist in returning the steering wheels back to center upon exiting a turn, our affection for this compact Mazda crossover is stronger than ever.

The turbocharged CX-5’s additional power, however, comes at a cost. Whereas a front-wheel-drive CX-5 with the standard 187-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder starts at $24,350, the all-wheel-drive-only turbo model wears a base price of $34,870. Blame Mazda’s decision to limit the more powerful engine to the high-end Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims, the former of which costs $3,425 more than a similarly spec’d, but less powerful, all-wheel-drive CX-5 Grand Touring.

Although competitively priced, the turbocharged CX-5’s higher out-the-door cost does risk cutting into its overall value. That’s why we’re eager to spend time with our top-of-the-line CX-5 Signature long-term vehicle.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Lont Term
2019 Mazda CX-5 Lont Term

How We Spec’d It

Equipped with a $595 coat of Soul Red paint, our Mazda wears a sticker price of $38,530, including a $1,045 destination fee. To that, we added a handful of dealer-installed accessories, including $60 in wheel locks, a $70 cargo mat, a $125 rear bumper guard, a $250 rear cargo cover, $400 in illuminated door sill trim plates, and a $450 trailer hitch, which brought the final tally to $39,885. Admittedly, we went a little overboard with the accessories, but we figure it’s better to play it safe. Who knows if we’ll need to use the Mazda’s 3,500-pound towing capacity to haul another jet ski to the beach in the upcoming months?

We’re more likely to use the Signature-trim-specific surround-view camera and associated front and rear parking sensors to ensure we avoid any scrapes or scratches maneuvering around South Florida’s hectic streets and alleyways. Opting for the CX-5 Signature also adds luxuries such as real wood trim, brown leather seats and interior trim, a frameless rearview mirror, LED interior lights, and more. Are these niceties really worth the additional $2,020 price of the Signature over the Grand Touring Reserve? We’ll find out over the course of our test. For now, we’re simply appreciating the Signature’s luxury-car-like details and rich interior materials.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Lont Term
2019 Mazda CX-5 Lont Term

Adventure Awaits

We’re also enjoying its 59.6 cubic feet of available cargo space. As a production vehicle first, the CX-5’s cargo hold promises to swallow any camera and film equipment we throw its way. And if the precedent set by our former long-term Honda Pilot is anything to go by, then our Mazda is sure to take on a crucial role in Motor1.com’s production of high-quality photos and videos.

The CX-5 is also earmarked as a staff adventure vehicle, and our editors plan to road trip the Mazda around the Sunshine State. With a pair of comfortable, heated and cooled front buckets and a cushy three-across rear bench with heated outboard seats, the CX-5 promises long-haul enjoyment. The fact this crossover is as engaging to toss around on backroads as it is at whiling away miles on the highway is simply an added bonus. Needless to say, we can’t wait to hit the road in our long-term CX-5.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Lont Term

Gallery: 2019 Mazda CX-5 Long Term