2021 Mazda CX-5 Signature: A ruby in the dark

The tale of the tape

The CX-5 Signature is the top-tier trim level for the compact crossover, offering an excellent blend of performance and luxury to the open road. Base MSRP is $37,405, $38,125 as tested during the week it was with me.

Dressed in its finest Soul Red Crystal Metallic (a $595 paint option), the Signature trim includes 19-inch alloys wrapped in Toyo A36 all-seasons, auto-folding mirrors, rear privacy glass, LED lighting, and much, much more. The only other option chosen for this example was the rear bumper guard, worth $125 for extra peace of mind.

Under the hood is the sole engine for the entire CX-5 line, a 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G inline-four. With the Signature trim, though, a turbo is included, pumping up the power from 187 hrsprs and 186 trqs (as found in the base Sport trim) to 227 and 310, respectively.

However, if you put premium into the tank, you unlock all the power available from this turbo-four: 250 hrsprs and 320 trqs! All that power, in turn, goes through a six-speed automatic to all of the corners, though most of the time, the i-ACTIV system keeps it towards the front.

Within the luxurious confines, the CX-5 Signature offers Caturra Brown nappa leather seating for five. The 40/20/40 rear seats provide plenty of ways to hold your luggage and friends or family, plus a center fold-down unit with USB ports hidden under the lid. Meanwhile, the driver can enjoy the eight-way adjustable seat for the long trip ahead.

And speaking of ahead, there’s a heads-up display, which can be adjusted via Mazda Connect to get the best angle and brightness to better keep your eyes on both the road, and your speed.

In the center, a 10.25-inch display with Mazda Connect handles the infotainment you and yours could ever need (not to mention the Bose sound system and Sirius XM subscription kicking out the jams), all at the turn of the dial below the shifter.

Of course, if OEM doesn’t do it for ya, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, too.

Speaking of Android Auto, though…

As you can see, my Pixel 3a is connected to Mazda Connect via Bluetooth. It is also plugged into the USB1 port which would, in normal circumstances, allow use of Android Auto.

However, the USB1 port is grayed-out. Meaning I couldn’t use Android Auto or play any audio through USB. In fact, the only thing I could do while connected was charge my phone. I looked around to find out how to fix it, stumbling upon enough Reddit threads to try to make it work.

All to no avail, alas.

It’s certainly the final straw to drive me over to Apple’s iOS, closing a six-year-long chapter with Android.

Still, Mazda Connect did help with a few trips, particularly the one I took with my mom to the newly remodeled Sheetz in nearby Fairlawn on my last full day with the CX-5; since it wouldn’t be re-opened to the public until the following day, it was also the perfect place for a photoshoot with the crossover.

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