The 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature Might Be Too Sporty for Its Own Good

A compact crossover with nearly 300 hp and an all-wheel drivetrain sounds like a dream. With a setup like that, the little SUV would be quick, capable, and best of all, practical. That’s essentially what the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature model attempts to accomplish. I spent a week with it and while I loved its power and tall stature, I felt like it might actually be too sporty for its own good.

A front corner view of the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature on an open road.
A front corner view of the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature on an open road. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

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The 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature has plenty of power for all occasions

2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature side view on an open road
2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature side view on an open road. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

There are two different engines to choose from when shopping for a 2022 Mazda CX-5. The lower trim levels carry a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four that produces 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. While the top Turbo trim levels, including the Signature, are equipped with a more-potent turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that generates 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.

As you can imagine, that force-fed engine provides plenty of thrust when quick acceleration onto the freeway or when passing a slower car is needed. It’s also nice when you want to play around on canyon roads as I did during my time with the CX-5 Turbo.

According to KBB, the turbocharged engine makes its peak torque from a low 2,000 rpm, which makes the powerband very usable for daily driving. However, I found out that if you wring it out, it actually could be better on a race track.

It’s hard to use all of the Mazda CX-5 Turbo’s power and agility on the streets

A driver's view of the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature in Sport mode.
A driver’s view of the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature in Sport mode. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Don’t get me wrong, having all of that power is excellent for daily driving. Whenever I wanted to catch up to traffic ahead or beat the Prius sitting next to me at the light, I could bury my right foot and feel the power. There’s a bit of lag as the engine works its way through the RPM range and transmits power through the six-speed automatic transmission. However, my main qualm is that when it comes to tight turns, the CX-5’s top-heavy stature doesn’t mix well with its potent power maker.

During my time with the Mazda CX-5 Turbo, I put it through its paces on a twisty canyon road. I flipped it into Sport mode so that the transmission would hold the gears longer and the throttle would sharpen to give me the full experience. But when I threw the small SUV into the corners, I didn’t feel confident that the suspension and all-season tires were up to the task. Also, the turbo engine felt a little lazy when accelerating onto the straightaways.

I know, not many CX-5 buyers would likely drive their cars like this on a daily basis, but it’s important to know what you’re getting. And when it comes to the Mazda CX-5 Turbo, you’re getting a powerful SUV that may not need all of that power.

Who is the Mazda CX-5 Turbo for?

A front view of the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature on a dirt road.
A front view of the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature on a dirt road. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

In my opinion, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo is for anyone that needs the practicality of a crossover but wants the power for the rare times they can put it to use. I say “rare” because, in my time spent tooling around town and cruising on the highway, I think the base engine would have done me just fine.

All that being said, if you just need a Mazda CX-5 to get from point A to B and carry your family in comfort, save your money and buy the base model. But if you really want the extra power, then the turbo model will suit you. Just don’t expect it to handle like a race car.  

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