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Exclusive: Best-in-class turbo engine likely in 2019 Mazda CX-5 upgrades!

2019 Mazda CX-5 Akera white front

An upgrade to the 2019 Mazda CX-5 is firming for the Australian market, which, among other upgrades, will see the powerful, 170kW/420Nm 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the large CX-9 SUV used in the CX-5 for the first time. Chasing Cars has sighted internal Mazda documents detailing new CX-5 turbo variants for Australia, in addition to updates that will include broader safety technology across the range, with production commencing later this year.

Mazda Australia has told Chasing Cars that there are no announcements to make around the CX-5 at this stage.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Akera Soul Red Crystal front

The documents we have seen detail a range of upgrades to infotainment, comfort, safety and performance for the familiar five-strong range, which for the 2019 model year, will likely retain the familiar grades of Maxx, Maxx Sport, Touring, GT, and Akera.

Additionally, it is proposed that the 2019 CX-5 will also introduce minor exterior changes, as well as ‘major’ interior design changes – alterations that will no doubt help the CX-5 retain its position as the best-selling SUV in the Australian market. So far this year, more than 16,000 CX-5s have been sold locally, giving it a dominant 15.5% share of the medium SUV segment, in which 20 models compete. The next-best seller, the Toyota RAV4, trails the Mazda by more than 2,000 units. By comparison, only 6,146 Volkswagen Tiguans have been sold in the same period.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Akera Soul Red Crystal front

Among these potential updates is a substantial upgrade to the CX-5’s infotainment, which would see Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring technologies added to the existing capabilities of the CX-5’s seven-inch touchscreen, which include navigation and DAB+ digital radio. Mazda has already confirmed that the midsize Mazda 6 will receive the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto upgrade before the end of this year.

On the safety front, the CX-5 could gain a significant extension of safety technology across the range, including radar cruise control, lane keep assist, driver attention warning and automatic high beam across the range. Presently, these driver aids are exclusive features of the flagship Akera, which currently starts at $46,990.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Akera Soul Red Crystal front

The Akera will likely retain its premium positioning through interior upgrades, which are suggested to principally take the form of more upmarket Nappa leather upholstery in a dark hue. The front seats, already heated in the 2018 Akera, will likely pick up ventilation, while the second row should feature heating for the outboard seats. A digital driver’s instrument cluster, like that seen on the 2019 Mazda 6 Atenza, should also be present on the CX-5 Akera.

These rumoured 2019 specifications come hot on the heels of another recent update to the CX-5, which saw the optional diesel engine – a 2.2-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder unit – upgraded to best-in-class 140kW/450Nm outputs.

2018 Mazda 6 SkyActiv-T engine bay

Mazda’s 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol, as seen in the 2019 Mazda 6.

Just as in the Mazda 6 range, this torquey diesel is very likely to be joined by Mazda’s 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol, which makes 170kW/420Nm in the midsize 6 sedan and wagon. This means the CX-5 will sport a class-dominating pair of powerful and torquey turbo engines – one petrol, and one diesel.

We understand that the 2.5-litre turbo petrol will be optional on the GT and Akera – the two premium CX-5 grades. If this decision is confirmed, the 2019 CX-5 range will be composed of four engines.

The basic petrol – a front-wheel-drive, 115kW/200Nm 2.0-litre – will likely remain for the entry-level Maxx model. From there, it’s a step up to the current ‘staple’ CX-5 engine – a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre producing 140kW/252Nm that powers each all-wheel-drive petrol variant in the current range.

2018 Mazda CX-5 range review Touring Akera Maxx

Whether it’s standard or optional, the turbocharged 2.5-litre’s advantages are clear. The turbo unit makes an extra 30kW of power, and it has a 168Nm of additional torque at its disposal. In the midsize Mazda 6, the turbo helps the car sprint to 100km/h in under seven seconds.

The existing, naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre petrol is merely sufficient for the medium SUV class. All-turbo lineups like the Volkswagen Tiguan offer a torquier driving experience – but the likely addition of the CX-9’s turbocharged unit, either as standard or as an option on high-grade CX-5s – will catapult this Mazda to class honours for the strongest petrol engine in a medium SUV.

2017 Mazda CX-5 GT Snowflake White Pearl Side Profile

Only the Ford Escape’s 178kW 2.0-litre turbo beats Mazda’s 2.5-litre turbo on power, though the Mazda unit’s 420Nm of torque eclipses the Ford’s 345Nm by over twenty per cent. That’s before you consider the fact that the CX-9 actually makes 186kW when you use 98 RON petrol – a feat that may be repeatable on the CX-5.

It sounds like we might well be in store for a range of very positive upgrades to the Mazda CX-5 in Australia! We’ll keep you updated with further news on a CX-5 turbo variant – along with the other mooted upgrades – if, or when, they are announced.