Mazda CX-5 review - Interior, design and technology
Styling is smarter, if not too different to the old car, while the interior is driver-focused and feels upmarket
If you liked the previous-generation Mazda CX-5, the chances are you won’t be put off by the redesign. At a glance it looks remarkably similar, but start to look at it in detail and you’ll see it’s distinctly sharper and sportier.
The jutting front end is more muscular than the rounded face of the old car, and the surfacing is very smart. Styling is ultimately subjective, but in our view it’s one of the most attractive designs in the class, giving the SEAT Ateca a run for its money in the desirability stakes.
Inside the design changes are even less radical – the layout and switchgear will be instantly recognisable to owners of the previous CX-5. However, detail changes to the controls ensure it’s even easier to operate things on the move, and there’s a real sense that Mazda wants to driver to be focused on the job of actually driving the car.
The biggest improvement inside is the rise in perceived quality – the CX-5 uses a largely first-rate blend of materials and fit-and-finish is excellent. The old car was already pretty good in this regard, but now the Mazda is on a par with VW for interior polish. Kit levels are fairly strong as well, with SE-L models featuring LED headlights, sat-nav, DAB and dual-zone climate control, while Sport cars include an electric tailgate, electric leather seats, a heated wheel and a head-up display.
Stereo, sat-nav and infotainment
Infotainment used to be a weak link with Mazdas, but in recent years the brand has upped its game. However, compared to the larger infotainment screens found in some rivals, the eight-inch unit in the Mazda trails. The graphics aren’t as sharp as the higher-resolution displays found in VW products, although Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available. Also included are DAB, Bluetooth and three years’ map updates for the standard sat-nav.
The system is relatively easy to operate using the rotary controller on the transmission tunnel, although the menu layout isn’t especially logical and too many inputs are required to perform some tasks.
Sport models and above include a head-up display (dubbed Active Driving Display) that shows speed, sat-nav data and traffic sign recognition, while GT Sport versions feature a 7.0-inch TFT colour screen.
Entry-level cars come with a six-speaker sound system that provides perfectly adequate quality. However, Sport trim offers a Bose ten-speaker surround sound system with a subwoofer and separate tweeters, which should keep audiophiles happy with its punchy and crisp sound.
In this review
- 1Mazda CX-5 reviewThe Mazda CX-5 Mk2 doesn't look much different to the old car, but its tech, comfort and space put it in the leading crossover pack
- 2Engines, performance and driveCX-5 is fun to drive for an SUV, but improved refinement and comfort makes for one of the best all-rounders in the class
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsSkyActiv engine tech makes the Mazda CX-5 decently economical, while insurance should be reasonably cheap
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingStyling is smarter, if not too different to the old car, while the interior is driver-focused and feels upmarket
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe CX-5 isn’t any bigger than before, although little detail changes help to make it more practical and comfortable
- 6Reliability and SafetyWe see no reason why the CX-5 would be any less reliable than the old one, while strong safety rating is expected