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In-depth reviews

Mazda CX-5 review - Interior, design and technology

With smart styling and an upmarket, driver-focused cabin, the Mazda CX-5 is an attractive mid-size family SUV

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.1 out of 5

Price
£31,020 to £42,635
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The CX-5's 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. There are clear elements of Mazda’s overarching Kuro influence here – sharing design traits with the MX-5 and Mazda3. 

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The design changes from the facelift are even less radical inside – the layout and switchgear will be instantly recognisable to owners of the first-generation 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 the 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 Centre Line models featuring 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and dual-zone climate control. For an extra £1,000 you could have the Newground specification which adds bigger 19-inch alloys, black exterior and interior trim with lime green accents, and heated seated heats with six-way power adjustment.

Moving up to Exclusive-Line brings niceties such as black leather upholstery, a wireless charging function, a heated steering wheel and a power tailgate, with Homura and Takumi trims upping the luxury look with gloss black exterior finishes, Nappa leather upholstery and front seat ventilation and rear outer seat heating.

Stereo, sat-nav and infotainment 

Infotainment used to be a weak link with Mazdas, but in recent years the brand has upped its game, particularly with the introduction of the larger 10.25-inch infotainment screen you find in the CX-5. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, along with DAB, Bluetooth and five years’ map updates for the standard sat-nav.

If you’re not a fan of touchscreens then the CX-5’s rotary controller will be a breath of fresh air. The controller is easy to operate on the move, although the menu layout isn’t especially logical and too many inputs are required to perform some tasks. 

Entry-level cars come with a six-speaker sound system that provides perfectly adequate quality. However, Exclusive-Line trim and above offers a Bose ten-speaker audio system with a subwoofer and separate tweeters, which should keep audiophiles happy with its punchy and crisp sound.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    2.0 e-Skyactiv G MHEV Centre-Line 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £31,020

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.2d [184] Exclusive-Line 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £36,320

Fastest

  • Name
    2.2d [184] Exclusive-Line 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £36,320
Executive editor

Paul was employed across automotive agency and manufacturer-side sectors before joining Auto Express in 2020 as our online reviews editor. After a brief sojourn at a national UK newspaper, Paul returned as executive editor where he now works closely with our commercial partners.

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