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

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. 

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 steering wheel and a head-up display. If you're after a model that stands out in the range, the Newground and Sport Black editions build on the SE-L and Sport trims respectively, adding individual trim accents and extra kit.

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. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, along with DAB, Bluetooth and five 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, along with 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 audio system with a subwoofer and separate tweeters, which should keep audiophiles happy with its punchy and crisp sound.

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