Mazda CX-5 SUV (2012-2017) - Interior & comfort
The Mazda CX-5 is quiet and comfortable, but interior quality is a bit disappointing
Like all high-riding SUVs, the Mazda CX-5 is easy to climb into and gives you a commanding view of the road ahead once you’re in place. It also has comfortable seats and plenty of adjustment for the seats and steering wheel to make finding a suitable driving position easy.
Visibility out the back is spoiled by two blind spots caused by the rear window pillars, but standard parking sensors mean this isn’t a major issue. On the move, the CX-5 is nice and quiet, and this, in combination with the comfortable ride, makes it an excellent long-distance cruiser.
Mazda CX-5 dashboard
Dark plastics and a drab, flat design look pretty disappointing next to the ultra-modern, sleek and minimalist designs of upmarket rivals such as the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, while even the more mainstream Nissan Qashqai looks fresher and feels higher quality.
On the plus side, the dashboard feels solid and robust and most of the controls are clear and logically laid-out, so the CX-5 is an easy car to get used to. It also features a seven-inch, full-colour touchscreen in the centre console, incorporating DAB radio, USB ports and Mazda's MZD Connect system for pairing your smartphone with the car.
The Mazda CX-5 is a well equipped car. Although its base price is higher than some rivals, that at least means there's no bare-bones version that lacks much of the kit family buyers take for granted.
The cheapest SE-L Nav version includes most of the equipment anyone could realistically want, such as sat nav, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, parking sensors, electric windows all round, power-folding door mirrors, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and a leather steering wheel, plus Bluetooth, USB and MP3 player connectivity.
The touchscreen infotainment system can also be controlled by a joystick-like selector, which is far more intuitive than the previous generation's efforts, and helps to clean up the dashboard. The facelift has also seen the introduction of features such as manual passenger seat height adjustment, an electronic parking brake and coming/leaving home headlights.
SE-L Lux adds a sunroof, power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery and a leather gearknob. These are nice touches and if a leather interior is important to you, the SE-L Lux Nav can be justified. If you’re not fussed about leather, these additions don't really justify the higher price and won't make much difference to the car's value on the secondhand market.
Sport Nav is the top-of-the-range version, packing in desirable luxury toys such as ultra-bright bi-xenon headlamps, a reversing camera, a powerful nine-speaker Bose stereo system and a unique design of LED front lights to set it apart from the rest of the range.
Like many Japanese cars, the Mazda CX-5 doesn't have an extensive options list – Mazda simply prefers buyers to choose the spec level with the equipment they want. Accessories include a metallic step plate for the rear bumper, different designs of alloy wheel, metallic pedals and scuff plates for the interior, roof boxes and bike racks as well as the usual selection of floor mats, boot protection and mudflaps that can be fitted by the dealer.