In the pursuit of a more comfortable driving experience, the base of the centre console has been raised compared with its predecessor, placing the manual gearlever closer to hand. It’s a simple update, but one that has a significant impact, making it feel like the interior has been designed around the driver.
In addition, the CX-5's pedals are in line with the driver's seat, so you never end up sitting twisted to the left or right on long journeys. Sport Nav models – like our test car – are poised to get six-way electric seat adjustment, which makes finding the perfect driving position that bit easier. You also get powered lumbar adjustment on these models.
Mazda CX-5 visibility
The CX-5's thin front pillars help you see clearly when approaching roundabouts or T-junctions, since they don’t obscure oncoming traffic. Similarly, your view sideways is good thanks to the large windows and sensibly low windowline.
With a big rear screen the view directly backwards isn’t too bad, either, but the thick rear side pillars rather obstruct your over-the-shoulder vision when reversing into that tight parking space.
Mazda CX-5 infotainment
The Mazda’s standard 7.0in touchscreen media system is a slick, neatly presented system. The Audi-esque rotary controller, mounted just behind the gearlever, makes the system easy to control, while the display is clear and easy to read. The only obvious omission is Apple Car Play and Android Auto, although sat-nav comes as standard.
Adding to the media system’s ease of use is the fact that the USB ports and auxiliary connector are mounted just in front of the gearlever, above a tray that can hold your mobile phone. It means you don’t have to trail cables around the cabin, or fumble around in the glovebox to find a connector.
Mazda CX-5 build quality
Interior quality is good, and the dashboard in particular is a great example of simplistic design. However, the CX-5’s interior just falls short of class-leading rivals in other areas, with the standard of stitching on parts of the seats, for example, not quite up there with cars such as the Peugeot 5008. However, we have only tested pre-production models – Mazda says quality will be improved slightly when the car enters production.
Most of the surfaces are soft to the touch, and those that aren’t tend to be hidden low down. There’s an eclectic mix of materials that work together to enhance the ambience, including leather highlights around the centre console and, depending on which trim you opt for, attractive plastic or wood inserts across the dashboard and on the doors.