The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The Mazda CX-5 has a lofty driving position that SUV fans will appreciate (you feel higher up than in smaller family SUVs such as the Peugeot 3008 and Seat Ateca). The driver's seat is pretty comfortable, too, with height adjustment and adjustable lumbar support fitted in all trims. The top two trims – Sport and GT Sport – have a fully electrically adjustable driver’s seat as standard.
The CX-5's pedals line up neatly with the seat so you’re not sitting at an awkward angle; the adjustable steering has a good range of a height and reach settings, and the dashboard controls are sensibly arranged and easy to use.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The Mazda CX-5's slim windscreen pillars help you see clearly as you approach junctions. Standard LED headlights light the way very clearly at night, and GT Sport trim adds adaptive LEDs, which you can leave on full beam without dazzling other drivers.
The rear window is big so the view directly backwards isn’t too bad, but the thick rear pillars sometimes make it hard to see diagonally. All CX-5s come with front and rear parking sensors and the mid-level Sport trim adds a rear-view camera. Range-topping GT Sport trim upgrades that to a 360deg camera, which displays a bird's eye view of the car on the infotainment screen.
Sat nav and infotainment
The Mazda CX-5’s infotainment system is relatively easy to use. You can control it with the touchscreen when you're parked, but not when you're driving (Mazda considers it too distracting, and we agree). Most rivals have a touchscreen too.
In motion, it’s far safer to use the dial controller, which is mounted just behind the gearlever. It works much like the BMW X3’s iDrive system – you simply twist it to scroll through the menus and press down to make a selection. The 8.0in screen is quite clear and the software is far more responsive and intuitive to use than the Citroën C5 Aircross’s or Peugeot 5008’s.
Built-in sat-nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration are standard with all trim levels, as are two USB ports, which are positioned above a tray where you can put your phone. There are two more USB sockets in the back of the car. A punchy 10-speaker Bose sound system is standard with Sport and GT Sport trims.
The Mazda CX-5 really delivers when it comes to the quality of the interior, which is really solidly put together. It is much classier than the Ford Kuga and its high standards are only beaten by pricier premium rivals such as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
Most 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 well together to enhance the ambience, including leather highlights around the base of the dashboard and, on the range-topping GT Sport, attractive dashboard inserts.
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