New Citroen C5 Aircross & Honda CR-V vs Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 has long been one of the best large, five-seat SUVs, but now its position at the top of the class is being threatened by two all-new models...

Citroen C5 Aircross rear seat

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

Both the C5 and CX-5 we tested had a panoramic roof fitted (£990 in the former, standard in the latter), and while these reduce front head room, it’s not by enough to unduly concern six-footers. If, however, you’re very tall, you’ll prefer the CR-V. All three cars have a similar amount of front leg room, but the CR-V’s interior is wider, giving you room to spread out with abandon.

The CR-V has the smallest door bins, but under its front armrest you’ll find an excellent divider that slides, flips around and can even be removed altogether, so you can arrange it to provide segregated areas or a void big enough for a laptop. The C5 has a big trough under its centre armrest but a smaller glovebox, and the CX-5 isn’t tight for storage, either, with a decent-sized glovebox.

Honda CR-V rear seats

Rear space is where we sort the men from the boys. Literally, perhaps, because if you have to transport a couple of mature prop forwards, the CR-V’s vast rear seats will do a grand job; head and leg room are superb and there’s lots of foot space under the front seats. Wide-opening doors make getting in and out the easiest, too. The CX-5 also provides plenty of foot space and lots of head room but far less leg room for big fellas.

It’s the C5 that has the least leg room and foot space, albeit only by a centimetre or so, while head room really is poor, with that panoramic sunroof proving severely restrictive for anyone approaching 6ft tall. At least reclining rear seats are standard (as in the CX-5), allowing you to improve clearance slightly. The C5’s seats also slide, while the CR-V’s don’t do anything clever. 

Mazda CX-5 rear seats

With almost no central floor hump and a comfortable middle seat, the C5 is better than the CX-5 when you need to squeeze three people in the back. The CR-V is best for shoulder space, but its middle seat has a rather annoying hump.

Both the C5 and CR-V have large boots (the former is longer, while the latter is taller); each is able to swallow nine carry-on suitcases. The CX-5 has the most restricted luggage hold and managed to swallow only eight suitcases, plus it’s the only car with a lip that you must lift items over, rather than a boot floor flush with the bumper. If you need more room, the CR-V has 60/40-split folding rear seats, while the C5’s and CX-5’s have more flexible three-part splits.

Citroën C5 Aircross

Citroen C5 Aircross boot

Boot 580-1630 litres Suitcases 9

Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V boot space

Boot 561-1756 litres Suitcases 9

Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 boot space

Boot 506-1377 litres Suitcases 8

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