New Kia Sportage vs New Mazda CX-5: practicality

An update gives us cause to take a fresh look at Mazda’s CX-5 – and find out whether it’s a better buy than talented family SUV rivals such as the all-new Kia Sportage...

New Kia Sportage rear space

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

There’s very little to separate our contenders when it comes to space in the front, other than the fact that the Mazda CX-5’s standard-fit sunroof eats into head room a bit. If you’re well over six feet tall, it might be worth trying before buying, but everyone else will find that they have more than enough room.

There’s also plenty of storage space in the front of both cars, including large cubbyholes beneath the centre armrests, trays for phones and a pair of cupholders in each. You might bash your elbow on tall drinks bottles in the CX-5, though, because its cupholders are positioned quite close to the armrest.

New Mazda CX-5 rear space

There shouldn’t be many complaints from rear passengers in either car. There’s barely anything in it for head or leg room, so a couple of tall adults will fit easily – although the CX-5 feels a little more claustrophobic, because its sunroof lowers the height of the ceiling more towards the front of the car.

Its darker rooflining doesn’t help, either. However, the CX-5’s higher-set front seats free up more foot space for those sitting behind – useful if anyone is wearing chunky footwear.

New Kia Sportage headrests

If you’re carrying three people in the back, the Kia Sportage is more accommodating for whoever’s in the middle. That’s because there’s a smaller hump in the floor, along with a more comfortable backrest. It’s far from perfect, though; the mounts for the front seats, located on either side of the floor hump, mean you still need to sit with your legs splayed quite far apart, bashing knees with those on either side of you.

Neither car gives you the ability to slide the rear seats fore and aft to prioritise leg room or boot space, but at least you can recline the backrests. Those in the Sportage offer a wider range of movement, so your passengers can kick back in greater comfort. The CX-5 offers just two settings and you sit fairly upright either way.

New Mazda CX-5 steering wheel

Both of our contenders have large, practical boots. Each can swallow eight carry-on suitcases beneath its load cover – although there’s more space left over in the Sportage. With the standard height-adjustable boot floors in their high positions, there’s no lip at the entrance of either, and large openings make loading similarly easy, although the Sportage misses out on the CX-5’s powered tailgate.

Both have 12-volt sockets for powering accessories, as well as levers in the boot to remotely fold down the rear seatbacks (which are split in handy 40/20/40 configuration). Do so and they lie fully flat, with no step in the extended boot floor.

Boot space

Kia Sportage 

New Kia Sportage boot space

Boot 591-1780 litres Suitcases 8

Mazda CX-5

New Mazda CX-5 boot space

Boot 522-1638 litres Suitcases 8

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