What are they like inside?
Getting comfortable is easiest in the Mazda. Its seats and steering wheel are simple to adjust and there’s adjustable lumbar support.
If anything, the Honda’s front seats are marginally more comfortable and they, too, have adjustable lumbar support. The CR-V also edges the CX-5 for over-the-shoulder visibility, although the Honda’s steering wheel doesn’t adjust low enough.
Meanwhile, the Subaru’s seats are flat and short on shoulder support, while adjustable lumbar support isn’t even available as an option. That’s a shame, because the electrically adjusted front seats make it easy to find a comfortable driving position, and all-round visibility is the best here.
The Honda and Mazda will appeal most if rear passenger space is a priority. Both offer identical leg room – plenty for a couple of six-footers. The CX-5 has slightly more head room, but middle rear passengers are forced to straddle a chunky transmission tunnel that runs along the centre of the floor. The CR-V’s floor is completely flat.
The Subaru has even more rear leg room than its rivals, but its standard sunroof eats up a lot of head space; anyone much more than six feet tall will struggle.
Officially, the Honda has the most luggage space – its load bay is certainly the longest and the deepest with the rear seats in place. However, the Forester’s is slightly wider and is the only one without a loading lip.
To fold down the rear seats in any of these cars you simply pull a lever on the side of the boot and the seatbacks drop. They’re split 40/20/40 in the case of the Mazda and 60/40 in the Honda and Subaru. The Forester has the longest extended load bay, which is handy when carrying flatpack furniture or taking tall items to the tip. By contrast, the Honda has the shortest extended load bay and the narrowest boot opening.
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