$19,265 - $25,407

2018 Mazda CX-5 Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 8.4

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 has a great interior that punches above its weight. It’s well-designed, and the material quality is extremely high for a compact SUV. The cabin is quiet at speeds, and both rows of seats are spacious and comfortable. Cargo space isn’t terrible, but many rivals provide more room. The infotainment system, however, is a bit awkward to operate.

  • "Mazda's interiors feel a class-above: From the standard push-button start and 7-inch touch-screen display with command dial down to the elegant air vents surrounded by brightwork, this is one classy cabin." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There are new door seals, added sound deadening and new acoustic glass, all of which work in concert to keep the cabin more isolated and free of wind and road noise. It's a very quiet cabin." -- Cars.com (2017)
  • "Particularly in the Grand Touring trim with two-tone treatment, the revamped interior has an upscale design that evokes Audi's clinical modernism. Although much of the switchgear is carryover, the new look emphasizes symmetry, simplicity, and intuitive operation. Visually, the dashboard looks less monolithic, and the pad is now sculpted and stitched." -- Motor Trend (2017)

Seating

The Mazda CX-5 seats five on standard cloth upholstery. Leatherette/suede seats, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel are available.

The front seats in this compact SUV are supportive on long drives, and they have plenty of head- and legroom. The rear seats likewise provide plenty of space, but that doesn’t mean you can expect to fit three adults comfortably in the back.

There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for installing car seats. The large doors help when putting child seats in the back, but the lower anchors are set a little deep in the seat. The tether anchors are easy to find and identify.

  • "Then there's the driving position. Engineers took great pains to make sure that the wheel is perfectly centered and that the accelerator and dead pedals are positioned exactly at shoulder width. The seats were designed using NASA data to provide an ideal body position, and in practice, the Grand Touring trim provides ample eight-way power adjustability for even tall drivers. The steering wheel was also scientifically redesigned to fit in your hands better. Much like the entire driving experience, sitting behind the wheel just feels right." -- Autoblog (2017)
  • "There's great headroom and good legroom in front, and the seat in the Grand Touring seemed more coddling than most. Rear-seaters also have great headroom, and my 5'9 frame had plenty of legroom remaining even with the seat ahead pushed all the way back. Egress is eased by the taller ride height, and though the rear doors open fairly wide, the door frame may catch some hips on the way out." -- Consumer Guide (2017)
  • "Rear legroom is class competitive, but where the CX-5 excels is in headroom: There was 3-4 inches of space between the top of my head and the ceiling without the seat reclined, which helps provide a feeling of space for backseat passengers." -- Cars.com (2017)

Interior Features

Standard features in the CX-5 include a four-speaker sound system, two USB ports, Bluetooth, HD Radio, push-button start, a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system (Mazda Connect), voice-command activation, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and low-speed automatic braking.

Available features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-speaker audio system, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, two additional USB ports, navigation, a moonroof, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a head-up display with traffic sign recognition.

Some of the CX-5’s infotainment controls are awkwardly down on the console near the shifter, rather than up on the dash. Additionally, the controls for some functions aren’t that intuitive, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to the technology in this SUV. Also, the infotainment system doesn’t let you use the touch screen while on the move, and it doesn’t feature Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

See 2018 Mazda CX-5 specs »

  • Once the system is set up to personal preferences, and with extended seat time behind the wheel, it is fairly easy to use. The main flaws, in my opinion, are the awkward location of the volume control on the center console and the requirement to use the system to change stations or media sources. As previously mentioned, adding a power and volume knob, a tuning and source knob, and a row of radio station pre-set buttons would go a long way toward making Mazda Connect more intuitive and less distracting." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • The 7-inch touchscreen for the Mazda Connect infotainment system has moved to the top of the dashboard where it sits higher up in the driver's line of sight, similar to its placement in the CX-9 and Mazda3. (When the car is in motion, the touchscreen functionality ceases and a rotary control on the center console must be used.) Unfortunately, there is still no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration." -- Cars.com (2017)
  • Consumer Guide has never been a big fan of Mazda's console-control-knob infotainment interface – or of similar systems used in many other makes – but it's admittedly less cumbersome than some and even less so once you get used to it. Mazda's system includes a touchscreen with some redundant controls (which many others do not), though it's a bit of a stretch to reach, and it's inactive when the car is moving. Our stance remains, however, that using a touchscreen is usually faster, which means less time with your eyes off the road. Climate controls include a rotary temperature knob but less-convenient repetitive-step pushbuttons for fan speed and mode, and though mounted a bit low, they're easy to reach." -- Consumer Guide (2017)

Cargo

The Mazda CX-5 has 30.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 59.6 cubic feet with them folded. Those aren’t bad totals, but they’re not impressive compared to what some competitors provide. A power liftgate is optional.

  • "In back, the cargo area is wide at the rear, and the folded rear seat backs rest flat and level with the cargo floor (and have releases both on the seat back and in the cargo area – a nice touch), making it easy to slide long items forward." -- Consumer Guide (2017)
  • "At 59.6 cubic feet, its maximum falls way short of the CR-V, RAV4, and Forester. Really, that just reiterates that if you want the most stroller-stuffing capability, the CX-5 still isn't for you." -- Autoblog (2017)
  • "Flat-box shoppers will be pleased to learn that the cargo bay no longer has a slight step when the rear seats are folded forward, but the consequence is a slightly raised floor (2.2 inches) that reduces overall volume by 3.2 or 5.2 cubic feet with rear seats up or folded, respectively. Total measurements are still competitive at 30.9 cubic feet nominal and 59.6 cubic feet maximum. The rear hatch now has the option of power assist and programmable height." -- Motor Trend (2017)

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