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February 4, 2019

Interior design and technology – Mazda CX-5

Launched in June 2017, the current and second-generation Mazda CX-5 was updated last summer with additional standard safety equipment, the introduction of a petrol automatic model and a power increase for the 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D diesel engine. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside this medium-sized crossover.

Launched in June 2017, the current and second-generation Mazda CX-5 was updated last summer with additional standard safety equipment, the introduction of a petrol automatic model and a power increase for the 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D diesel engine.  Continuing QUBE/just-auto’s review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside this medium-sized crossover.

Behind the wheel

Driver comforts include dual-zone climate control, eight-way power adjustable seat, keyless entry, heated front seats and steering wheel, plus a windscreen projecting head-up display (HUD). The displayed information on the HUD is divided into upper and lower zones. Driving information, including navigation turn-by-turn direction, and routing and speed limit information, is displayed in the upper section; vehicle status – current speed and advanced safety equipment status, below.

The throne-like driving position of this SUV has been tweaked to improve the lofty status. These refinements include raising the floor console to bring the gearlever higher and closer to the steering wheel (60 mm on the automatic or 40 mm on the manual) for driver comfort. Also, setting the centre console and door armrests to near identical heights provides the driver with a more balanced and relaxed seating space.

The well thought-out cockpit has the wraparound feel of a coupé with soft-touch surfaces, stitched lines and satin accents to give a plusher feel. It also feels practical and robust with intuitive controls and decent-sized cubby holes and glovebox. The Bose audio system tweeters are neatly incorporated into the relatively thin A-pillars.

On the connectivity front, MZD-Connect is Mazda’s mobile connectivity concept which expands on in-vehicle features available in models, such as Bluetooth, email, SMS and sat-nav. The infotainment system is displayed on a tablet-style touchscreen that protrudes from the centre of the dash. It can also be operated using a rotary dial controller, mounted on the centre console behind the gear lever. Apple CarPlay and Android are standard across the trim levels for smartphone mirroring.

Seating

The bulky exterior gives plenty of room on the inside, too. The cavernous cabin provides more than enough room to seat five tall adults without any complaints.  The front seats felt both comfortable and supportive on some long motorway journeys. They feature new seatback suspension mats which support the occupant’s upper body whilst evenly dispersing body pressure over a wide area.

During a week in which temperatures in Britain tumbled to just above or below freezing most days, the heated front leather seats made it a comfortable place to spend time behind the wheel. Another welcome feature, particularly at this time of year, is a wiper de-icing system that uses an electric heating element within the glass beneath the wipers, preventing them from freezing up and failing to operate after the engine is started in extremely cold weather.

Unlike similar-priced rivals, a seven-seater CX-5 is not available. The rear seats split in a useful 40/20/40 arrangement and fold forwards in a jiffy by pulling a couple of handles on the seat shoulders and on either side of the boot.

Storage

There are plenty of places inside the CX-5 to store stuff and charge gadgets. The console box beneath the centre armrest is fitted with a groove to accommodate the power cord of devices attached to the USB port, power outlet and twin aux-in ports located within it. The flock-lined glove box is shaped to accommodate a 10-inch tablet. The capacity of both front and rear door pockets has been increased over the first-generation CX-5 and their bases lined with a non-slip finish.

As with so many other SUVs, the tailgate is powered, operated via switches on the tailgate, smart key or the dash. The boot itself has just over 500 litres of luggage space with the seats in place and some 1,620 litres of space with the rear seats folded flat. The use of a 9 mm thinner boot floor board allied to the reorganisation of the tool storage layout has added 20 litres of space to the under-floor storage area.

Active and passive safety technologies

The CX-5 incorporates a number of active and passive safety technologies. The active safety kit includes adaptive LED Headlights, driver attention alert, rear smart city brake support and 360o view monitor.  Making its first appearance in a Mazda, the CX-5 includes traffic sign recognition and projects this information on the HUD.

If that isn’t enough, other standard safety equipment across the range includes Mazda radar cruise control, advanced blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, high beam control, lane keep assist and smart brake support. The latter uses a forward sensing camera, which has an expanded detection distance and widened view angle. The forward detection speed range has grown from 2-19mph to 2-50mph. The blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert uses a millimetre-wave radar sensor to monitor the blind spot areas to the sides and rear of the CX-5, keeping the driver aware of vehicles approaching when, for example, changing lanes.

Further standard active safety equipment to boost its credentials includes a four-wheel anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, dynamic stability control, a traction control system, an emergency stop signalling system and hill launch assist.

On balance, the interior of the Mazda CX-5 is spacious and well thought through with lots of high-tech kit to justify the price. While it is not a fashion statement, its no-nonsense shape and robust interior make it the perfect runabout. Its comfortable drive is partly thanks to NVH refinements, suspension set up and a cabin filled with dense, soft materials. Although it lacks a third row of seats, the luggage space is provided in a practical square shape. Plenty of cup-holders, cubby holes and a range of power sockets dotted around are welcome. The car’s fuel economy lived up to expectations, too. Fully loaded up with passengers and clutter, the 2.2-litre diesel automatic AWD delivered more than enough power when needed. While the headlined combined fuel economy is 51.4 mpg, our spin covering mainly motorways came close to that average. Although the CX-5 won’t set pulses racing, it can be relied upon as a practical, family-friendly car.

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