2019 CX-5 New Car Test Drive
The CX-5 is an eye-catching compact crossover. It doesn't look boxy. It states style. The styling changes made for 2017 were subtle, and should hold up for years.
It's a cliche to say a car looks like it's moving when it's standing still, but it's a near-impossibility to say that about a crossover. However we will say it about the CX-5.
The front pillars are pushed back, and the shoulders follow. There's a slim chrome boomerang under the windows to accelerate the flow. The mesh grille is classier than chrome bars in other SUVs, a bold rounded trapezoid that reaches toward LED headlamps. The black cladding is thin and the taillamps are tidy.
The CX-5 cabin is much like that of the more deluxe CX-9. It's enhanced by some of the details that were addressed for 2017, for example clean interior lighting, a tidy steering wheel, and a shift lever located in a natural position for the driver's hand. Mazda pays close attention to ergonomics. The pushed-back A pillars allow good visibility from the driver's seat, and better ergonomics because the armrests are raised to a more natural position.
Thanks to the addition of nearly 100 pounds of sound-deadening material, the cabin is as quiet as a Lexus. However, cabin engineers missed a couple things. The 7.0-inch touchscreen sits atop the dash, a bit too far away, and reflects smudges. The resolution is sharp, but the infotainment system is finicky; things like programming presets or entering destinations take more touches than should be necessary, and the controller on the center console is a bit hard to grip.
Mazda takes a Spartan approach to infotainment. This works when it makes things simple, but it's difficult to find a happy functioning medium.
There's decent shoulder room in the rear, with rear doors that open wide. Thanks to scalloping in the back of the front seats, there's enough legroom for a six-footer in the rear, although three of them might push the comfort level a bit. The rear seat reclines, another feature new for 2017.
Behind the rear seat, there's 31 cubic feet of storage, and 60 cubic with the rear folded flat. That's quite decent, although a bit less than those competitors we've mentioned, the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Subaru Forester. However we can state that we stuffed a ton of stuff inside, including furniture, along with a kayak and four Jeep tires on the roof, to take a kid back to college.