Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • GT Sport trim makes interior feel a class above rivals
  • Hatchback-style driving position adds sporty feel
  • Minimalist interior is stylish and remains easy to use

As with the first-generation CX-5, this model boasts a much nicer cabin than many of its mainstream rivals, with a spot-on driving position and an infotainment system controlled with a rotary dial on the central tunnel, rather than a distracting touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now part of the mix, too, although they're not as intuitive to use with the rotary controller.

Second time around and all that we liked before has been honed further, making it an inviting place to spend time in, albeit if the standard colour of the materials is on the dark side.

Material quality is good in all the places you naturally look or touch, but there are still some harder plastics in hard-wearing areas. Meanwhile, Sport and GT Sport models feel a substantial rung above SE-L Nav trim, so much so that it moves the CX-5 from feeling like a value-oriented Kia Sportage rival to being able to stand alongside the pricey Volkswagen Tiguan.

Changes for the Mk2 model include silver highlights on the doors and dash, which are aligned horizontally with the centre of the steering wheel, giving the interior the illusion of greater width.

Higher-spec models benefit from attractive wood-look trim and softer leather padding on the lower dash. Interestingly the head-up display is now projected onto the windscreen rather than a piece of plastic, which looks a lot classier and easier to read.

The centre console is higher than before, bringing the gearlever closer to the wheel and the two armrests are now at a similar height so you don’t have to sit wonkily anymore. As a result, you can adjust the seat to make it feel like you’re sat in a tall hatchback with a laid back position, rather than the upright stance needed when driving many SUVs.

How comfy is the CX-5?

  • Much improved interior refinement
  • Good ride quality considering roadholding
  • Redesigned seats support well on long journeys

Here’s where Mazda reckons it has made its largest improvements – the low amount of noise, vibration and harshness demonstrated by the CX-5. The key here was to allow all passengers to easily hold a conversation at speed. As such you get a thicker windscreen, new door seals, tighter panel gaps and additional sound deadening.

This reduces the level of tyre and wind noise – the latter being the downfall of the last CX-5 – and the result is a hushed and comfortable cabin, in-fitting with Mazda’s aim to make this model a more mature proposition.

There’s a bit of a firm edge to the ride over really bad surfaces but on the whole the CX-5 rides very well, especially impressive when you consider its handling prowess. It’s similarly strong on the engine noise front.

The diesel engines, in particular, are smooth and quiet compared with rivals. Work them hard and you can hear the under-bonnet work going on, but if anything the somewhat sporty noise adds to the driving experience rather than detracting from it. Additionally, the excellent adaptive cruise control will make you feel relaxed once you're used to how it works.

Excellent front and rear seats

Really bolstering the comfort levels are the CX-5’s front seats, which are nicely sculpted and offer plenty of support – this obviously helps when driving quickly but you’ll feel the benefit even when you’re just cruising.

The rear seats have also undergone a reworking and now offer a reclining mechanism to help passengers get comfortable, plus there are two air-conditioning vents to keep occupants cool.

An armrest, which folds away into the middle seat (which is reasonable to sit in as long as you don’t mind straddling the tall centre console) hides two USB ports and heated seat controls, depending on specification, of course. Headroom in the back is great but legroom is just average. The rear doors open really wide though, so fitting a child seat will be easy.