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March 07, 2016 6 min read

Mazda CX-5 Mum Car Review

When it comes to family cars, the Mazda CX-5 packs a pretty good punch, with loads of features to make your life easier, and driving the family around safer. Mazda lent me a new, top-of-the-line model for a few days (the 2.5L I4 Petrol AWD) and I put it through its paces. Here are my thoughts.


According to Mazda, the CX-5 is "an SUV, but not as you know it". I'd say that this 5 seater is easy to manoeuvre (they say "sporty response", but I'm not sure what that is). It's a bit more nimble than the 7 seater that I drive. Inside, it feels like a regular car, just a bit higher, and with loads more room in the boot. The car is really easy to drive, and I thought that the visibility was good, just like you'd expect from an SUV. There are plenty of extras that make driving more enjoyable, like the his and hers keys that will let the car know who is driving, and the automatic adjustment of the driver's seat to suit the driver before they even hop in.

The back seat

There are ISOFIX points on the two outside back seats, and I was able to easily fit two big rear facing car seats in the back, with plenty of room for the front passenger and driver's legs. I tried both ISOFIX and seatbelt install seats, and they both worked well.

Behind the back seat you'll find three, easy to access tether points, so it was easy to install child restraints (car seats) that required tethering. The head rests are removable, so when I installed a booster seat I removed the head rest so that the booster sat flush against the back of the seat. The back seat is a 40/ 20 / 40 split, and the back of each seat moves independently, meaning that you have lots of options when you want to flatten the back seats to transport larger items. I wasn't able to fit three car seats across the back seat, though, so if you need to transport three small children I'd recommend you hold off for later in the year when the seven seater CX-9 is released.

Cup holders & phone thingees

These deserve a mention! With the removal of a handy insert, your cup holder can go from coffee cup size to XL fizzy drink from the drive through (or your green smoothie) size.

I'm impressed! A compartment for your phone, two USB points in the front and another one in the middle console (handy for charging your back seat iPad on long trips). Whenever I'm driving I'm either listening to podcasts or talking on the phone, and it was super-easy to pair the phone to the car. I listened to my podcasts by bluetoothing from ITunes on my device to the car, but the CX-5 does have AHA, which provides access to Stitcher and Pandora, as well as thousands of radio stations from around the world, tethered through your smart phone. If you're super techy you can set up the MZD Connect to show your social media feeds on the central screen, and it will even read texts and emails to you - brilliant!

Keyless entry and locking

Keyless entry and ignition is par for the course these days, but I really did enjoy they keyless locking. The car audibly locks as you walk away, so you don't even need to dig around and take your keys out of your handbag. On one occasion, my husband had been driving, and as we walked away from the car I didn't hear the beep and lock, so went back to the car to check. He had taken the keys out of his pocket and left them in the centre console (why I don't know?!?) Anyway, it was a good example for us of the keyless lock.

Leather upholstery

We asked our fans on facebook what they look for in a new car, and they said that leather seats are a must-have. The CX-5's got them!


Why do they have to call them vanity mirrors? LOL! I appreciated that the driver and passenger sun visor featured an integrated mirror with LED light, because drivers need to check their lippy just as much as passengers do.


There are too many sensors and warning systems in this car to mention them individually, but I did particularly like the Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which basically sounds an alarm if you're in reverse and someone or something approaches your car from the side - for instance, if you're backing out of a carpark and another car is driving in your path, or if you're backing out of your driveway and a child is riding a bike along the footpath (a situation that I'm always freaking out about - as an ex-runner, I know how often it happens). I found that the RCTA calmed my nerves a little.

Another clever sensor was the Blind Spot Monitoring. If you have your indicator on and there's something in your blind spot, a light on the left- and right-wing mirrors will light up, and an alarm will sound. This is really helpful, as we know that the blind spot can be larger in an SUV. I thought it was particularly useful when I was driving on the motorway, and I felt like it made me a slightly better driver - yay!

Not really a sensor, but the Smart City Brake support deserves a mention (though I didn't get the opportunity to put it to the test). The gist of it is, if you're driving along and take your eyes off the road - maybe to check your child in the back seat - and the car in front of you slows or stops, your car will slow or stop too.

Boot space

There is plenty! Definitely enough room to fit the pram and your groceries. I also liked the strong fabric flexible parcel tray (that piece that goes across the top of your boot so people can't see what you've got in there); it meant that I could put boxes in there that were a little bit taller than the tray, and the fabric just bent around the boxes, without needing to remove the tray.

There are also a couple of small plastic compartments in the boot. I'm not sure what they were designed for, but I thought they were handy for bottles. Don't you hate driving around and hearing a bottle rolling around in the boot?

Fuel economy

Ever heard of i-stop? No, me neither. Basically, it means that the engine stops when it knows that you've stopped, like at traffic lights or in a traffic jam, then rearranges itself in the same way that a cyclist will rearrange their pedals when they've stopped, so that it can start up again quickly. The first couple of times I thought that I'd stalled, even though it's an automatic! But I got used to it, and who doesn't like saving on fuel?


Mazda offer 3 years of free servicing, and a 5 year warranty. The cool thing is that if you sell the car the warranty goes with it.

In conclusion

I enjoyed driving this car. It worked well for me and my family, because it was easy to move around - even in heavy traffic - and it could fit all of us and our stuff. My daughter actually cried when I picked her up from daycare in my normal car! She wanted 'mummy's red car'. It's definitely worth a look if you're in the market for a family SUV.

I hope you found this review helpful! I'm going to make it a regular feature on the blog, so please do let me know if you would like to see a particular car reviewed.

Still want to know more?

Check out our YouTube video to see the car in action.

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