2017 MAZDA CX-5 LONG-TERM UPDATE 4: INTERIOR DESIGN

The more time I spend with the CX-5, the more I think why get anything else? Consider my opinion biased, but if you drove one daily, or at least an extended period of time, I think you might feel the same.

The CX-5 was the inspiration for a recent Motor Trend $40K challenge comparison between loaded-up mainstream cars versus base models from a luxury brand. Read all about it here, but spoiler alert, the CX-5 wins against a Lexus NX 300 with a sticker price $6,653 heftier. Long story short, it wins not because it’s cheaper but thanks to its premium exterior design, which matches the Lexus’ curb appeal, and its well-crafted interior feels just as luxurious, if not more so. The dash and doors are covered in soft-touch materials with nice stitching on the dash, doors, steering wheel, and shifter. It’s just as quiet as the Lexus at freeway cruising speeds, and the Mazda matches all the features found in the Lexus and adds navigation, heated rear seats, a head-up display, and AWD. It’s also cheaper to own, has more interior space, feels lighter and sportier, and has a more intuitive and usable interface. It’s kind of a no-brainer. Having driven both, I agree on all points.

Even compared to our similarly optioned, $20K-pricier long-term Mercedes-Benz GLC300, the CX-5 holds its own. I had it for a weekend and couldn’t come up with a logical reason to put down that extra dough except to have that prestigious three-pointed star on the hood. No knock on our 2017 SUV of the Year, as it’s a great vehicle, but besides wanting more power, my CX-5 has everything I really need and comes with a few features the Mercedes lacks, such as adaptive cruise control, heated rear seats, and a head-up display. Even with close to 20,000 miles on the CX-5’s odometer, it feels a bit more solid and better screwed together than the Benz over some jarring potholes and cracks on the road.

Usually mainstream manufacturers try to make up for the lack of prestige and brand equity with value, adding as many tech and convenience features for free. Mazda is one of those manufacturers but manages to deliver the tech plus offer upscale design. The CX-5 and many other cars are starting to blur the line between luxury brands and mainstream manufacturers. This really raises the question: Is the luxury badge worth the extra cash? With the CX-5, I would have to say no.