Like the Soul Red Crystal Metallic body colour, the totally redeveloped cabin of the second-generation Mazda CX-5 represented a significant step forward for Mazda’s popular compact SUV. Conceived within the same ‘Refined Toughness’ mandate as the exterior styling, the CX-5 now competes with the very best cars in the class by delivering a premium feel throughout.

With a significant evolution in comfort, quality, design and functionality, Mazda has carefully considered the form of every component to create an elegant and beautifully built interior that combines an engaging and stress-free driving environment with comfortable, stylish and practical accommodation for all occupants.

As in all of the latest generation of Mazda cars, the cabin architecture has been designed to create an intelligently configured cockpit layout for the driver, with all major controls and instrumentation laid out ergonomically around the focal point of the steering wheel.

Clean-cut simplicity and elegant design abounds throughout the cabin, the easy-to-read three-dial driver’s instrument binnacle and 10.25-inch display screen atop the dashboard are examples of the classy yet uncomplicated feel, while in Sport and GT Sport cars the Bose® audio system tweeters are neatly incorporated into the A pillars.

The flagship GT Sport trim takes Mazda’s SUV to new levels of premium ambiance. Real wood and satin chrome on the dashboard and door trim inlays is matched to standard Nappa leather and black roof lining to deliver the most luxurious Mazda SUV cabin yet, while white LED illumination and a frameless rear view mirror are further examples of high end features in the cabin.

Also unique to GT Sport is a 7-inch colour TFT dial display and an exclusive steering wheel design with a chrome centre bezel and high-grade stitching. As you’d expect for a luxury SUV, the GT Sport model features a host of equipment highlights over and above the well-equipped Sport including front set ventilation, heated outer rear seats and sunroof. In addition to the extensive safety kit tally found across the range, the GT Sport’s standard Safety Pack includes Adaptive LED Headlights, Driver Attention Alert, Rear Smart City Brake Support and 360o View Monitor.

Across all models the Mazda CX-5 features a top-class leather wheel that has a tactile feel, a stylish shape and a small centre pad. Additionally, Sport models and above are equipped with a heated wheel rim, which automatically turns off after 30 minutes.

Sport and GT Sport CX-5’s come with Mazda’s Active Driving Display - head-up display. It includes Traffic Sign Recognition and projects full-colour information directly onto the windscreen within the driver’s line of sight. The displayed information is divided into upper and lower zones: driving information, including navigation turn-by-turn direction and speed limit information is displayed in the upper section, while vehicle status, including current speed and advanced safety equipment status, is displayed in the lower section.

Another feature standard from Sport trim 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. And as you’d expect from Mazda, the CX-5 delivers a superb driving position, with all the seats front and back having been extensively revised to offer occupants better support and greater comfort.

Raising the floor console brings the gearlever 60 mm (automatic) or 40 mm (manual) higher, placing it closer to the steering wheel. On top of this, the centre and door armrests are now set at near identical heights to provide the driver with a more balanced and comfortable body alignment. While for added convenience, the Sport model’s standard eight-way power seats have a two-preset memory and allow for the automatic setting of the angle of the Active Driving Display -Mazda’s head-up display.

The front seats feature seatback suspension mats which support the occupant’s upper body whilst evenly dispersing body pressure over a wide area. Optimising the rigidity of each part of the seatback offers improved support to the pelvis, waist and back, plus it minimises lateral swaying of the upper body. Premium quality, high-damping urethane foam is now used in the construction of the seat cushion. It offers greater ride comfort by transmitting the vibrations the driver needs as feedback from the road surface, whilst insulating against those that cause discomfort.

Mazda’s human-centred design philosophy doesn’t just focus on the driver, the convenient 40:20:40 split/folding rear seats have also undergone extensive revisions to improve comfort. The basic seatback setting of the torso angle has been increased by 2 degrees to 24 degrees, offering a more comfortable posture. In addition, the CX-5 is the first Mazda to offer a two-step reclining mechanism, allowing the rear seatback to be leaned back to an angle of 28 degrees.

Even greater rear seat comfort is afforded with air-conditioning vents to the rear of the central console. When it comes to seat material SE-L cars feature high-quality cloth trim, while black leather is standard on Sport, while GT Sport sees standard Nappa leather. Practicality hasn’t been ignored either, with improved cabin stowage, and on Sport models a powered tailgate. Opened and closed via switches on the tailgate smart key or the dash, the degree of tailgate opening can be set seamlessly and touch sensors prevent items becoming trapped during closure.

Inside, the storage box beneath the centre arm rest has a large capacity and is fitted with a groove to accommodate the power cord of devices attached to the USB port, power outlet and twin AUX mini-jack connection hub located within it. The glove box is shaped to accommodate a 10-inch tablet, and has been flock-lined for greater convenience and quality. Both the front and rear door pockets has have their bases lined with a non-slip finish. And a storage bin with twin USB ports has been added within the rear seat centre armrest on Sport and GT Sport models.

The boot itself has 506-litre* volume with the seats in place and loaded to the roof with the seats down there’s a huge 1,620 litres* of luggage space. Moreover, the use of a 9 mm thinner boot floor board allied to the reorganisation of the tool storage layout has increased the under-floor storage volume from 10 to 30 litres. In addition, new, dedicated, floor-mounted cargo net hooks further enhance loadspace practicality.

*494 litres on Diesel (taking into account AdBlue Tank) - 1,608 litres on Diesel (taking into account AdBlue Tank)