As the first design executed under Mazda's ‘Kodo: Soul of Motion’ design philosophy, the CX-5 sets a promising direction for future products. Less overwrought than previous smile-faced Mazdas, the CX-5 has a strong but not aggressive front end with a long hood and windshield pillars set further back than other crossovers—giving it more of a sports-car profile.
The upright five-point Mazda grille and swept-back headlights are distinctive, and the side profile stands out as well. Despite its raked tailgate and deep trailing roof spoiler, the CX-5 still tends to vanish in a row of similarly proportioned crossovers.
Calm and business-like is the way of this functional and attractive interior—which isn't nearly as overdesigned as some competitors’ dashboards, and that's both a pro and a con. The only down side of this design is at the center stack, where a lens over the climate controls can gather reflections during daytime driving--although it works better with the more upright look here than in the 2014 Mazda 6 sedan, which has a similar layout.
Mazda’s color palette remains stunningly basic: two reds, two blues, two whites, silver, gray, and black. The dash and center stack are black, surfaced in soft-touch plastics, with either black or “sand” beige upholstery (in cloth or leather), the latter providing a nice two-tone interior.
Instrument faces are some of the simplest we’ve seen, with black needles, black backgrounds, and white numbers. The ridiculous 160-mph speedometer aside, they work well.