From the welcoming Mazda logo and computer-generated CX-5 at startup, to fast phone pairing and information-packed displays, our Wards 10 Best User Experiences judges find a lot to like about this midsize CUV.

The CX-5’s displays are especially impressive and like those you’d see in models costing much more than $34,000.

“The CX-5 has a nice head-up display that can be reconfigured to include navigation, and it also will detect stop signs and flash those in the HUD as well, even on private property,” says Judge Tom Murphy. Murphy also praises the HUD’s ability to show adaptive cruise control settings, such as following distance.

Judge Dave Zoia agrees the HUD is a “big plus” of the CX-5, but he also enjoys the CUV’s effective controls, be they buttons, dials or voice-activated commands.

The CX-5, like our fellow 10 Best UX winners the Audi S5 and BMW 5-Series, has a dial controller to scroll and select items on the main screen. However, the screen is unique in that it also can be controlled via touch.

But its better-than-average advanced driver assistance systems may be its most impressive feature.

In a noteworthy moment, ACC brings the CX-5 this judge is piloting to a full stop on a fast approach, not once but twice, a challenging feat for many ACC systems that have difficulty detecting stopped traffic ahead.

I also appreciate the ability to control the responsiveness and alert types of the CUV’s advanced safety systems, which include lane-departure alert and lane-keep assist.

 

For LDA, drivers who may not like a beep alert when they come close to a lane line can opt for a vibration or rumble instead. And within the rumble setting, a high, mid or low volume can be selected. Nice!

“At $34,000, the CX-5 seemingly packs in every available ADAS feature short of automated parking – stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, cross-traffic, blind-spot, pedestrian and lane-departure alerts – and they all work with the kind of consistency necessary to give the driver a reasonable level of confidence in them,” says Judge Bob Gritzinger.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com