On the flip side, the CX-5 feels as though it is gripping the road tightly, making even twisting, winding routes feel smooth. You don’t feel the rolling on turns, but even on tight turns, you feel as though the car is simply firmly planted and self-assured. One of our personal vehicles is a Subaru Outback, and I would say after an afternoon with the CX-5 that the Mazda is every bit as tank-like and safe in handling as the Outback, with a more nimble, almost sportier feel.
Likewise, the cockpit experiences in the Mazdas are excellent. Mazda explained to us that every design gets tested according to specific ease of use principles, and failure sends the design back to be reworked. The result is that everything is laid out where it needs to be for the driver, from the top raise/lower switch on the Miata to the heads-up display on the CX-5. We swapped around drivers and cars during our day of test drives, and it took no time for each driver to be acclimated.
Finally, the body styles of the cars themselves all have touches that showcase the personality of the vehicle. The Miata MX-5 just looks fast at first glance, with sleek lines and body sculpting that screams “Drive me fast!” The CX-5 is a bit more subtle, but it too has sculpting and style. You can tell before you even get behind the wheel that it is a solid CUV but that it hasn’t lost a sense of fun along the way.
Mazda’s slogan now is “Driving Matters”, and you can tell this has been embraced deeply within the design team. The cars are more than just a way to get from Point A to Point B, they’re a way to reconnect and enjoy the act of driving. It’s no easy feat to bring that same feel to both a family friendly CUV and an aggressively styled sports car, but they managed to pull it off! In fact, Mazda designers have spent time using meditation as a technique to help inspire their designs, and they even brought in a meditation teacher to do the same for us. They truly see the design process as a holistic one that is more than just parts, it’s how the parts and the driver can come together in the vehicle.
We will be covering more of our experience with Mazda and their “Driving Matters” philosophy soon because the design is only the tip of the iceberg!
Disclosure: Mazda paid for my travel, room, and meals; there were no conditions or expectations made regarding what I chose to write about with regard to my experience.