Needs the Heads Up Cockpit - 2014 Mazda CX-5 Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mazda CX-5: Needs the Heads Up Cockpit

February 11, 2014

2014 Mazda CX-5

I recently had the chance to drive our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 and really liked it for the most part. It is comfortable, has great styling and good visibility. But its infotainment screen was a bit disappointing.

The screen is small and as my colleague James Riswick pointed out, the navigation system is rudimentary. Plus, I've already seen what Mazda will eventually replace it with — and it's much better.

2014 Mazda 3

Mazda showed off its next-generation infotainment system at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. The Heads Up Cockpit features a seven-inch screen placed higher on the dash, redundant controls with a touchscreen and a "commander knob" that is meant to be operated without having to look down.

This system is on the 2014 Mazda 3 and will eventually make its way into other Mazdas, but it may take a few years to do so. The CX-5's dash and center console would have to be rearranged to accommodate the new system, so chances are it won't happen until the next redesign.

Read more about CES and Mazda's new Heads Up Cockpit here.

What would you prefer? Control knob or touchscreen?

Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 23,174 miles


  • 330i_zhp 330i_zhp Posts:

    IMO, those screens (as on the new model, something Benz is also doing, apparently) look like afterthoughts. I prefer the integrated-look of the screen as it give the impression that some thought actually went into the design and wasn't tacked on like a Garmin.

  • bc1960 bc1960 Posts:

    I think the Mazda3's integration looks fine and is actually one of the better ones around, neither too low on the center stack nor surrounded by a large pimple on the top of the dash nor too far away to reach. But I do have problems. It's expensive (the i GT and s models conceal the $1600 the audio/nav adds to the i Touring) and you're stuck with the audio system that accompanies it because I doubt Metra et al. are ever going to make a kit for this car. The Mazda6/CX-5 is a double-DIN and you could replace it with the best audio/nav unit you can afford, especially if you buy a Touring w/o the Tech package. On all their nav sytems Mazda supplies updates only for the life of the warranty, i. e., 3 years. The Garmin units they sell in the Genuine Mazda Accessory store have lifetime updates, on a regular schedule, even the cheapest 3.5" (although you should buy one elsewhere as they charge "suggested retail"). And everyone with a smartphone now has a choice of excellent nav apps, on smaller but often sharper screens.

  • Good info, bc1960. I also prefer the Mazda3 system, if only because the CX5 system is such an archaic-looking implementation. ... I have a 2013 Dodge with the vaunted 8.5" Uconnect system. It's as good as everyone says, although I opted not to get the nav package. Kinda kicking myself now, because the Uconnect systems are not modular/upgradable in the basic sense: Upgrading from the base 8.5 to the 8.5 Nav would require ripping open the dash and installing new modules & wiring harness, etc. ... Supposedly the Uconnect 8.5 on the 2014 Ram *is* modular and upgradable, and this version will be rolling out to other models over time.

  • nxtiak nxtiak Posts:

    I have a 2014 CX-5 Touring with Tech. TomTom Navigation SUCKS. It's ugly and POI on it sucks and how you choose and search POI sucks. I wished it had Garmin. There were major "Safety Lock" issues but a recent update fixed it a little bit. The most major issue with the 2014 and some 2013 is USB and iPod compatibility. MP3 files on USB even set on SHUFFLE always starts with song #1 you copied to the USB. iPods/iPhones take a very long time for songs to "load". Also on either one, songs do not resume after you turn the car off. Long threads on the current CX-5 infotainment unit on Mazda forums (mazdas247). I don't like the look of the Mazda 3 unit, but I've read that it is much much much improved and actually fully upgradeable via firmware updates. European and Japanese CX-5 has the controller next to the shift lever, similar to the Mazda6 (same head units), but on the CX-5 USA, they didn't include it so there's space for 2 cup holders. Ugh stupid fat Americans with their giant sodas is to blame. I just want and wish a fully Google Android head unit that's compatible with an Android phone (preferable a "nexus" aka fully stock Google Android) system. Why is it so hard. There's some Android head units but they're horrible.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Just don't get the mazda3 with the base radio as it looks truly awful.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    If we agree that higher is better when it comes to screen placement, the "tacked on" look of the Mazda3 or the Merc will always be able to be a little higher than a "built in" look because there's only so high you're willing to build up the entire dash. I'm a little tired of the continued disappointment with car based nav and entertainment systems. The best system would be one that had a nice clean interface for settings and controls that relate to the car but for all navigation and entertainment would cede control to a smartphone. The latest smartphone software will always be better than even the best systems the automakers can develop. Why don't they develop something that allows mirroring of smartphone functions on the screen and let the phone handle all nav and communications and entertainment?

  • metalmania metalmania Posts:

    I may be in the minority but I really don't like the screen sticking up out of the dash. Don't like it on the Mercedes, or anyone else who does it either. I don't like this trend of maybe one real gauge in the instrument cluster being flanked by screens either. Give me real gauges for at least tach and speed and maybe a small screen in the middle that can switch to other info. But everything being on screens? No thanks. What happens if the screen burns out, we lose everything? I just went to a new car show, and some of the new tech is cool, but there's a lot of it that seems to be done just for the sake of doing it. Don't we have enough apps and multifunction screens EVERYWHERE else today? Shouldn't we be watching the road instead?

  • uthiker uthiker Posts:

    As much as I love my 2014 cx5 Gt AWD I'll be the first to admit the Tom Tom sucks and I wish I could have gotten every other thing they have packaged with it... but NOT TomTom. My six year old garmin is far better in every way and has lifetime maps.

  • heck i think the current one is cleaner and makes for a less "techy" interior that will age even worst on down the road.

  • ramblinmo ramblinmo Posts:

    Am I the only one that doesn't want crud like this in a car? Just replace the windshield already with a 50" screen, use outside cameras and be done with it.

  • mn_test347_ mn_test347_ Posts:

    "heads-up" means something different than what is shown in the second photo.

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