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The 2021 Mazda CX-5 is one of the best compact crossovers available today. With its elegant exterior, visually appealing cabin, and exciting driving experience, the CX-5 has most of the features consumers are looking for in a smaller SUV. It’s also loaded with great tech.

Speaking of tech, the latest Mazda CX-5 has one drawback. Which feature is it missing? Would it be a deal breaker for you?

A nice big display screen

A worker drives a Mazda Motor Corp. CX-5 sports utility vehicle (SUV) on the assembly line at the Mazda Sollers Manufacturing Rus LLC plant
Manufactured Mazda CX-5 models | Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One of the new features for the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is a new infotainment system. You get the new Mazda Connect interface with the updated system which includes Mazda Connected Services like access to remote vehicle functions using an app on your phone, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

It also comes with a bigger 10.3-inch display screen that’s standard across the lineup. Many SUV shoppers will like the bigger screen that is now mounted at the top of the dashboard. It’s especially impressive when you consider the Honda CR-V only has a 5.0-inch standard screen with a 7.0-inch version available.

Okay, before you get excited, realize that the new, bigger screen is simply a display screen – not a touchscreen. 

Is the 2021 Mazda CX-5 lacking this feature a deal-breaker?

The new 10.3-inch display screen replaces the previous 7.0-inch version. The system is still navigated using a rotary controller and a center console volume knob. You can also use voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel for added convenience.

While the infotainment system is definitely geared toward safety, for some the inability to switch channels will be a problem. When a touchscreen is used, the driver’s attention is taken away from the road which is a safety risk. The system in the Mazda CX-5 positions the screen so you don’t have to look too far away from the road ahead. The controls are easy to use and consistent.

For music fans, the problem could be vexing. It’s even more so when you consider just how good the audio system sounds.

The 2021 Mazda CX-5


The 2021 Mazda CX-5 Is the Mary Poppins of Compact SUVs

Is the 2021 Mazda CX-5 an SUV you should still consider buying? Absolutely.

The CX-5 offers an upscale vibe without a luxury sticker price according to Car and Driver. While the base engine is average on paper, it feels faster than it is. With its nimble handling and exciting driving dynamics, particularly with the turbocharged engine, the CX-5 is one of the most fun SUVs in its class to drive. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s visually elegant inside and out.

There’s also a new Carbon Edition added to the lineup. This special edition has a distinct Polymetal Gray paint color with red upholstery. You can get the turbo-four with the Carbon Edition without having to pay for one of the top two trim levels to get it.

You get all the features of the Touring models along with the features in the Preferred SV package. That adds a Bose audio system, power liftgate, sunroof, a power-adjustable passenger seat, and more. The Carbon Edition models also get distinctive styling cues for both exterior and interior. It’s outfitted with 19-inch black wheels and a black metallic grille.

The Signature trim gets a better quality 360-degree camera, rear automated emergency braking, and a driver attention alert system.

If you need another reason to consider the CX-5, let’s talk about safety. The 2021 Mazda CX-5 was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It also earned a five-star crash test rating from the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA).

You also get a full slate of driver-assist features like standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure alert with lane-keeping assist. 

While it may not have a touchscreen, there’s still a lot there that shows why you should give the 2021 Mazda CX-5 a shot.