You'd certainly recognise this as a Mazda - which might not necessarily be a good thing for this car's premium aspirations, particularly as it might be mistaken for the company's mid-sized CX-5 SUV at first glance. It's actually quite a lot bigger than one of those, measuring 4,745mm long, 1,890mm wide and 1,675mm high. The styling is heavily influenced by the brand's 2017 'Vision Coupe' concept, but features a flatter treatment for the front end and, obviously since it's a crossover, quite a different profile silhouette.
Inside, Mazda's usual 'Jinba Ittai' ('horse and rider') driver-focused design philosophy prevails, but here it's been upgraded with higher quality materials and greater attention to detail. Pricier trim levels get you niceties like a facial recognition feature that uses a camera to adjust seat and steering wheel position based on the driver's physique. What we like most about Mazda cabins though, are the exemplary ergonomics, enhanced here by the way that the new slim 8-speed auto gearbox has minimised transmission tunnel width, allowing for near-ideal pedal and seat placement.
If you're able to stretch to the top-spec version, your eye will be drawn to the cool white nappa leather upholstery, the pale maple wood trim and an unusual hand-stitched fabric dashboard covering, apparently inspired by 'Musubu', the art of Japanese binding. Across the range, the screen tech isn't as in-your-face as it usually is with expensive new models in this day and age, mainly because the 12.3-inch centre display is long and narrow and the virtual gauges on the instrument monitor (also 12.3-inches wide) look quite realistic. Cabin storage is reasonably provided for and Mazda's put in a great deal of effort to make forward visibility better than it usually is on a larger SUV of this kind.
As usual for the class, there's comfortable space for two adults in the back and room at a squash for three. And a decent-sized boot that isn't too impeded by the battery pack on the Plug-in version. With all the engines, it's 477-litres in size (570-litres including the under-floor compartment); fold the rear bench and you can extend capacity to 1,726-litres. If you need third row seating, you'll need to ask your dealer about the forthcoming 7-seat CX-80 version of this car.