2020 Mazda CX-5 Bose: Not as Good as RAV4 JBL

2020 Mazda CX-5 Bose

Mazda hit it out of the park when they first introduced the CX-5. With this compact offering along with the larger, three-row CX-9, Mazda brought its class and driving verve to more customers than ever. We already established in our real-world highway MPG test of the turbo CX-5 that it sips fuel, but what of the sound system? Here’s our take of the 2020 Mazda CX-5 Bose premium sound system.

On their website, Bose claims they engineered this 10-high-performance-speaker configuration, equipped with Bose AudioPilot, Centerpoint, and SoundStage software, specifically for the CX-5. On a side note, Charlie could only find 8 speaker grills in the cabin with the subwoofer mounted in the spare wheel. Inputs available through the infotainment are a 3.5mm auxiliary port, AM/FM/XM radio channels, and couple USB-A ports. Internet streaming services provided are Aha, Pandora, and Stitcher; unfortunately, a disc player nor USB-C ports are provided. Basic bass, treble, and midrange controls are available along with Bose Centerpoint, which creates a multi-channel surround sound experience from a two-channel file, and Bose AudioPilot, which adjusts audio voulme based on ambient noise from tires, wind, or crying babies.

The last generation Mazda CX-5 is said to be plagued by road noise which creates poor sound isolation for the audio system, and, while it’s still present in this generation, it’s not as severe. As for the system itself, it’s a little disappointing. It doesn’t compare to other Mazda products with similar Bose systems, and there’s a hollowness to the sound Charlie found difficult to filter out. In the rock genre, you can hear an openness or exaggeration of the mid-range, and it’s missing a crisp feeling to the high range. After fiddling with the treble, Charlie was able to cure the high range. In the crossover class, the Mazda CX-5 Bose scored a subjective 7 or 7.5/10 for being better than the Honda system, but not quite as good as the Toyota RAV4 or even as other cheaper vehicles in Mazda’s fleet such as the 3 or CX-30.

How We Test

Here at Daily Motor, we take audio systems seriously. That’s why we take every vehicle, from a crossover like this Mazda CX-5 to supercars like the McLaren 570S, and put them through our rigorous audio-system testing. We use the same lossless, uncompressed WAV audio files on a USB drive plugged into the audio system so that every radio we test starts from the same baseline. To provide a realistic example for the sound experience, we record with high-quality binaural microphones. We test every system with their sound settings set to their factory defaults, because that’s how the radio’s engineers designed it to sound, but we test all the sound settings on many different genres of music before shooting the reviews. After demonstrating the sound settings, adjustments, inputs, speaker locations, and Android Auto and/or Apple CarPlay functionality, we head out on the road to listen to our sample tracks at highway speeds. Most cars can sound great while stationary, but road, wind, and engine noise can deteriorate music fidelity. At the end of the test, we give an objective rating based on audio quality and overall system usage as well as a subjective rating factoring in vehicle attributes and price.

See the full test of the 2020 Mazda CX-5 Bose system here:

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