The updated 2017 Mazda CX-5 has 30.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the backseat and 59.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the backseat folded - but what does that really look like? Specifications like cargo volume can be misleading, so during 's 2017 Compact SUV Challenge, we placed a standard set of cargo items in each cargo area to visualize the differences between the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, 2017 Ford Escape, 2017 Honda CR-V, 2017 Jeep Compass, 2017 CX-5, 2017.5 Nissan Rogue and 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan.
Related: See Other Compact SUVs' Real-World Cargo Space
Cargo included a 23-inch adult bicycle and an adjustable cardboard box tested in two sizes: 37 inches long, 6 inches wide and 41 inches tall, which we fit behind the backseat, and an expanded 70-by-6-41 inches, which we fit with the backseat folded. And to top it off, a pair of golf bags. Though we laid the cardboard box flat for visualization of the cargo area, general practice for transporting a cardboard box like ours with a flat-screen TV inside is to keep the TV upright.
The CX-5 couldn't fit the small cargo box behind its backseat, but only one cargo area in this test could: the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan. The expanded box fit well and, while the folded cargo area wasn't totally flat like the CR-V or Equinox, the elevated cargo area didn't make it difficult to use the full cargo area. Standing out in the test were the backseat releases in the cargo area that let all three portions of the 40/20/40-split folding backseat fold independently.