Today's Rant: Headrests in the Mazda CX-5

Today's Rant: Headrests in the Mazda CX-5

A couple weeks ago, Michelle, one of my petite female readers, emailed me with a rant of her own: The headrests in the Volvo XC60. She and her husband had just bought the car and after less than a week, the headrests were creating such a pain in her neck (literally), that they actually traded in the car at a loss! She asked if I ever had this problem.

The answer: A resounding YES!

And, in a quirk of fate, I'm driving one such car this week. The all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5. I never had this problem in the CX-7, CX-9 or any of the Mazda sedans. But, I first noticed this rant in the Mazda5 I drove during the Christmas holiday. I sincerely hope this isn't a trend in the new Mazda vehicles because that will push the automaker from the top of my must-test-and-should-probably-buy list all the way to the bottom.

As you can tell from the photo, in addition to pushing my head forward at a awkward angle, it gives me a hideous double chin. Definitely not an image I enjoy projecting to the world.

I know that the point of the forward-tilting headrest is to prevent whiplash in the event of an accident. But for someone in the 5th percentile, it causes a bigger issue on a daily basis. My solution? I typically just raise the headrest all the way up ... and then thank my lucky stars that I can give the car back.

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  • I had a hard time figuring out the problem, but eventually did.

    I don't think your height is the problem, but the tilt of the headrest. If the driver can't see what's immediately in front of him or her (and, I assume that, like most cars today, can't see what is immediately in front of the bumper, either), the manufacturers should just install automated drive and take the driver out of the equation. In the meantime, the car is inflicting a pain in the neck (not figuratively) and while I suppose one could tilt the seatback back to mitigate that, that doesn't help seeing the road, either.

  • In reply to jack:

    guess i assumed that the tilt would only hit someone in the wrong place if they were my height. i did get a couple facebook comments from averaged sized peeps who say they have a similar problem. phfew! glad it's not just me.

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    I test drove a Mazda CX-5 and complained about the headrest so the salesman took the headrest out and put it in backwards. This greatly improved the issue of the headrest pushing my head forward, however I am not sure how safe your neck would be if you were in an accident.

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    I wish I had found this article before I bought my Mazda CX-5. I just bought the 2014 model in March. The headrest problem still exists. I didn't really become aware of it until I had been driving the car for a couple weeks. I guess I was just paying so much attention to all the new features of the car. I also prefer to sit straight up when I drive. However, reclining the seat does not solve the problem. It still causes your neck to be pushed too far forward and does not allow your shoulders or upper back to rest on the seat. I've been using a pillow behind my back as a temporary solution. I just called the dealership and was told there is nothing they can do - oh and that I'm the first person they've heard complain about it. Well, per your article clearly I'm not alone. If anyone has come up with any solutions I would love to hear them. I'm happy with everything else on the car but I cannot drive and be this uncomfortable for much longer.

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