My solutions to phone placement dilemma in new CX-5 (Photos)


Ballistic Reentry Vehicle
2020 CX-5 GT PP
So, I bought this brandy-new 2020 CX-5 GT last month; absolutely love it. So many wonderful things to amuse and delight myself with, that it actually took me a couple weeks playing around with car play before I realized I had an issue: where the heck am I supposed to keep my phone?

1) Inside the center console — nope. Too big for the shelf, not enough room for the cable, dropping it down below the shelf makes it a pain to get out (and risk scratching up your phone by whatever other stuff you have in there). Plus, the whole opening and closing the bin all the time sucks.

2) The little cubby under the HVAC controls —nope. Again; not big enough, plus hard to access around the gear selector and I’d rather keep some napkins or paper towels there. Cable routing isn’t great, and the phone will go flying anytime you drive zoom zoom.

3) That neat custom mount that clips over and between the HVAC vents in the center of the dash console ... or any other ‘clip to air vent’ solution; or using a cd tray mount squeezed into the molding gap over the air vents options — nope. First, they block the vents, and often the HVAC controls, and sometimes even the infotainment display. second, blowing hot air (think winter) on the back of a very powerful, incredibly compact passively cooled computer is a bad idea. Third, that part of the dash is really too far away to read, reach and interact with from a safe and comfortable driving position should you need to. Fourth, you gotta figure out how to run the data/power cable.

4) Drop it upside down into one of the cup holders. Well, okay, I guess. But a pain for all sorts of (obvious) reasons. Such as, you can’t use the cup holder for anything else, and you can’t interact with your phone. But at least the cable run is short.

4) I always used to keep my phone near the top of my windshield to the left of my mirror where it was easy to read, reach, interact with, activate Face ID without removing it from the mount, and kept my eyes up close to the road so my peripheral vision could still keep track of things. But that meant a cable dangling down from the mirror (it was hooked over the mirror, of course), and down to the front center of the dash where it was plugged in below the stereo and HVAC — nope.

That won’t work with the CX-5, because the cable’s got to go all the way back the center console between the backs of the two front seats. Waaaay to sloppy a solution for a nice new car.

5) Since, with CarPlay and built in navigation, phone, and texting, I don’t NEED my actual phone as much, I figured I could skip running the cable up there, do fine with Bluetooth, and only plug in it I was low on power really /needed/ CarPlay for some reason. When I did have to plug in ... into the cup holder.

6) Suction cup; clamp mount elsewhere ... the dash (Hell-no!!); sides front seat rails (I guess that works if your passenger is okay with it).

7!) Oh, wait. Why not alongside the shifter? Too narrow for all those suction cup things. Wouldn’t want to glue/super tape to the piano black, either, that would make a mess talking off later.

Gotta be something that would work there, though. Can’t get in the way of shifting. Or the cup holders. Or block any controls. There seems to be room on the passenger side? Well, as long as they don’t knock it off. But no, dang. Once you shift out of park, you can’t see the full phone anymore. Driver’s side, then? Easier to see and reach ... but there’s all that stuff there.

Started shipping around for low-profile magnet mounts with small-diameter suction cups that somehow still worked. There aren’t really any of those. Found this thing (MagicMount Universal Magnetic Mount Holder for Mobile Devices that seemed promising — and just $12; so ordered it. Then I found one in the store. THEN I found this one (below). $4.88.


Bought them both; probably they both have crappy magnets, but surely the one under $5 does, anyway.

Surprisingly enough, they are both equally crappy. BUT — just strong enough to hold my phone’s weight with acceptable levels of jostling — so, unfortunately, this solution probably won’t work with jumbo phones.

The other magnet mounts I have are from Spigen (, those things hold my full size iPad with ease. That one goes for $20 — but for this instance you’ll need to get a much more compact ball mount to stick the magnet on ... one the can be mounted securely but simultaneously doesn’t use a normal size suction cup. I was planning on rigging up some combination of the two linked above when I figured out the < $5 one was all I needed. 👍🏼


Bonus; after my covercraft shade arrived, I had to relocate my windshield mount and EZpass. Saw people asking about that, so here also is a working arrangement for those which works great. Photo shows portrait mode blocking the view of the infotainment display, but in reality, it doesn’t. It DOES block a touch of the rear view, but only the part that shows the driver’s side passenger headrest and maybe half my face ... so, not anything you need to see.


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2020 CX5 signature
Sorry, I think worrying where to put the phone is a solution looking for a problem. Any number of $5 Amazon or Ebay mounts that mount to a window, a visor, or an air vent should work.


Harpy Eagle
2019 CX-5 AWD
I've used the cheap vent mounts before. They work fine, and you can shut off the vent if you're using the heater.

Previous vehicle did not have Carplay, with Carplay, haven't really need them as all functions, which for me are high resolution FLAC audio through the free VOX app and Google Maps navigation with live traffic, are controlled through the standard control knob. Still have the vent mount for if I actively need my phone instead of the Carplay interface.
2017 Mazda CX-5 GT, 2016 Mazda6 iGT, 2014 Mazda3 sGT hatchback
One might also want to consider that, in an unfortunate event that you get into a major accident, would the phone become a missile? Where is your phone going to fly to? Hit the driver or passengers? I prefer a sturdy vent-mount.


CX5 Optimum 2020
My phone is always in my pocket, everything can be controlled via HMI commander, so why should it sit in front?


'17 CX-5 AWD GT Prem. Original owner of 91 Miata.
Atlanta metro
Hey OP, you got some naysayers on this thread, but I appreciate the detailed write-up. I had pretty much the exact same thought process and opinions on the various locations, vent mounts, etc. I'm running Android Auto, and while most of the time I don't need to interact with my phone at all, sometimes I like to listen to a local sports radio app (cause their FM signal is horrible where I am.) I've just been laying it beside the shifter, or letting it nose down into the forward cubby with all of the old receipts and napkins and extra face mask, but I prefer something a little more fixed. Gonna look into one of those magnet ball mounts. (My wife's 3-series has a magnetic cup-holder mount, so I've already got the plate on my phone.)

My biggest concern is putting adhesive on the trim that is not going to come off cleanly in the future...

Another reason I want a fixed mount is because I'm using this magnetic fast-charging data cable so I'm not constantly plugging and unplugging. But if the phone moves around too much, the magnet will break contact briefly and cause the AA to have to reconnect.
For me it's pretty basic & boring : A. Destination> center console USB Android auto plug, lay it down inside the console (ok.. it lays on a new microfiber small towel). Arrival: Open console and unplug phone.
B. When I am really lazy


Note: All these phone actions are performed while the vehicle is fully stopped and in the parking gear!
I do this sometimes but I’ve found on the iPhone it messes up with the GPS signal causing Google Maps to be confused to which street it is on at low speeds.
have not experienced that with Android / Samsung. GPS antenna been pretty good so far...i guess try option B then.
Lakewood, CO
2016.5 CX-5 GT
I do this sometimes but I’ve found on the iPhone it messes up with the GPS signal causing Google Maps to be confused to which street it is on at low speeds.
Interesting observation. I’ve never had this problem with my iPhone’s. Are you experiencing it in the wide open spaces or urban canyons?

Is the problem persistent or intermittent? If the latter, could be related to bad satellite ’geometry’. You need 4 birds nicely spaced to obtain accurate positions The measure of this error is called PDOP, potential dilution of position, which is important to track for accuracy assessment. Of course, the better the reception, the better the result, regardless of other sources of error.
yep, you could also run some GPS diagnostic tests either by google maps, or another app with GPS.
Most have a diagnostic feature built in. Or on the Apple store a try a 3rd party GPS diagnostic apps...


San Dimas CA
2014 CX-5 Touring
I have a wireless charger mount by the mirror, (on the right side of the mirror) and it charges wirelessly as well. It is a Samsung phone.