2019 CX-5: Always chilly, "draft" around legs when trying to use heater. Why!?

Well, after all this time, AVC's post came in closest to what answer the dealer finally provided. With the covid problem along with our being 85 miles or so from dealer, it was a month ago I got to the dealer and questioned them more. One of their fellows came out to our CX-5, said he had exactly the same car, and demonstrated that when he turned temp control all the way up, just past the 81 degree display, (I think it was 81), the next thing displayed was, "Hi." THEN, with the vent icon showing down only the system actually blew out really warm air at floor level. After that, he added to continue floor heat, leave the temp at Hi and use the fan speed to find cabin temp I liked. Well, ..... OK, I guess, but it makes no sense at all to me anything would be designed this way. Even at low fan speed, an 81 degree warm air flow from the floor will quickly provide high temp all through the cabin which we would never want. Perhaps using his advice initially we can get warm feet and then begin manipulating all the heater controls to find another balance. We've not tried this yet.
This is my only real complaint on this car so far.
This is my update.......
 
It's cold today here in the great white north and on the highway today I again felt a cold draft on the driver's side near my feet. This has happened many times in the past couple of years so today I decided to do something about it. Found two holes in the driver's side firewall above and slightly to the left of the brake pedal. Probed both holes and was able to put a length of coat hanger through the firewall in the hole nearest the brake pedal. I plugged both just to be safe and road tested the vehicle. Problem solved. Attached is a picture of the two holes. Looking at the picture the one on the right was the culprit. Hope this helps some folks.
 

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Good Grief!!! A real answer! Thank you. My wife and I had chilly feet just yesterday as this condition persists.
Question: did you find those holes by looking under the dash or from the engine compartment?
Then, could you see the coat hanger on the, "other side???"
Thank you, Dennis in E WA state
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
I experience the same thing in cold weather, but it's no different than my current Toyota, a previous Toyota and a previous Honda, which is as far back as I can recall.

I'm old and my circulation in hands and feet was never the best to begin with. The point being, the overriding factor may be the user, not the vehicle. My wife has never had this issue in any of these vehicles, whether driving or as a passenger.

My partial solution is to set vents to lower only, increase fan speed and raise the temp to something like 78. That helps though I can't say my feet have ever gotten toasty in any of those vehicles. My wife de-syncs to a lower temp.
 
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Thank you for the comments. I'm 78 and also have a tendency for cold hands and feet. However, unlike your experiences, our '99 and 2000 Jeep Cherokees have never given me any lower heat trouble. Neither does my old GMC pickup, etc. We have tried what our Mazda service writer suggested, (almost exactly what you do), and set temp for 81+ which then displays, "hi." In no time at all my feet were nice and toasty but from the waist up I was cooking/sweating.
I think Mazda clearly has a design problem.
 
Question: did you find those holes by looking under the dash or from the engine compartment?
Then, could you see the coat hanger on the, "other side???"

Couldn't see any thing from under the hood because it's too busy with equipment in the way. I found the holes by looking under the dash on the driver's side. I couldn't see the coat hanger on the other side of the firewall because of all the equipment attachments to and at the firewall. I knew it penetrated the firewall because I could feel it penetrate the firewall and hit something in the engine compartment. The brake booster and other equipment blocked my view from the top. May have been able to get a look at it by removing the lower engine cover and looking from the bottom but I was not that interested in going any further because I could easily tell that the problem was the hole closest to the brake pedal. The coat hanger bottomed out when I put it in the hole to the left but definitely went further and penetrated the firewall in the right hole. I'm just happy that I don't have that annoying cold air draft hitting my feet any more.
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
Question: did you find those holes by looking under the dash or from the engine compartment?
Then, could you see the coat hanger on the, "other side???"

Couldn't see any thing from under the hood because it's too busy with equipment in the way. I found the holes by looking under the dash on the driver's side. I couldn't see the coat hanger on the other side of the firewall because of all the equipment attachments to and at the firewall. I knew it penetrated the firewall because I could feel it penetrate the firewall and hit something in the engine compartment. The brake booster and other equipment blocked my view from the top. May have been able to get a look at it by removing the lower engine cover and looking from the bottom but I was not that interested in going any further because I could easily tell that the problem was the hole closest to the brake pedal. The coat hanger bottomed out when I put it in the hole to the left but definitely went further and penetrated the firewall in the right hole. I'm just happy that I don't have that annoying cold air draft hitting my feet any more.
The holes are there for a reason, don't you think? Wouldn't it be easier to manufacture the part without the additional step of drilling holes and adding grommets? Perhaps this is to provide a constant source of some outside air even in recirculation mode. Why? Perhaps it is to avoid some oxygen deprivation when the vehicle is loaded with people driven over a long distance? Some other reason? I think I'd want to know the reason behind a design before hacking it.
 
Perhaps it is to avoid some oxygen deprivation when the vehicle is loaded with people driven over a long distance? Some other reason? I think I'd want to know the reason behind a design before hacking it.

Perhaps not. I believe the holes in the firewall are for allowing the plastic grommets to attach the silencer/padding to the firewall and the one grommet has a hole through it which is not by design because the other does not have a hole through it. I believe you are reading too much into this. I don't regard plugging a hole that is not suppose to be present as a hack. Additionally the Mazda CX-5 does provide for outside air and there are instances where the manufacturer instructs us to use recirculation air. From the owner's manual "
  • The recirculate mode should be used when driving through tunnels or while in a traffic jam, or when you would like to shut off outside air for quick cooling of the interior.
  • Use the outside air position for ventilation or windscreen defrosting."
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
An additional note:

Even with the climate control set to feet-only some heat is directed to the dash vents. I noticed today some of those vents were wide open from A/C season. After closing them all the heat to the feet was quite toasty in fact.
 
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Pueblo county CO
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CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
I remember seeing ads for cars back in the '60s mentioning 'flow through ventilation' which I think was a gov't mandate to install these little louvers in the rear.

Cars like the Ford Maverick and Austin American, retailing for $1995 + delivery and taxes, would have features like
AM radio, Heater, Vinyl Seats and Floor mats, AND 'Flow Through Ventilation"😅

I don't think they would draw air from under the hood. Too much danger of exhaust fumes.