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2014 Mazda5 Sport: Tom's Hardware's Project Car Update

Adding LED Interior Lights

How about an easier upgrade? Changing your interior lights isn't nearly as intimidating, and you can swap in LED bulbs to get the same crisp white lighting seen in Audis, for example.

We auditioned two sets of replacement bulbs in the Mazda5. The first set was cheap; it came from Ebay and included lights for the two front sockets, the middle dome, the trunk compartment and the license plate. All told, we spent about $20 and used the whole set for a while. I just wasn't happy with it, though. Before long, I sourced a set of Sylvania ZEVO LED replacement bulbs. They're more expensive, but the quality justifies extra expense.

From left to right: Top - Stock, Sylvania Zevo, eBay | Bottom: Stock, eBay, Sylvania ZEVO

None of the eBay bulbs fit well enough for us to consider them direct replacements. The front map lights were too large to fit into the factory sockets without a fair amount of force. Installed, they provided crisp white light. But the shape of the bulbs looked off when we glanced up at them.

Sylvania’s ZEVO bulbs were a much better fit, shaped just like the factory incandescents and sized to fit more precisely. They're a truer replacement, to be sure.

If you’re going to swap the stock lights out, spend a little extra and get Sylvania's ZEVO replacement bulbs. Cheaper alternatives may promise five LEDs per bulb, but their fitment is terrible for reflector-based interior lights that rely on a certain shape for optimal lighting.