2019 Lexus NX Series vs. 2019 Mazda CX-5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The NX Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The CX-5 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The NX Series offers an optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Automatic Braking that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The CX-5 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The NX Series offers an optional Panoramic View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The CX-5 only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the NX Series and the CX-5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus NX Series is safer than the Mazda CX-5:

NX Series

CX-5

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

49 G’s

65 G’s

Hip Force

303 lbs.

524 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The NX Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The CX-5’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the NX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mazda covers the CX-5. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the CX-5 ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The NX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the CX-5’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the NX Series’ reliability 15 points higher than the CX-5.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 22nd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 45 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 14th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Mazda is ranked third.

Engine

The NX 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 7 more horsepower (194 vs. 187) and 13 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 186) than the CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the NX 300h hybrid is faster than the Mazda CX-5 4 cyl.:

NX Series

CX-5

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

8.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.5 MPH

78.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the NX 300h gets better fuel mileage than the CX-5 AWD with its standard engine (33 city/30 hwy vs. 24 city/30 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the NX 300 AWD gets better fuel mileage than the CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature AWD (22 city/28 hwy vs. 22 city/27 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the NX Series 300h’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the NX Series 300h’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-5 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

The NX 300h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the NX Series’ front brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-5:

NX Series

CX-5

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

The NX Series stops much shorter than the CX-5:

NX Series

CX-5

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

144 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the NX Series F Sport’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-5 (235/55R18 vs. 225/65R17).

Suspension and Handling

The NX Series has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The CX-5’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The NX Series offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The CX-5’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The NX 300h AWD handles at .80 G’s, while the CX-5 Grand Touring AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The NX 300 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the CX-5 Grand Touring AWD (27.2 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The NX Series has 1.8 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more front shoulder room and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-5.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the NX Series. The CX-5 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the NX Series’ liftgate, leaving your hands completely free. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The NX Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CX-5 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Lexus third in service department satisfaction. With a 85% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

The NX Series’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-5 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The NX Series’ instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The CX-5 has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The power windows standard on both the NX Series and the CX-5 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the NX Series is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-5 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The NX Series’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The CX-5’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the NX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the CX-5 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The NX Series has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The CX-5 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The NX Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature.

When the NX Series with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The CX-5’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The NX Series offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The CX-5 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The NX Series has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature.

Both the NX Series and the CX-5 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the NX Series has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The CX-5 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

The NX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the NX Series will retain 52.34% to 52.9% of its original price after five years, while the CX-5 only retains 49.11% to 49.47%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the NX Series is less expensive to operate than the CX-5 because typical repairs cost less on the NX Series than the CX-5, including $21 less for front brake pads.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Lexus NX Series and the Mazda CX-5, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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