2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2018 BMW X1

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mazda CX-5 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X1 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The CX-5 has standard Whiplash-Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash-Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The X1 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Smart City Brake Support optional in the CX-5 as “Superior.” The X1 scores at most only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The CX-5’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The X1 doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the CX-5’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The X1 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the CX-5 and the X1 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X1 was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

Mazda’s powertrain warranty covers the CX-5 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X1. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the X1 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 69 percent more Mazda dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the CX-5’s warranty.

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 CX-5’s reliability 53 points higher than the X1.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. BMW is ranked 8th.

Engine

The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 22 more horsepower (250 vs. 228) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 258) than the X1’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-5 gets better fuel mileage than the X1:

 

 

CX-5

X1

 

2WD

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

25 city/31 hwy

23 city/32 hwy

sDrive28i/Auto

4WD

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

24 city/30 hwy

22 city/31 hwy

xDrive28i/Auto

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CX-5 non-turbo’s fuel efficiency. The X1 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-5 stops shorter than the X1:

 

CX-5

X1

 

60 to 0 MPH

133 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the X1 (106.2 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-5 is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the X1.

For better maneuverability, the CX-5’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the X1’s (36 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the CX-5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X1 (7.5 vs. 7.2 inches), allowing the CX-5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 2.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X1 (103.8 vs. 101.2).

The CX-5 has .6 inches more front legroom, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room and 2.6 inches more rear legroom than the X1.

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the X1 with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 27.1 cubic feet). The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the X1 with its rear seat folded (59.6 vs. 58.7 cubic feet).

The CX-5’s cargo area is larger than the X1’s in almost every dimension:

 

CX-5

X1

Max Width

57”

51.5”

Min Width

41.3”

39.5”

Height

32.4”

33”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CX-5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The X1 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

The CX-5 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The X1 has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The CX-5 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X1 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the CX-5 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the X1 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Consumer Reports rated the CX-5’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the X1’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The CX-5’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the X1’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

Both the CX-5 and the X1 offer available heated front seats. The CX-5 Grand Touring also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the X1.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the CX-5 (except Sport/Touring) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The X1 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CX-5 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the CX-5 will cost $335 to $1020 less than the X1 over a five-year period.

The CX-5 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the CX-5 will retain 49.11% to 49.47% of its original price after five years, while the X1 only retains 48.72% to 48.91%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the X1 because it costs $72 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-5 than the X1, including $530 less for a water pump, $570 less for a muffler, $79 less for front brake pads, $315 less for a starter, $189 less for fuel injection, $289 less for a fuel pump, $201 less for front struts, $894 less for a timing belt/chain and $724 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda CX-5 will be $5276 to $8375 less than for the BMW X1.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda CX-5, based on reliability, safety and performance. The BMW X1 isn't recommended.

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the BMW X1 by almost five to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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