2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2018 Fiat 500X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 500X scores only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Both the CX-5 and the 500X have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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 500X 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 Fiat covers the 500X. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the 500X ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 38 percent more Mazda dealers than there are Fiat dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the CX-5’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the CX-5’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 500X Pop’s camshafts. If the 500X’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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 63 points higher than the 500X.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 48 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 29th.

Engine

The CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 27 more horsepower (187 vs. 160) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 184) than the 500X Pop’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The CX-5’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 7 more horsepower (187 vs. 180) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 175) than the 500X’s optional 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 70 more horsepower (250 vs. 180) and 135 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 175) than the 500X’s optional 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mazda CX-5 (base engine) is faster than the Fiat 500X 4 cyl. (automatics tested):

 

CX-5

500X

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

3.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

9.8 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.4 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.6 sec

17.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85 MPH

81.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-5 gets better fuel mileage than the 500X:

 

 

CX-5

500X

 

2WD

4 cyl./Auto

25 city/31 hwy

22 city/30 hwy

 

4WD

4 cyl./Auto

24 city/30 hwy

21 city/29 hwy

 

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 500X doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The CX-5 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500X (14.8 vs. 12.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The CX-5 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500X (15.3 vs. 12.7 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mazda CX-5 higher (7 out of 10) than the Fiat 500X (3 to 7). This means the CX-5 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 500X every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Mazda CX-5 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the 500X.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 500X:

 

CX-5

500X

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

10.95 inches

The CX-5 stops shorter than the 500X:

 

CX-5

500X

 

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

144 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CX-5 has larger tires than the 500X (225/65R17 vs. 215/60R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CX-5 Sport/Touring has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the 500X Pop. The CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the 500X AWD Trekking/Lounge.

The CX-5 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 500X; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 5 inches longer than on the 500X (106.2 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-5 is 2 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the 500X.

The CX-5’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (57% to 43%) than the 500X’s (60.3% to 39.7%). This gives the CX-5 more stable handling and braking.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the 500X Trekking AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the 500X Trekking AWD (28 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 12.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500X (103.8 vs. 91.7).

The CX-5 has .6 inches more front headroom, 1.9 inches more front hip room, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 4.8 inches more rear legroom, 3.1 inches more rear hip room and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500X.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the CX-5’s rear seats recline. The 500X’s rear seats don’t recline.

The front step up height for the CX-5 is 1.8 inches lower than the 500X (17.6” vs. 19.4”). The CX-5’s rear step up height is 1.4 inches lower than the 500X’s (18.2” vs. 19.6”).

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the 500X with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 12.2 cubic feet). The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the 500X with its rear seat folded (59.6 vs. 32.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the CX-5 easier. The CX-5’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.2 inches, while the 500X’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

The CX-5’s cargo area is larger than the 500X’s in every dimension:

 

CX-5

500X

Max Width

57”

41.3”

Min Width

41.3”

37.8”

Height

32.4”

28.8”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CX-5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The 500X doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the 500X’s (2000 vs. 0 pounds).

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature, the memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The 500X doesn’t offer memory seats.

The CX-5 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The 500X doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-5 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 500X doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 500X’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

The 500X Trekking/Lounge’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

Both the CX-5 and the 500X 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 500X.

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 500X doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the CX-5 has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the CX-5 offers an optional Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 500X doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CX-5 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the CX-5 with a number “1” insurance rate while the 500X is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

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 500X only retains 35.57% to 36.62%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the 500X because typical repairs cost much less on the CX-5 than the 500X, including $213 less for a water pump, $5 less for front brake pads, $53 less for fuel injection, $239 less for a fuel pump and $77 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 $1220 to $1878 less than for the Fiat 500X.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda CX-5, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Fiat 500X isn't recommended.

The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” in 2018. The 500X has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Fiat 500X by over 25 to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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