2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 BMW X3

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 X3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the CX-5 and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

Warranty

Mazda’s powertrain warranty covers the CX-5 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the X3 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 40 points higher than the X3.

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 2 more horsepower (250 vs. 248) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 258) than the X3 s/xDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-5 gets better fuel mileage than the X3:

 

 

CX-5

X3

 

2WD

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

25 city/31 hwy

23 city/30 hwy

sDrive30i/Auto

4WD

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

24 city/30 hwy

22 city/29 hwy

xDrive30i/Auto

 

2.5 Turbo/Auto

22 city/27 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

M40i/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 X3 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

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 BMW X3 (5 to 7). This means the CX-5 produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the X3 every 15,000 miles.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the CX-5’s turning circle is 3.4 feet tighter than the X3 xDrive30i’s (36 feet vs. 39.4 feet). The CX-5’s turning circle is 3.7 feet tighter than the X3 M40i’s (36 feet vs. 39.7 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda CX-5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 500 pounds less than the BMW X3.

The CX-5 is 6.8 inches shorter than the X3, making the CX-5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 2.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X3 (103.8 vs. 101.4).

The CX-5 has .7 inches more front legroom and 3.2 inches more rear legroom than the X3.

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area than the X3 with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 28.7 cubic feet).

The CX-5’s cargo area is larger than the X3’s in almost every dimension:

 

CX-5

X3

Max Width

57”

47”

Min Width

41.3”

43.3”

Height

32.4”

30.1”

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 X3 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 X3 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 X3’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

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 X3 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 $495 less than the X3 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 X3 only retains 46.62% to 48.02%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the X3 because it costs $531 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-5 than the X3, including $616 less for a water pump, $691 less for a muffler, $82 less for front brake pads, $337 less for a starter, $184 less for fuel injection, $256 less for a fuel pump, $291 less for front struts, $673 less for a timing belt/chain and $1071 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 $15051 to $20867 less than for the BMW X3.

Recommendations

The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” in 2018. The X3 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the BMW X3 by over three to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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