2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Chevrolet Equinox

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 Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer height-adjustable front 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 Equinox doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the CX-5 and the Equinox 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.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mazda CX-5 is safer than the Chevrolet Equinox:

CX-5

Equinox

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

82

159

Leg Forces (l/r)

160/307 lbs.

363/349 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

156

376

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.6 inches

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

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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Mazda CX-5 is safer than the Chevrolet Equinox:

CX-5

Equinox

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

81

109

Chest Movement

.5 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

126 G’s

195 G’s

Hip Force

189 lbs.

357 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

208

288

Hip Force

524 lbs.

630 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

32 G’s

40 G’s

Hip Force

435 lbs.

730 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-5 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 45 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Equinox was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The CX-5’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Equinox’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

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 32 points higher than the Equinox.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 23rd.

Engine

The CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 17 more horsepower (187 vs. 170) than the Equinox’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 260) than the Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

The CX-5’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 31 more horsepower (168 vs. 137) and 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs. 240) than the Equinox’s 1.6 turbo diesel.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mazda CX-5 4 cyl. is faster than the Chevrolet Equinox 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.:

CX-5

Equinox

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

3.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

9.6 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.4 sec

6.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.6 sec

17.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85 MPH

82 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

CX-5

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

AWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/30 hwy

Equinox

FWD

1.5 Turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/32 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CX-5 2.5 non-turbo’s fuel efficiency. The Equinox 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 Chevrolet Equinox (3 to 5). This means the CX-5 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Equinox every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-5 stops shorter than the Equinox:

CX-5

Equinox

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

144 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The CX-5 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the CX-5 flat and controlled during cornering. The Equinox’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The CX-5 has engine speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Equinox doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The CX-5 Signature AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the Equinox LT AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the CX-5’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Equinox’s (36 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The CX-5’s turning circle is 5.6 feet tighter than the Equinox w/19” wheels’ (36 feet vs. 41.6 feet).

Chassis

The CX-5 is 4 inches shorter than the Equinox, making the CX-5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has .1 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front hip room, .5 inches more rear headroom and 3.6 inches more rear hip room than the Equinox.

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a larger cargo volume than the Equinox with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 29.9 cubic feet).

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

CX-5

Equinox

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

38”/n.a.

34.9”/67.4”

Max Width

57”

53.7”

Min Width

41.3”

40.7”

Height

32.4”

31”

Towing

The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Equinox’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds).

Ergonomics

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

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

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 Equinox doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The CX-5’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Equinox’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Equinox’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Equinox doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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 Equinox is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the Equinox because it costs $567 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-5 than the Equinox, including $229 less for a water pump, $544 less for a muffler, $141 less for front brake pads, $62 less for a starter, $109 less for fuel injection, $396 less for a fuel pump, $415 less for a timing belt/chain and $184 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

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

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its April 2019 issue and they ranked the Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD six places higher than the Chevrolet Equinox LT AWD.

The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 2 of the last 2 years. The Equinox has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

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

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