2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Ford Escape

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Escape doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The CX-5 has standard Smart City Brake Support, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Escape offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

Both the CX-5 and the Escape 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, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Mazda CX-5 is safer than the Escape:

 

CX-5

Escape

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

2 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

24 cm

26 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

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 Escape was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

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 15 points higher than the Escape.

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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Ford is ranked 18th.

Engine

The CX-5 has more powerful engines than the Escape:

 

Horsepower

Torque

CX-5 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

187 HP

186 lbs.-ft.

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

310 lbs.-ft.

Escape 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

168 HP

170 lbs.-ft.

Escape 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

179 HP

177 lbs.-ft.

Escape Titanium 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

245 HP

275 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda CX-5 (base engine) is faster than the Ford Escape:

 

CX-5

Escape 4 cyl.

Escape 1.5 turbo

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

9.1 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.9 sec

17.1 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

CX-5

Escape

 

2WD

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

25 city/31 hwy

21 city/29 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

 

 

n/a

23 city/30 hwy

1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

 

 

n/a

22 city/28 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

4WD

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

24 city/30 hwy

22 city/28 hwy

1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

 

2.5 Turbo/Auto

22 city/27 hwy

21 city/27 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./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 Escape 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 Ford Escape (3 to 5). This means the CX-5 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Escape every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-5 stops shorter than the Escape:

 

CX-5

Escape

 

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

144 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

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 Escape.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Escape Titanium AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the CX-5’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the Escape’s (36 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 5.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Escape (103.8 vs. 98.7).

The CX-5 has .7 inches more front hip room, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and 2.9 inches more rear hip room than the Escape.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

CX-5

Escape

Max Width

57”

45.6”

Min Width

41.3”

40.4”

Height

32.4”

34.5”

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

Towing

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

Ergonomics

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 Escape doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-5’s driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Escape’s standard driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

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 Escape doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Consumer Reports rated the CX-5’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Escape’s headlights, which were rated “Fair” to “Good” (depending on model and options).

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 Escape doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Both the CX-5 and the Escape 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 Escape.

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 Escape doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 Escape 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 Escape only retains 41.72% to 45.81%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the Escape because it costs $144 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-5 than the Escape, including $39 less for a fuel pump, $315 less for a timing belt/chain and $328 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 $1462 to $2979 less than for the Ford Escape.

Recommendations

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

The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” in 2018. The Escape 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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