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.

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 Ford Escape:

CX-5

Escape

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

82

243

Neck Injury Risk

23%

43%

Neck Stress

274 lbs.

396 lbs.

Neck Compression

23 lbs.

112 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

160/307 lbs.

233/311 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

156

2417

Neck Injury Risk

37%

47%

Neck Compression

86 lbs.

106 lbs.

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

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

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 Ford Escape:

CX-5

Escape

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

81

110

Hip Force

189 lbs.

351 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

208

290

Hip Force

524 lbs.

649 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

18 inches

Spine Acceleration

32 G’s

44 G’s

Hip Force

435 lbs.

707 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 Escape was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

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.

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.

The CX-5’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 120 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs. 170) than the Escape’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The CX-5’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 113 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs. 177) than the Escape’s optional 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. The CX-5’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs. 275) than the Escape Titanium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

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

CX-5 4 cyl.

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature

Escape 4 cyl.

Escape turbo 4 cyl.

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

6.4 sec

9.1 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

14.9 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:

MPG

CX-5

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

AWD

2.2 turbo 4 cyl. Diesel

27 city/30 hwy

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/30 hwy

2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/27 hwy

Escape

FWD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

AWD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/27 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 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 much shorter than the Escape:

CX-5

Escape

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 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.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Escape SE (27.8 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

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 4.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Escape (103.6 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

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

38”/n.a.

33.6”/67”

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 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 front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Escape’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. The Escape SE/SEL/Titanium’s.

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).

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 Escape’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

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” for 2 of the last 2 years. 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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