2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Jeep Compass

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the CX-5 and the Compass 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 Compass was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

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 54 points higher than the Compass.

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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 44 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 28th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Jeep is ranked 22nd.

Engine

The CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 7 more horsepower (187 vs. 180) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 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 Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda CX-5 (base engine) is faster than the Jeep Compass (automatics tested):

 

CX-5

Compass

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

10.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

80.4 MPH

76.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

CX-5

Compass

 

2WD

4 cyl./Auto

25 city/31 hwy

22 city/31 hwy

4 cyl./Auto

4WD

 

n/a

22 city/31 hwy

4 cyl./Manual

 

4 cyl./Auto

24 city/30 hwy

22 city/30 hwy

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

The CX-5 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Compass (14.8 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The CX-5 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Compass (15.3 vs. 13.5 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 Jeep Compass (3 to 7). This means the CX-5 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Compass 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 Compass.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

CX-5

Compass

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

10.95 inches

The CX-5 stops much shorter than the Compass:

 

CX-5

Compass

 

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

144 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

144 feet

151 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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

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 Compass Sport.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the Compass (106.2 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-5 is 2.1 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Compass.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Compass Trailhawk pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Compass Trailhawk (28 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 4.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Compass (103.8 vs. 99.6).

The CX-5 has .5 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and 6.1 inches more rear hip room than the Compass.

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

The front step up height for the CX-5 is 1.8 inches lower than the Compass (17.6” vs. 19.4”). The CX-5’s rear step up height is 2.5 inches lower than the Compass’ (18.2” vs. 20.7”).

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area than the Compass with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 27.2 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 Compass’ liftover is 31.1 inches.

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

 

CX-5

Compass

Max Width

57”

53.8”

Min Width

41.3”

38.1”

Height

32.4”

29.6”

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

Towing

The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Compass’ (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 Compass 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 Compass doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

Consumer Reports rated the CX-5’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Compass’ headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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 Compass’ headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

The Compass Latitude/Trailhawk/Limited’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 Compass 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 Compass.

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 Compass 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 Compass is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the Compass because typical repairs cost less on the CX-5 than the Compass, including $97 less for a water pump, $15 less for front brake pads, $110 less for a fuel pump, $132 less for front struts and $105 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

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

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Jeep Compass by 53% during 2017.

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

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