2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Lexus NX Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Smart City Brake Support optional in the CX-5 as “Superior.” The NX Series scores only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Both the CX-5 and the NX Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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.

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 Lexus NX Series:

CX-5

NX Series

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

82

209

Neck Injury Risk

23%

46%

Neck Stress

274 lbs.

509 lbs.

Neck Compression

23 lbs.

24 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

160/307 lbs.

480/609 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

156

355

Neck Injury Risk

37%

42%

Neck Stress

205 lbs.

295 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

449/262 lbs.

442/307 lbs.

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 Lexus NX Series:

CX-5

NX Series

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

81

192

Chest Movement

.5 inches

.6 inches

Abdominal Force

126 G’s

148 G’s

Hip Force

189 lbs.

352 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

208

317

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

15 inches

HIC

449

542

Spine Acceleration

32 G’s

38 G’s

Hip Force

435 lbs.

828 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 NX Series has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

There are over 2 times as many Mazda dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the CX-5’s warranty.

Engine

The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 more horsepower (250 vs. 235) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 258) than the NX 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

The CX-5’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs. 199) than the NX 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The CX-5’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 32 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs. 258) than the NX 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mazda CX-5 4 cyl. is faster than the NX 300h 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid:

CX-5

NX Series

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

3.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

8.9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.4 sec

5.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.6 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85 MPH

84.6 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the NX 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:

CX-5

NX Series

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

15.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.6 MPH

90.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

CX-5

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/28 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

NX

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

F Sport 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 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 NX Series doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Mazda CX-5 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature for maximum performance). The NX 300 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

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 Lexus NX Series (3 to 7). This means the CX-5 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the NX Series every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-5 stops much shorter than the NX Series:

CX-5

NX Series

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature has standard 19-inch wheels. The NX Series’ largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 1.5 inches longer than on the NX Series (106.2 inches vs. 104.7 inches).

The CX-5 Signature AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the NX 300 F Sport AWD pulls only .76 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 NX Series’ (36 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The CX-5’s turning circle is 3.8 feet tighter than the NX Series AWD’s (36 feet vs. 39.8 feet).

For greater off-road capability the CX-5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the NX 300h (7.5 vs. 6.7 inches), allowing the CX-5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The CX-5’s minimum ground clearance is .6 inch higher than on the NX 300 (7.5 vs. 6.9 inches).

Chassis

The Mazda CX-5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 400 pounds less than the Lexus NX Series.

The CX-5 is 3.6 inches shorter than the NX Series, making the CX-5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 32 cubic feet more passenger volume than the NX Series (103.6 vs. 71.6).

The CX-5 has 2.3 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front hip room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 3.5 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear hip room than the NX Series.

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the NX Series with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 17.7 cubic feet). The CX-5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the NX Series with its rear seat folded (59.6 vs. 54.6 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 29.4 inches, while the NX Series’ liftover is 31.2 inches.

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

CX-5

NX Series

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

38”/n.a.

36”/71.5”

Max Width

57”

53”

Min Width

41.3”

44.3”

Height

32.4”

27”

Towing

The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the NX Series’ (2000 vs. 0 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Lexus NX 300h AWD is only 2000 pounds. The CX-5 offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

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 NX Series doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 NX Series’ headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

Both the CX-5 and the NX Series 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 NX Series.

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 $750 to $1455 less than the NX Series over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the NX Series because it costs $720 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-5 than the NX Series, including $284 less for a water pump, $353 less for a muffler, $182 less for a starter, $226 less for fuel injection, $164 less for a fuel pump, $17 less for front struts, $909 less for a timing belt/chain and $38 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 $6914 to $9764 less than for the Lexus NX Series.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda CX-5 and the Lexus NX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its June 2018 issue and the Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD won out over the Lexus NX 300.

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

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Lexus NX Series by over two to one during 2018.

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

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