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.

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.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mazda CX-5 (base engine) is faster than the NX 300h:

 

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

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-5 with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the NX 300:

 

 

CX-5

NX

 

2WD

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

25 city/31 hwy

22 city/28 hwy

300/Auto

4WD

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

24 city/30 hwy

22 city/28 hwy

300/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 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 shorter than the NX Series:

 

CX-5

NX Series

 

60 to 0 MPH

124 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 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the NX 300 pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend 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 350 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 32.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the NX Series (103.8 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 area 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 area 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 29.2 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

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).

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

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” in 2018. 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 the 2018 model year.

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

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