2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the CX-5 and the Crosstrek Hybrid 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

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 Crosstrek Hybrid has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 22nd in initial quality. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

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

Engine

The CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 39 more horsepower (187 vs. 148) and 186 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs.) than the Crosstrek Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 102 more horsepower (250 vs. 148) and 310 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs.) than the Crosstrek Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

The CX-5 Signature’s optional 2.2 turbo diesel produces 20 more horsepower (168 vs. 148) and 290 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs.) than the Crosstrek Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

The CX-5 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Crosstrek Hybrid (14.8 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The CX-5 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Crosstrek Hybrid (15.3 vs. 13.2 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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

CX-5

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature

Crosstrek Hybrid

Front Rotors

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

11.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

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

The CX-5 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Crosstrek Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The CX-5 has engine speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 1.3 inches longer than on the Crosstrek Hybrid (106.2 inches vs. 104.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-5 is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Crosstrek Hybrid.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 2.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Crosstrek Hybrid (103.6 vs. 100.7).

The CX-5 has .1 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear headroom, 2.9 inches more rear legroom and 1.3 inches more rear hip room than the Crosstrek Hybrid.

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

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Crosstrek Hybrid with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 15.9 cubic feet). The CX-5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Crosstrek Hybrid with its rear seat folded (59.6 vs. 43.1 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 Crosstrek Hybrid’s liftover is 30.7 inches.

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

CX-5

Crosstrek Hybrid

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

38”/n.a.

28.9”/63.1”

Max Width

57”

53”

Min Width

41.3”

43”

Height

32.4”

30”

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

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the CX-5 (except Sport) offers an optional power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Crosstrek Hybrid’s (2000 vs. 1000 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is only 1000 pounds. The CX-5 offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The engine computer on the CX-5 automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

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 Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer memory seats.

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 Crosstrek Hybrid 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 Crosstrek Hybrid’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The CX-5’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Both the CX-5 and the Crosstrek Hybrid 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 Crosstrek Hybrid.

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 Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the CX-5 and the Crosstrek Hybrid offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Model Availability

The CX-5 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

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

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

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Subaru Crosstrek by 6238 units during 2018.

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

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