2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the CX-5 and the Crosstrek 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

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.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

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 35 more horsepower (187 vs. 152) and 41 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 98 more horsepower (250 vs. 152) and 165 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mazda CX-5 (base engine) is faster than the Subaru Crosstrek (automatics tested):

 

CX-5

Crosstrek

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

10.2 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.4 sec

6.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.6 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85 MPH

82 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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 Crosstrek 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 Subaru Crosstrek (6 to 7). This means the CX-5 produces up to 1.1 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

CX-5

CX-5 Turbo

Crosstrek

Front Rotors

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

10.8 inches

The CX-5 stops shorter than the Crosstrek:

 

CX-5

Crosstrek

 

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

131 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 Crosstrek’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

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 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 (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.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Crosstrek Premium pulls only .79 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 Crosstrek Limited (28 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 2.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Crosstrek (103.8 vs. 100.9).

The CX-5 has .1 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 3.1 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more rear hip room than the Crosstrek.

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

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Crosstrek with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 20.8 cubic feet). The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Crosstrek with its rear seat folded (59.6 vs. 55.3 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 Crosstrek’s liftover is 30.9 inches.

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

 

CX-5

Crosstrek

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 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 doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Crosstrek’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds).

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’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 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

Both the CX-5 and the Crosstrek 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.

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 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the CX-5 Grand Touring’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Crosstrek doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the CX-5 and the Crosstrek 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 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 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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 Crosstrek is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the Crosstrek because it costs $297 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the CX-5 than the Crosstrek, including $128 less for a water pump, $5 less for front brake pads, $157 less for a starter, $100 less for a fuel pump, $149 less for front struts and $171 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

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

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Subaru Crosstrek by 7002 units during the 2018 model year.

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

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