2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Subaru Impreza

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the CX-5 and the Impreza 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.

The Mazda CX-5 weighs 406 to 851 pounds more than the Subaru Impreza. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.


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 12 points higher than the Impreza.

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.


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 Impreza’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 Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

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




Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

9.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17.2 sec

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 Impreza 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 Impreza (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 Impreza (15.3 vs. 13.2 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 Subaru Impreza (6 to 7). This means the CX-5 produces up to 1.1 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Impreza every 15,000 miles.


The Mazda CX-5 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Impreza.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the CX-5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Impreza:



CX-5 Turbo


Impreza Sport

Front Rotors

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

10.9 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

10.8 inches

10.8 inches

The CX-5 stops shorter than the Impreza:





60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CX-5 has larger tires than the Impreza (225/65R17 vs. 205/55R16).

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 Impreza. The CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Impreza Sport.

Suspension and Handling

The CX-5 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the CX-5 flat and controlled during cornering. The Impreza base model’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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 Impreza doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the Impreza (106.2 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-5 is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the Impreza.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Impreza 2.0i Limited 5-door pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the CX-5 has a 2.4 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Impreza (7.5 vs. 5.1 inches), allowing the CX-5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

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

The CX-5 has .1 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear headroom, 3.1 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more rear hip room than the Impreza.

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

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Impreza 5-door 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 Impreza 5-door with its rear seat folded (59.6 vs. 55.3 cubic feet).

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


The CX-5 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Impreza has no towing capacity.


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 Impreza 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 Impreza 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 Impreza’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 Impreza’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

Both the CX-5 and the Impreza 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 Impreza.

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 Impreza 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 Impreza 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 Impreza doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the Impreza 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 Impreza, including $128 less for a water pump, $10 less for front brake pads, $157 less for a starter, $100 less for a fuel pump, $158 less for front struts and $171 less for a timing belt/chain.


Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Impreza, 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 Impreza has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Subaru Impreza by 87% during the 2018 model year.

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

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