2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Subaru Outback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the CX-5 and the Outback 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.

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 12 more horsepower (187 vs. 175) and 12 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 174) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 63 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 247) than the Outback 3.6R’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mazda CX-5 (base engine) is faster than the Outback 2.5i:

 

CX-5

Outback

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

4.2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

10.5 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.4 sec

6.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.6 sec

18.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85 MPH

81.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature AWD gets better fuel mileage than the Outback 3.6R (22 city/27 hwy vs. 20 city/27 hwy).

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

CX-5

Outback

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.8 inches

The CX-5 stops shorter than the Outback:

 

CX-5

Outback

 

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

144 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Outback Limited/Touring’s 60 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Outback 3.6R Limited pulls only .76 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 Outback 2.5i Limited (28 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Chassis

The CX-5 is 10.8 inches shorter than the Outback, making the CX-5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has .1 inches more rear headroom, 1.5 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more rear hip room than the Outback.

The front step up height for the CX-5 is 1.4 inches lower than the Outback (17.6” vs. 19”). The CX-5’s rear step up height is .8 inches lower than the Outback’s (18.2” vs. 19”).

Cargo Capacity

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

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

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 Outback doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Model Availability

The CX-5 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Outback 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 Outback 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 Outback because it costs $477 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-5 than the Outback, including $128 less for a water pump, $10 less for front brake pads, $57 less for a starter, $109 less for a fuel pump, $115 less for front struts and $216 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

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

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