2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

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 Golf Alltrack scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Both the CX-5 and the Golf Alltrack 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 all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Golf Alltrack was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

The CX-5 comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Mazda will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Golf Alltrack.

Reliability

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 14 points higher than the Golf Alltrack.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 22nd in initial quality. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

Engine

The CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 19 more horsepower (187 vs. 168) than the Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 82 more horsepower (250 vs. 168) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 199) than the Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-5 with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the Golf Alltrack Auto (24 city/30 hwy vs. 22 city/30 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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

CX-5

CX-5 Turbo

Golf

Front Rotors

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

10.7 inches

Tires and Wheels

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

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

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than on the Golf Alltrack (106.2 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-5 is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 3.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Golf Alltrack.

For greater off-road capability the CX-5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Golf Alltrack (7.5 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the CX-5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 9.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf Alltrack (103.8 vs. 94.3).

The CX-5 has 1.1 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 4 inches more rear legroom and .9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf Alltrack.

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

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a larger cargo area than the Golf Alltrack with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 30.4 cubic feet).

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

 

CX-5

Golf

Max Width

57”

50.2”

Min Width

41.3”

39.6”

Height

32.4”

29.2”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CX-5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

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

Ergonomics

The CX-5 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the CX-5 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Golf Alltrack only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The CX-5’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Golf Alltrack’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

Both the CX-5 and the Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack.

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 Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

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

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by over three to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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