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The Golf Alltrack has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Golf Alltrack (except S) offers optional Maneuver Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The CX-5 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Golf Alltrack. But it costs extra on the CX-5.
The Golf Alltrack (except S) offers optional Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.
Compared to metal, the Golf Alltrack’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda CX-5 has a metal gas tank.
Both the Golf Alltrack and the CX-5 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 and available lane departure warning systems.
The Golf Alltrack comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The CX-5’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.
The Golf Alltrack’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the CX-5’s (10 vs. 5 years).
There are over 12 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are Mazda dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Golf Alltrack’s warranty.
The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the CX-5’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
The Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. produces 13 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 186) than the CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.
As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is faster than the Mazda CX-5 4 cyl. (automatics tested):
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
On the EPA test cycle the Golf Alltrack Auto gets better fuel mileage than the CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature AWD (22 city/30 hwy vs. 22 city/27 hwy).
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack uses regular unleaded gasoline. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Golf Alltrack offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.
The Golf Alltrack offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The CX-5 doesn’t offer an SMG.
The Golf Alltrack stops much shorter than the CX-5:
60 to 0 MPH
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
The Golf Alltrack’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-5 Sport/Touring’s standard 65 series tires. The Golf Alltrack’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature’s 55 series tires.
The Golf Alltrack SEL handles at .85 G’s, while the CX-5 Grand Touring AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The Golf Alltrack SEL executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the CX-5 Grand Touring AWD (27 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .58 average G’s).
The Golf Alltrack has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-5 with its rear seat folded (66.5 vs. 59.6 cubic feet).
A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Golf Alltrack easier. The Golf Alltrack’s trunk lift-over height is 24.8 inches, while the CX-5’s liftover is 29.2 inches.
The Golf Alltrack uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CX-5 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The Golf Alltrack has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The CX-5 doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.
The power windows standard on both the Golf Alltrack and the CX-5 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Golf Alltrack is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-5 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
The Golf Alltrack’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 CX-5’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.
If the windows are left open on the Golf Alltrack the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the CX-5 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Golf Alltrack’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The CX-5’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The Golf Alltrack has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The CX-5 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.
The Golf Alltrack’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature.
Both the Golf Alltrack and the CX-5 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Golf Alltrack has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The CX-5 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The Golf Alltrack SE/SEL has a 115-volt a/c outlet in the cargo area, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The Golf Alltrack (except S)’s optional Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The CX-5 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Volkswagen Golf comes in four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Mazda CX-5 isn’t available as a four door.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and the Mazda CX-5, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 12 of the last 12 years. The CX-5 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The CX-5 has never been chosen.
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