2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen vs. 2019 Mazda CX-5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Golf SportWagen 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.

Compared to metal, the Golf SportWagen’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 SportWagen and the CX-5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Golf SportWagen 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 SportWagen’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 SportWagen’s warranty.

Engine

The Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION’s optional 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.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Golf SportWagen gets better fuel mileage than the CX-5:

 

 

 

MPG

Golf

 

 

 

FWD

Manual

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

 

Auto

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

27 city/36 hwy

AWD

Manual

1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/32 hwy

 

Auto

1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

CX-5

 

 

 

FWD

Auto

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/27 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 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.

Transmission

The Golf SportWagen offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

An eight-speed automatic is optional on the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.4 turbo 4 cyl., for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-5.

Brakes and Stopping

The Golf SportWagen stops much shorter than the CX-5:

 

Golf

CX-5

 

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Golf SportWagen SE’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Golf SportWagen S handles at .80 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 SportWagen S executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the CX-5 Grand Touring AWD (27.3 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 pounds less than the Mazda CX-5.

The Golf SportWagen is 7.1 inches shorter in height than the CX-5, making the Golf SportWagen much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Cargo Capacity

The Golf SportWagen 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 SportWagen easier. The Golf SportWagen’s trunk lift-over height is 24.8 inches, while the CX-5’s liftover is 29.2 inches.

Servicing Ease

The Golf SportWagen 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 SportWagen 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.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Golf SportWagen and the CX-5 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Golf SportWagen 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 SportWagen’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 SportWagen the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the CX-5 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Golf SportWagen’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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Golf SportWagen 4Motion/SE/SEL to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The CX-5 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Golf SportWagen 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 SportWagen’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 SportWagen and the CX-5 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Golf SportWagen 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 SportWagen SE has a 115-volt a/c outlet in the cargo volume, 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.

Model Availability

The Volkswagen Golf comes in four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Mazda CX-5 isn’t available as a hatchback.

Recommendations

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.

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

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