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The Q3’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The CX-5 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
Both the Q3 and CX-5 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q3 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The CX-5’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The Q3 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, 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.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q3. But it costs extra on the CX-5.
The Q3 Prestige has a standard Top View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The CX-5 only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.
Both the Q3 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, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Q3 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The CX-5’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The Q3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the CX-5’s (12 vs. 5 years).
The Audi Q3’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.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Q3 has a 140-amp alternator. The CX-5’s standard 100-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 35 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.
The Q3’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 41 more horsepower (228 vs. 187) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 186) than the CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Q3’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-5 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi Q3 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 Q3 has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-5 FWD’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 14.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi Q3 higher (7 out of 10) than the Mazda CX-5 (3 to 7). This means the Q3 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the CX-5 every 15,000 miles.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi Q3, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-5.
For better stopping power the Q3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-5:
CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature
The Q3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the CX-5 are solid, not vented.
The Q3 stops much shorter than the CX-5:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
For better traction, the Q3 has larger standard tires than the CX-5 (235/55R18 vs. 225/65R17). The Q3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-5 (255/40R20 vs. 225/65R17).
The Q3’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 Q3’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q3 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the CX-5 Sport/Touring. The Q3’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature.
The Q3 Prestige handles at .91 G’s, while the CX-5 Signature AWD pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Q3. The CX-5 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Q3’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The Q3 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.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 46% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.
The power windows standard on both the Q3 and the CX-5 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Q3 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.
If the windows are left open on the Q3 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. 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 Q3’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 Q3 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 Q3’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.
The Q3 Prestige has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The CX-5 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The Q3 has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature.
Both the Q3 and the CX-5 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Q3 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.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi Q3 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The CX-5 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Q3 Prestige’s Park Steering 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.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi Q3 and the Mazda CX-5, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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