2020 Ford Escape vs. 2020 Mazda CX-5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/23

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Ford Escape have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Mazda CX-5 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The Escape has standard Post Collision Braking, 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 Escape offers an optional backup collision prevention system that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The CX-5 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Escape’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

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

Warranty

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There are over 5 times as many Ford dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Escape’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Escape has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in reliability. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

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The Escape’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 63 more horsepower (250 vs. 187) and 94 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 186) than the CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Ford Escape (base engine) is faster than the Mazda CX-5 (base engine):

Escape

CX-5

Zero to 60 MPH

8.4 sec

8.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16.6 sec

16.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.5 MPH

78.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Escape

FWD

1.5 turbo 3-cyl.

27 city/33 hwy

AWD

1.5 turbo 3-cyl.

26 city/31 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/31 hwy

CX-5

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

24 city/30 hwy

AWD

2.5 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/27 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Escape’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.

The Escape has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Escape, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-5.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Escape

CX-5

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature

Front Rotors

13 inches

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

The Escape stops much shorter than the CX-5:

Escape

CX-5

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

144 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

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The Escape has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The CX-5’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Escape SE AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the CX-5 Signature AWD pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Escape Titanium AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the CX-5 Grand Touring AWD (27.7 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Ford Escape may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 pounds less than the Mazda CX-5.

The front grille of the Escape uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The CX-5 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Escape has .3 inches more front headroom, 1.4 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 1.1 inches more rear legroom and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-5.

Cargo Capacity

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The Escape has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the CX-5 with its rear seat up (37.5 vs. 30.9 cubic feet). The Escape has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-5 with its rear seat folded (65.4 vs. 59.6 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Escape easier. The Escape’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.1 inches, while the CX-5’s liftover is 29.4 inches.

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

Escape

CX-5

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

37.8”/68.5”

38”

Max Width

57.3”

57”

Min Width

41.4”

41.3”

Height

34.8”

32.4”

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Escape’s 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.

Towing

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Maximum trailer towing in the Mazda CX-5 is limited to 2000 pounds. The Escape offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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The Escape SEL/Titanium’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-5 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Escape and the CX-5 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Escape 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.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Escape SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The CX-5 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Escape SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The CX-5 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

Both the Escape and the CX-5 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Escape SE/SEL/Titanium 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 Escape Titanium has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, 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 Escape Titanium’s Active Park Assist 2.0 can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The CX-5 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/23

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Escape is less expensive to operate than the CX-5 because typical repairs cost less on the Escape than the CX-5, including $165 less for fuel injection and $5 less for front struts.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/23

The Ford Escape outsold the Mazda CX-5 by 56% during 2019.

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