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The CX-5 has standard Whiplash-Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash-Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Escape FHEV doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The CX-5 Signature has a standard 360° Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Escape FHEV only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
Both the CX-5 and the Escape FHEV 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available all-wheel drive.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-5 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Escape FHEV is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2020.
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 52 points higher than the Escape FHEV.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda second in reliability. Ford is ranked 16th.
The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 50 more horsepower (250 vs. 200) than the Escape FHEV’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.
As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda CX-5 is faster than the Ford Escape FHEV:
CX-5 4 cyl.
CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature
Zero to 60 MPH
An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CX-5 2.5 non-turbo’s fuel efficiency. The Escape FHEV doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.
The CX-5 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Escape FHEV (15.3 vs. 14.2 gallons).
The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Escape FHEV SE Sport 4x4 pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Escape FHEV SE Sport 4x4 (27.8 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .6 average G’s).
For better maneuverability, the CX-5’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the Escape FHEV’s (36 feet vs. 37.2 feet).
The CX-5 has .7 inches more rear legroom and 2 inches more rear hip room than the Escape FHEV.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the CX-5’s rear seats recline. The Escape FHEV’s rear seats don’t recline.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CX-5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Escape FHEV doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Escape FHEV’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds).
The CX-5’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 Escape FHEV’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.
The CX-5’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 Escape FHEV’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
Consumer Reports rated the CX-5’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Escape FHEV’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 headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Escape FHEV’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Escape FHEV doesn’t offer cornering lights.
Both the CX-5 and the Escape FHEV offer available heated front seats. The CX-5 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Escape FHEV.
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 Escape FHEV doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the CX-5’s optional (except Sport/Touring) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Escape FHEV doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda CX-5, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Escape FHEV isn't recommended.
The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 3 of the last 3 years. The Escape FHEV has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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