2020 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2020 Nissan Kicks

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 2020/05/28

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 Kicks doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The CX-5 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Kicks doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Mazda CX-5 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Kicks doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The CX-5 has standard E911 Automatic Emergency Notification, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Kicks doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the CX-5 and the Kicks 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.

The Mazda CX-5 weighs 821 to 1134 pounds more than the Nissan Kicks. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mazda CX-5 is safer than the Nissan Kicks:

CX-5

Kicks

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Mazda CX-5 is safer than the Nissan Kicks:

CX-5

Kicks

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

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 Kicks last would have qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Reliability

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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 32 points higher than the Kicks.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda second in reliability. Nissan is ranked 11th.

Engine

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The CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 65 more horsepower (187 vs. 122) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 128 more horsepower (250 vs. 122) and 206 lbs.-ft. more torque (320 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mazda CX-5 is faster than the Nissan Kicks:

CX-5 4 cyl.

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature

Kicks

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

n/a

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

6.2 sec

10.5 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.4 sec

n/a

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.6 sec

14.8 sec

18.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85 MPH

95 MPH

79 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/05/28

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 Kicks doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The CX-5 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (14.8 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The CX-5 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (15.3 vs. 10.8 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

© 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 2020/05/28

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

CX-5

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature

Kicks

Front Rotors

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

10.16 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

8” drums

The Mazda CX-5 has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Kicks. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The CX-5 stops much shorter than the Kicks:

CX-5

Kicks

70 to 0 MPH

169 feet

190 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the CX-5 has larger tires than the Kicks (225/65R17 vs. 205/60R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CX-5 Sport/Touring has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kicks S. The CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Kicks SV/SR.

The Mazda CX-5’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Kicks only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Mazda CX-5 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Kicks has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The CX-5 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the CX-5 flat and controlled during cornering. The Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 3.1 inches longer than on the Kicks (106.2 inches vs. 103.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-5 is 3 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Kicks.

The CX-5’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (57% to 43%) than the Kicks’ (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the CX-5 more stable handling and braking.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Kicks SR 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 1.4 seconds quicker than the Kicks SR (27.8 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the CX-5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Kicks S (7.5 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the CX-5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The CX-5’s minimum ground clearance is .5 inch higher than on the Kicks SV/SR (7.5 vs. 7 inches).

Passenger Space

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The CX-5 has 9.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Kicks (103.6 vs. 93.9).

The CX-5 has 4.3 inches more front hip room, 4.1 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, 6.4 inches more rear legroom, 6.2 inches more rear hip room and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kicks.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the CX-5’s rear seats recline. The Kicks’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The CX-5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Kicks with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 25.3 cubic feet). The CX-5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kicks with its rear seat folded (59.6 vs. 53.1 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CX-5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Kicks doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The Kicks doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

© 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 2020/05/28

The CX-5 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Kicks has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature, the memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The Kicks doesn’t offer memory seats.

The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Kicks doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-5’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Kicks has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

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 Kicks’ passenger windows don’t open or close 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 Kicks’ manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the CX-5’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Kicks’ 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 Kicks’ headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

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 Kicks doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Both the CX-5 and the Kicks 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 Kicks.

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 Kicks 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 Kicks doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The Kicks doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s 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. The Kicks doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the CX-5 and the Kicks offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Kicks SV/SR doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the CX-5 has a standard Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Kicks doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is standard on the CX-5 Signature. The CX-5’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Kicks doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With standard voice command, the CX-5 offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Kicks doesn’t offer a voice control 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 2020/05/28

The CX-5 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the CX-5 will retain 49.18% to 50.13% of its original price after five years, while the Kicks only retains 47.01% to 47.03%.

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 2020/05/28

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda CX-5, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Kicks 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 Kicks has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Nissan Kicks by almost three to one during 2019.

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

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