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Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Crosstrek: Compact SUV Battle

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The compact SUV segment is one of the most competitive in the automotive industry, with numerous manufacturers vying for the attention of consumers. Two popular options in this segment are the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Crosstrek. Both vehicles offer a combination of style, performance, and versatility, making them attractive choices for buyers. In this article, we will compare the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Crosstrek across various aspects to determine which one comes out on top in this compact SUV battle.

1. Design and Exterior

The design of a vehicle plays a crucial role in attracting potential buyers. Both the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Crosstrek have distinct and eye-catching exteriors.

The Mazda CX-5 features Mazda’s signature Kodo design language, which emphasizes sleek lines and a dynamic appearance. The CX-5’s bold front grille, sharp headlights, and sculpted body give it a sporty and sophisticated look. The overall design of the CX-5 exudes a sense of elegance and refinement.

On the other hand, the Subaru Crosstrek has a more rugged and adventurous design. It features a higher ground clearance, black cladding, and a more boxy shape. The Crosstrek’s design is reminiscent of a traditional SUV, giving it a more utilitarian and off-road-ready appearance.

While both vehicles have their own unique design elements, the Mazda CX-5’s sleek and stylish exterior gives it an edge in terms of overall aesthetics.

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2. Interior and Comfort

When it comes to the interior, both the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Crosstrek offer comfortable and well-designed cabins.

The Mazda CX-5’s interior is known for its premium materials and attention to detail. The cabin is spacious and offers ample legroom and headroom for both front and rear passengers. The seats are supportive and comfortable, making long drives a breeze. The CX-5 also features a user-friendly infotainment system with a responsive touchscreen and intuitive controls.

The Subaru Crosstrek’s interior, while not as luxurious as the CX-5, still offers a comfortable and functional space. The seats are comfortable, and the cabin provides good visibility. The Crosstrek also comes with Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system, which offers smartphone integration and a variety of connectivity options.

Overall, the Mazda CX-5’s interior stands out for its premium feel and attention to detail, giving it an advantage in terms of comfort and refinement.

3. Performance and Handling

When it comes to performance, the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Crosstrek offer different driving experiences.

The Mazda CX-5 is known for its engaging and sporty driving dynamics. It offers a choice of two engines: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 187 horsepower and a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 250 horsepower. Both engines deliver ample power and acceleration, making the CX-5 a fun-to-drive SUV. The CX-5 also offers precise steering and responsive handling, allowing for confident cornering and maneuverability.

The Subaru Crosstrek, on the other hand, prioritizes off-road capability and all-weather performance. It comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 152 horsepower. While the Crosstrek may not be as powerful as the CX-5, it offers excellent traction and stability thanks to Subaru’s renowned Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. The Crosstrek also has a higher ground clearance, making it more capable off-road.

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Ultimately, the choice between the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Crosstrek depends on whether you prioritize sporty performance or off-road capability.

4. Safety and Technology

Both the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Crosstrek come equipped with a range of safety features and advanced technologies.

The Mazda CX-5 offers a comprehensive suite of safety features, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. It also comes with Mazda’s i-Activsense system, which uses sensors and cameras to help detect potential hazards and assist the driver in avoiding accidents.

The Subaru Crosstrek is known for its excellent safety ratings and comes standard with Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assistance system. EyeSight includes features such as adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and pre-collision braking. The Crosstrek also offers available features like blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.

Both vehicles offer advanced infotainment systems with touchscreen displays and smartphone integration. The Mazda CX-5’s infotainment system is known for its user-friendly interface and crisp graphics, while the Subaru Crosstrek’s system offers a variety of connectivity options.

In terms of safety and technology, both the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Crosstrek are well-equipped, making them reliable choices for safety-conscious buyers.

5. Fuel Efficiency and Price

Fuel efficiency and price are important factors to consider when choosing a compact SUV.

The Mazda CX-5 offers competitive fuel efficiency for its class. The base model with the 2.5-liter engine has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The turbocharged engine, while more powerful, has slightly lower fuel efficiency at 23 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

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The Subaru Crosstrek, with its smaller 2.0-liter engine, offers better fuel efficiency. It has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 28 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The Crosstrek’s fuel efficiency is further enhanced by its standard all-wheel drive system, which optimizes power distribution for better efficiency.

In terms of price, the Mazda CX-5 has a slightly higher starting price compared to the Subaru Crosstrek. However, the CX-5 offers more powerful engine options and a more luxurious interior, which may justify the higher price for some buyers.


In conclusion, both the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Crosstrek are strong contenders in the compact SUV segment. The CX-5 stands out for its sleek design, premium interior, and sporty performance. On the other hand, the Crosstrek offers off-road capability, excellent safety ratings, and better fuel efficiency.

Ultimately, the choice between the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Crosstrek depends on individual preferences and priorities. If you prioritize style, performance, and a luxurious interior, the Mazda CX-5 is the better choice. However, if you value off-road capability, safety, and fuel efficiency, the Subaru Crosstrek is a compelling option.

Both vehicles have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to test drive and compare them to determine which one suits your needs and preferences best.

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