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2019 Mazda CX-5 vs 2019 Subaru Forester


By Editors

2019 Subaru Forester

Starting Price: $25,270

Above Average: Standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and EyeSight, huge interior, excellent safety and resale numbers, real off-road ability, superior outward visibility, available driver drowsiness monitor

Below Average: Doesn’t look all that different than the previous model, average acceleration, rear windows don’t roll all the way down

Consensus: A quirky looking family favorite, providing excellent year-round driving confidence, a roomy interior and top marks in the areas of safety, resale and fuel economy.

2019 Mazda CX-5

Starting Price: $25,325

Above Average: Expressive styling, exquisite interior design, turbocharged engine option, sporty ride and handling

Below Average: Cargo space, small infotainment screen, outdated navigation system, small windows limited rear visibility

Consensus: The sportiest of the compact SUV class, the CX-5 offers stunning good looks, an elegant cabin and plenty of high-tech features without breaking the bank.

The Subaru Forester has been remade for 2019. Slightly larger and riding on Subaru’s new Global Platform, it retains many of the previous generation’s attributes with some noticeable improvements in the areas of quietness, comfort and fuel-efficiency. The Forster offers an amazing feature set for the money. Standard equipment includes the EyeSight collision avoidance system, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A new Sport model adds Si-Drive and paddle shifters, but without the previous generation’s turbocharged engine, it’s little more than window dressing. The Forester’s roomy interior and high roof make it ideal for tall occupants, and its massive glass greenhouse provides excellent 360-degree visibility. A generous 8.7-inches of ground clearance allows the Forester to tackle light off-road situations, as does its X-Mode traction management system. With its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, the Forester isn’t exactly quick, but it can keep up with most other SUVs in this class. Despite its standard all-wheel drive, the Forester earns impressive fuel economy figures of 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

The Mazda CX-5 may be one of the best-looking small SUVs ever made. Its sleek exterior is matched by an elegant interior that looks fantastic even on base models. While the CX-5 doesn’t offer as much passenger room as the Forester, its rear seat legroom is nearly identical to the Subaru. Cargo space, on the other hand, is about the smallest in the segment. Mazda offers a number of trims, including a new Grand Touring Reserve and Signature grades, the latter loaded with every available option. The standard engine for the CX-5 is a peppy 2.5-liter 4-cylinder pretty much the equal of the Forester’s 2.5-liter engine, only in the Mazda’s case the transmission is a satisfying 6-speed automatic vs. the Forester’s CVT. All-wheel drive is optional on the CX-5 and when so equipped, sees fuel economy fall well below the Forester’s estimates. Opt for the Grand Touring Reserve or Signature trim, and you’ll get standard AWD plus a 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that turns the CX-5 from a snoozer into a sleeper capable of leaving the Forester in the dust.

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