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2020 Hyundai Tucson vs Mazda CX-5

2020 Hyundai Tucson vs Mazda CX-5

2020 Tucson vs CX-5 - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

If anyone is in search of an affordable two-row SUV that feels modern and capable, the 2020 Hyundai Tucson and 2020 Mazda CX-5 would be sensible choices. These SUVs are attractive in many regards, and they can either be appointed with standard components or come with luxury amenities. It all depends on which trim is selected; the Hyundai Tucson has six trims, and the CX-5 comes in five trims. This wide selection gives potential customers a lot to think about as they decide which exact vehicles would work best for them.

The Powertrain

There are two engines offered on both trims. The Tucson can have a 2.0-liter engine with 161 horsepower, or it can run on a 2.4-liter engine with 181 horsepower. The 2.0-liter version has 150 pound-feet of torque, in comparison with the 175 pound-feet of torque on the other engine. Towing capacity is either 1,500 or 2,000 pounds, depending on what can be found under the hood.

On the Mazda CX-5, the first three trims have a 187-horsepower engine, while the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature come with 250 horsepower. The standard four-cylinder engine has a displacement of 2.5 liters, and its torque is 186 pound-feet of torque. The more advanced engine is also a four-cylinder model with the same amount of displacement, but it's a turbocharged version. This different approach to design results in 320 pound-feet of torque. All of the CX-5 trims have a 2,000-pound towing capacity.

All-wheel drive is available on either vehicle for any drivers who want to have more traction when the roads are slippery. There is a difference, though, between the Tucson and the RAV4 as it relates to all-wheel drive. The Tucson has this type of drivetrain available on all of its trims, while the CX-5 has it available on the first three trims and standard on its top two versions.

Both companies have paired their engines with similar six-speed transmissions. These vehicles let people take advantage of automatic transmissions while still giving them the option to manually control shifting, whenever it's preferred. Hyundai refers to this manual sport shifting as the SHIFTRONIC system, and the SKYACTIV-Drive transmission in the Mazda simply uses the term "manual-shift" to describe this function.

While not being stand-out vehicles in the fuel economy department, they manage to do pretty well. Front-wheel drive models of the CX-5 can earn an estimated 25 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. All-wheel versions are just shy of that mark, getting up to 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Front-wheel-drive Tucsons have an estimated fuel economy of 23 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. With all-wheel drive, the numbers drop to 22/25 (city/highway) mpg on the lower trims and to 21/26 mpg on the higher trims.

Warranties can provide people with reassurance as they prepare to make big investments with new vehicles. Mazda gives its customers a limited powertrain warranty that's good for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. The Hyundai limited powertrain warranty covers the vehicle for the same amount of miles, but it increases the time period to six years.


The Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-5 provide a good amount of balance. The handling in either vehicle is neither too stiff nor too soft, and as a result, these vehicles can be equally at home in the city as they are in the countryside. Taking tight turns, merging onto busy highways, and driving on twisty mountain roads can all be easily done in these SUVs. What they aren't the best at is handling rugged terrain. Yes, all-wheel drive is available, but in terms of "off-roading", their suspension systems are generally more suited for dirt paths than they are for uneven, rocky trails.

Wherever one might be going in either of these vehicles, the ride can be quite pleasant. In the Tucson, rear-seat passengers can stretch out a little bit with 38.2 inches of leg room. The CX-5 has a comparable size, with 39.6 inches of leg room in the second row. These are numbers that any adult riding in your back seat will certainly appreciate, and they help differentiate these SUVs from compact SUVs that don't provide the same amount of space.

When looking at cargo capacity, the Tucson and CX-5 are very competitive with each other. Maximum cargo capacity in the Tucson is 61.9 cubic feet, and in the CX-5, it's 59.6 cubic feet. Note that this is the amount of space one would have if the rear seats are folded down. When people are sitting in the second row, there is still 30.9 cubic feet of dedicated cargo space in the CX-5 and 31 cubic feet in the Tucson. If anyone plans on carrying larger equipment, such as skis or bikes, there are available roof racks.

In this modern era, technology plays a major role in the type of experiences that people can have while driving. Having dozens of radio stations and various forms of streamed media to choose from can make things much more entertaining. Being able to make hands-free phone calls, send and receive text messages in a safe manner, and get turn-by-turn directions through a navigation program can make a huge difference in how someone goes about their driving, whether on daily commutes or long road trips.

The Tucson comes standard with a seven-inch touchscreen, along with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It only takes one trim upgrade to get HD Radio and SiriusXM Radio, and the most premium model has navigation and a larger touchscreen that measures eight inches.

On the CX-5, there is also a standard seven-inch touchscreen on the base model. While it has Bluetooth and HD Radio, it doesn't include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto at that level. Smartphone connectivity is only integrated in the system with the Touring trim, and SiriusXM Radio is found on the Grand Touring and above. The Grand Touring Reserve is where the touchscreen gets enhanced to be an eight-inch version, and navigation is included on only the Signature trim.

Overall, the infotainment systems are fairly comparable, but the most notable point is the fact that the entry-level CX-5 doesn't have smartphone connectivity.


As one would imagine, the 2020 Tucson and CX-5 have a full array of safety mechanisms in place. All five seating positions have three-point seatbelts, there are air bags placed in strategic locations around the cabin, adults can use the LATCH system to safely attach child seats, and the Tire Pressure Monitoring System can warn people when pressure is too low. Anti-lock brakes play a key role in preventing accidents, and there are more high-tech features that work towards this effort as well.

Hyundai and Mazda have built several driver-assist systems into their vehicles. On the Mazda, the base model has blind spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning with an assist function that can help center the vehicle if its drifting out of position. It also has a radar cruise control function that can adjust speed to maintain proper distancing with other vehicles, even in stop-and-go traffic, and the collision warning can let drivers know when it seems like they're about to rear-end another vehicle. With Smart Brake Support, the CX-5 can apply pressure the brakes, when necessary, to reduce the likelihood of an accident. The higher trims of the CX-5 have more technologies that people can take advantage of, such as a 360-degree camera monitoring system and parking sensors in the front and rear.

The Tucson has many similar features, but not all are standard. The SE, which is the lowest trim of the Tucson, has some of the same elements seen on the CX-5, like lane keeping assist and a forward collision-avoidance assist system. It has a driver attention warning program that alerts people when it seems like they might be losing focus. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic collision warning start to get incorporated on the Tucson at the Value trim. On the Limited and Ultimate, there is a surround view monitor, and the Ultimate has the additions of smart cruise control and pedestrian detection.

Buying Tip:

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Which Has the Best Value?

No matter how great a vehicle looks in person and on paper, customers can't escape the fact that everything comes at a cost. Fortunately, the 2020 Tucson and CX-5 are both reasonably priced. Cost of ownership is pretty comparable, so the long term expenses shouldn't play a big part in deciding which model to get.

What really matters is the up-front costs that customers will be faced with. The Tucson starts at around $23,500, and the CX-5 starts just above $25,000. If the highest trim is selected, the Tucson is priced at almost $32,000, and the CX-5 is significantly more expensive, at $37,155.

It's also important to examine how the various trim levels and price points are broken down, since the majority of people will end up buying a mid-level trim. With the CX-5, a minimal price increase comes with the Touring, and for that extra cost, smartphone connectivity is provided. Larger jumps are seen when moving to the higher trims, especially when the more advanced engine is integrated into the vehicle. With the Signature, drivers will get to enjoy sitting on Nappa leather seats, being surrounded by genuine wood trim, and have the best technology out of any CX-5 SUV.

On the Tucson, there are smaller price jumps between the trims. In a way, this could make it easier to decide on a trim because the prices are within the same general range. In other words, some people might not think twice about spending another thousand dollars when they're already putting down a large sum.

The first significant increase is found when moving from the Tucson Select to the Tucson Sport. Some upgrades that come with the additional price include LED headlights and taillights, fog lights, a hands-free liftgate, a premium audio system, and wireless charging. The increases in price from the Sport to the Limited and then to the Ultimate are a few thousand dollars, and one can get some more luxury elements with each step up.

Which is Better?

From a purely financial standpoint, it makes more sense to get a Tucson, since every dollar saved can be put to good use. However, one has to consider the total package that these vehicles offer. In general, the feel of the CX-5 is more high-end. From the way the vehicle is styled to the way the dashboard is arranged, it's clear that Mazda wants its CX-5 SUV to attract sophisticated customers with refined tastes.

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 does better in the performance category as well. The standard engine on the CX-5 is in the same league as the enhanced version on the Tucson, and Mazda's turbocharged engine is a cut above. People who love the feeling of acceleration and want something they'll be able to drive confidently in, no matter what the conditions are, would most likely go with the CX-5.

Where the Hyundai Tucson can win people over is in its practicality. It has plenty of interior room, a comprehensive safety package, and a lot of available high-tech features. For many customers, this is all they want, assuming they'll be able to rely on their vehicle for years to come.

In the end, customers will have to choose between something a little more flashy and a vehicle that's more down-to-earth. Personal preferences regarding performance, overall style, and interior amenities will all play a part as people decide between the Hyundai Tucson and the Mazda CX-5.

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