2019 Nissan Rogue vs Mazda CX-5
The small SUV market is saturated with vehicles for the 2019 model year. Many of them have a lot of great, quality features, making it hard to find one that stands out above the rest. However, there are a few that really are worthy of comparison while shopping for a new vehicle.
The 2019 Nissan Rogue and 2019 Mazda CX-5 are two such SUVs. There are a lot of differences between these two autos that could make or break the decision to buy one of them. It is time to dig in and find out whether the Mazda CX-5 or the Nissan Rogue offers the overall better deal.
Both the Nissan Rogue and Mazda CX-5 have long suffered from a lack of strong powertrains. Mazda, however, seems to finally be addressing this issue on the 2019 CX-5 by giving its two new trim levels (the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature) the CX-9's 2.5-L 4-cylinder engine, which, since it is turbocharged, musters up a nice 250 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. That is certainly a lot more power than what comes from the base 2.5-L's 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque.
Unfortunately, this does mean that consumers have to spend more to get more as the first three trim levels are all powered by only the base 2.5-L. Also, it is important to note that all engines come combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The first three trim levels are front-wheel drive while the new trims are all-wheel drive - a benefit to those who live and drive in a lot of inclement weather conditions.
It does not seem that Nissan got the memo on providing a turbocharged version of the Rogue's standard engine. This is also a 2.5-L 4-cylinder engine (paired with a CVT though), and it garners even less power than the CX-5's base engine, as it only gets 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. That just is not enough to get a small SUV up and going in a timely manner.
Unlike the CX-5, the Nissan Rogue does offer a hybrid powertrain option. It is available on the SV and SL trims and can be ordered with front- or all-wheel drive. This 2.0-L 4-cylinder engine is paired up with an electric motor for a total power output of 176 hp. The hybrid offers drivers up to 33 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. This is good but not great, as it fails to best tough competitors like Toyota. Still, some drivers will appreciate being given this option on the Rogue.
Overall, while the hybrid option on the Rogue is nice, the Mazda CX-5's new turbocharged powertrain is the best of the bunch. Drivers will just have to pay more to get it.
There is a good reason as to why the 2019 Mazda CX-5 is hailed as one of the best SUVs in its segment for the model year. As far as drivability goes, it is a tough one to beat. That is largely due in part to how this vehicle steers and handles. Its steering is beefier than what is normal for its class, making it feel a bit sportier. Still, it manages to weave through turns with ease. And, as far as handling goes, the vehicle is always in control, making it one of the best handling performances in its class.
The downsides are braking and acceleration. When taking the CX-5 from 0 to 60 mph on the highway, it takes roughly 9 seconds to get up to speed. This is not the worst speed in its class, but it does feel under-powered. Braking is not much better. The pedal feels moderately firm, and the vehicle stops in an average distance for its size, but it lacks the feeling of total ease.
As far as comfort levels go, the CX-5 has a pleasant-enough cabin, mostly free from outside noises. Engine noise is heard while pushing the vehicle hard, and wind and tire noise will only become mildly apparent while speeding along on the highway. The only drawback to the seats are that Mazda put bulky, uncomfortable side bolsters in that people will get squashed up against when the driver has to make a hard turn. Otherwise, the seats are cozy enough. There just is not as much room in the cabin or cargo space as there is in other small SUVs.
The climate control system works well on the CX-5, although they feature another bizarre placement choice from Mazda as they put the rear seat heat controls on the armrest. Otherwise, the system evenly distributes air throughout the cabin, and the seats do heat up quickly.
The CX-5 is easy for most drivers to use. Getting in and out is not a challenge since the door frames are tall. And, while the windshield is smaller than other vehicles in this segment, the driver's seat adjusts to enough different settings so that the driver can see clearly. The standard rear-view camera does come in handy when backing out of a tight parking spot.
The driving experience is somewhat diminished on the 2019 Nissan Rogue, due largely in part to its underwhelming 2.4-L 4-cylinder engine. It takes about 10 seconds for the vehicle to get up to 60 mph, which is nearly a segment "worst". The brakes are pretty rough as well, as the pedal is really soft. The antilock braking system is also quite noisy when the brakes are applied.
Steering is not the best, either. It tends to feel too light for most situations, and the wheel provides little in the way of feedback to the driver. Not knowing how the vehicle is tracking can be a bit concerning for a driver, to say the least. Handling also feels unrefined, as the driver will feel those annoying mid-corner bumps.
It is unfortunate that the Rogue's mechanics do not work as well as they could since the interior is actually quite nice. The seats up front are comfy, and, in the rear, there is a ton of thigh support for passengers. While the ride can get somewhat bouncy, when the road is smooth enough, the ride feels cozy. When taken at a moderate cruise, the Rogue exhibits very minimal noise. It only gets noisy when amped up to full throttle.
The climate control system on the Rogue works well, with air flowing as it should. There are heated seats and a heated steering wheel, and the heat function works flawlessly. Overall, the cabin is quite spacious, much more so than the CX-5. However, some features are not as user-friendly. It's rather remarkable that a button for the steering wheel's heating should be located smack-dab next to the driver's knee. Why Nissan thought this was a good idea, no one knows.
Another downside to the Rogue is that visibility is restricted by large rear roof pillars and tiny quarter windows. Trying to see any vehicle that is driving in the Rogue's blind spots is tricky. Thankfully, blind-spot monitoring comes standard and remedies this problem.
Finally, the quality of the interior pieces on the Rogue does not match up with those on the CX-5. While Mazda equips the CX-5 with high-quality materials, Nissan gives the Rogue way too many hard plastic surfaces for it to feel anywhere near being upscale.
Overall, when it comes to how each one of these vehicles drive, the clear winner is the CX-5. Its interior design could use some work, but it gets right a lot of what the Nissan Rogue struggles to manage.
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Safety is always at the forefront of any buyer's mind, so it is no small wonder that Nissan and Mazda went all-out when giving their vehicles safety features. The 2019 Nissan Rogue comes with an abundance of driver aids, including blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. An around-view monitor can be equipped, which is helpful for seeing all of the Rogue's huge blind spots as well as what is in the front and rear. Also, semi-autonomous driving is available with the help of ProPilot Assist, a combination of multiple driver assistance features.
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 is likewise equipped with a lot of safety features. Blind-spot monitoring and low-speed forward collision control come standard, and there is an option for adding the Sport i-Activsense package to the base trim. This package includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic windshield wipers, and an upgrade for the forward collision mitigation system.
Of course, it is not just all about the nifty safety features that come with the vehicle but how safely the vehicle is actually designed. Both the 2019 Mazda CX-5 and 2019 Nissan Rogue were rated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (otherwise referred to as the NHTSA). They were additionally assessed by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (known by the acronym IIHS) to see how safe they are. And the results are telling.
The NHTSA awarded the CX-5 5/5 stars overall, and it received 5/5 stars on every test save for the rollover test, which got 4/5. There was found to be a 17.4% risk of a rollover, which is about average for this class. The IIHS gave the CX-5 "good" ratings on all the tests it conducted.
The Rogue fared slightly worse on its testing by the NHTSA. It received 4/5 stars overall. The Front Barrier Crash Rating is where the Rogue lost most of its points. It received 4/5 stars on the Passenger portion, 3/5 on the Driver portion, and got 4/5 overall. It also got 4/5 stars on the rollover test, with a 16.9% chance of a rollover noted. The IIHS did assign all "good" ratings to the Rogue on its tests.
While the loss of a star or two on a crash test does not mean that a vehicle is unsafe, it lets consumers know what the standards are for how some vehicles are constructed. Nissan could stand to make some improvements on the Rogue, but Mazda seems to be doing pretty well with the CX-5.
Which Has the Best Value?
The 2019 Nissan Rogue tends to be the cheaper of the two options since it only has three trim levels. With the addition of two new trims, the 2019 Mazda CX-5 gains a bigger price range, hiking all the way up to over $41,000. However, out of both of these vehicles, any trim level on the CX-5 is the better option. And, if it is affordable for the buyer, the two line-topping trims are the most excellent choices.
More power, more comfort, and higher standards all around make the 2019 Mazda CX-5 the more valuable of the two SUVs. Even when the consumer is paying more for a higher trim level, they are getting their money's worth.
Which is Better?
It should be obvious by now why the 2019 Mazda CX-5 is the better choice and why it is one of the top performers in its class. Mazda clearly put a lot of thought into making the CX-5 a driver-friendly vehicle, and the addition of the new trim levels (with their high-powered engine) reflects this. Hands-down, the CX-5 is the champ here.