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2020 Nissan Rogue vs Mazda CX-5

2020 Nissan Rogue vs Mazda CX-5

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

In a lot of ways, the crossover-SUV market has taken over for the now-defunct station-wagon demographic. They're just a lot more hip and stylish. Drivers get more room for their friends and family. There's also going to be a lot more space for groceries and other cargo. And these new "wagons," offer great driving dynamics without the extra bulk of their larger SUV counterparts.

Two excellent choices in this category are the 2020 Nissan Rogue and the 2020 Mazda CX-5. These compact-crossover vehicles each have two rows of seats and can accommodate five people. Nissan and Mazda are quality, Japanese companies that are often compared to one another. The Rogue and CX-5 both have a lot in common. They also have a similar base price.


The Powertrain

The 2020 Nissan Rogue comes in three different trim levels which all share the same engine. Nissan has equipped the Rogue with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with dual overhead cams and 16 valves. Nissan states that the engine can produce 170 horsepower at 6,000 revolutions-per-minute (rpm).

The Rogue also produces around 175 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. Acceleration and passing power are both good here. Braking is smooth with plenty of stopping power for a vehicle of this size and weight.

Every version of the Nissan Rogue is available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All models also get Nissan's continuously-variable transmission. This transmission system has an Eco Mode for fuel efficiency and a Sport Mode for better performance.

Since all of the Rogue trims share the same engine, they all offer the same fuel-economy ratings. A Rogue with front-wheel drive gets a combined rating of 29 miles-per-gallon. Models with all-wheel drive lose a bit here with a combined rating of 27 miles-per-gallon. The Rogue can tow up to 1,102 pounds.

The 2020 Nissan Rogue has been given a reliability rating of 82 out of 100 by J.D. Power. The Nissan warranty covers the Rogue for 3 years or 36,000 miles. The powertrain gets limited coverage for up to 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 offers a couple more trim levels with a total of five. The first three trim levels get Mazda's 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G engine that produces 187 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 186 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. This is already a huge improvement over the Nissan, but Mazda has another engine for the top two trim levels.

The Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trim levels get even more power. They come equipped with 2.5-liter, turbocharged engine that can crank out up to 227 horses and 320 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm. Those extra horses under the hood and all of that extra torque lead to impressive and powerful acceleration.

To accommodate the powerful acceleration, Mazda has equipped the CX-5 with an equally powerful braking system. Unlike the Nissan's CVT, Mazda uses a more traditional 6-speed automatic transmission. This transmission system has a Sport Mode and the ability to manually move through the gears.

Most of the available trim levels can be had in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations. The CX-5 nearly doubles the Rogue's towing capacity with a limit of 2,000 pounds. The base engine has an EPA fuel-economy rating of 25 miles-per-gallon in the city and 31 miles-per-gallon on the highway. All-wheel drive models lose just one mile-per-gallon in each category.

The more powerful, turbocharged engine has an EPA fuel-economy rating of 22 miles-per-gallon in the city and 27 miles-per-gallon on the highway. The Mazda reliability rating from J.D. Power is a little bit lower than what the Nissan offers. It comes in at a score of 80 out of 100. Mazda offers the same basic- and powertrain-warranty coverage as Nissan does.


The Nissan Rogue's steering and handling is decent but ultimately nothing special. It stays stable in tight turns with very little body sway. The seats are comfortable in all positions. The base model gets a 6-way manually adjusted seat for the driver. The two top trims get an 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat with 2-way adjustable lumbar support.

Noise levels remain manageable within the cabin. There is very little engine noise until you get to highway speeds. The interior space gives the driver and all passengers a decent amount of headspace and legroom. The higher trims get dual-zone automatic temperature control to keep everyone happy.

The Nissan Rogue offers ample space for your groceries and other gear. The standard cargo capacity is 39.3 cubic feet. When the rear seats are folded down, you can take this up to 70 cubic feet of space. Nissan has thrown in a nice number of cup holders, bottle holders and other small-item storage spaces.

All models get Nissan's Advanced Drive-Assist display. There's also a 7-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. A navigation system is optional for the SV trim and standard on the SL models. Bluetooth connectivity and Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant is standard across all models.

The base model of the Rogue gets your standard AM/FM setup with a CD player and four speakers. Higher trims get a Bose sound system with nine speakers. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard for every trim, and there are always a couple of USB ports for charging your phone and other devices.

Steering and handling is an area in which the Mazda CX-5 really shines. It's right at home on the curviest of roads. The handling is helped greatly by Mazda's electronically-assisted steering. Models with all-wheel drive do an even better job of gripping the road, even at higher speeds.

The CX-5 is relatively quiet on the inside. The base trim has 6-way power adjustments up from and even has lumbar support. Higher trims give you 8-way power adjustments with power-adjustable lumbar support. They also have a memory feature for storing two different seat configurations.

The interior is nice and roomy at every seating position. Access to the rear seats is easy enough. The interior overall has a better fit and finish to it than the Nissan Rogue. It's just a bit more upscale, especially at the highest trim levels.

The CX-5 has a nice amount of cargo space but falls short of what the Nissan Rogue provides. The Mazda CX-5 offers 30.9 cubic feet in the standard configuration and 59.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded back.

The infotainment system will come with a 7-inch or 8-inch touchscreen display depending on your chosen trim package. The base model gets a 6-speaker audio system while all other trim levels get a 10-speaker system by Bose. The ever-popular Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are integrated here just like in the Nissan Rogue.

Also like the Nissan, the Mazda has Bluetooth technology for streaming music or using your phone hands-free. There are USB ports up front and in back on all models. Audio and phone controls are also mounted on the steering wheel for easy access and overall ease of use. SiriusXM radio is integrated but as always requires a subscription. Mazda provides a free trial for most trim levels.

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For the Nissan Rogue, safety starts with the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System. There are supplemental, dual-stage bags up front. There are seat-mounted, side-impact bags up front as well. Curtain airbags with rollover sensors are mounted to the roof. This provides some protection for all of the occupants.

Nissan uses Zone Body Construction with crumple zones and a reinforced passenger compartment. An energy-absorbing steering column, breakaway engine mounts and buckling hood round out some of the safety features engineered into the vehicle.

A rear-view camera is standard for the Nissan Rogue. A tire-pressure monitor is standard as well. Driver assists such as a Blind-spot Warning and Lane-Keeping Assist are on every trim level. Nissan also includes a vehicle alarm and an immobilizer system in case the car does get stolen.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rates the 2020 Nissan Rogue a 4 out of 5 stars in its Overall Safety category. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Nissan Rogue its top score of "Good," in 5 out of 6 crash-test categories. It gets an "Acceptable," rating in Small Overlap Front: Passenger-Side crash tests.

The Mazda CX-5 has two airbags up front. These only kick in when the seat belts are in use and sensors detect a passenger in that specific seat. There are also side-impact bags up front and curtain airbags with rollover sensors. The airbag setups are very similar between these two SUVs.

Mazda has installed 3-point seat belts for every seating position. LATCH safety anchors for child seats are included along with upper tethers to secure the seats into place. Mazda uses a Ring Structure Unibody Construction similar to Nissan's Zone Body Construction. A rear-view camera is standard on all models, just like the Nissan.

The Mazda CX-5 has a tire-pressure monitor. There is also a Lane Departure Warning System with Lane-keep Assist. They've also included Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Dynamic Stability Control with Traction Control. These greatly increase the vehicle's stability and handling.

The highest trim levels provide a 360-degree-view camera. There are also a few different automatic- and emergency-braking systems to help drivers avoid accidents. Last of all, Mazda has included an alarm system and engine immobilizer like those installed on the Nissan Rogue.

The NHTSA gives the Mazda CX-5 a higher rating for overall safety. The CX-5 gets a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. It wins out against the Rogue with the IIHS too, scoring a perfect "Good," rating in every category.

Which Has the Best Value?

The price points are almost identical at the base-model levels for the 2020 Nissan Rogue and 2020 Mazda CX-5. They stay similar as you move up through the trim packages as well. The Rogue's top trim is lower in price than the CX-5, but this is mostly due to the CX-5 having more trim packages in total.

At almost every level, the Mazda offers more comfort and convenience features than the Nissan. The one thing the Nissan has on the Mazda is that it scores slightly higher on reliability expectations, but the difference it's huge.

The CX-5 can be pricier at the highest trim level when fully loaded, but it's going to be the better value for low-to-mid trim levels. Fuel economy is comparable for both vehicles with the base engines, so savings at the gas pump isn't a huge factor here.

Which is Better?

As always, this depends on what you, the buyer, are looking for. The 2020 Nissan Rogue has a lot more cargo space. It's also expected to be slightly more reliable than the Mazda CX-5. If you plan to haul around a lot of cargo and passengers, this may be your best choice. On the other hand, when it comes to safety, the Mazda edges out the Nissan ever-so-slightly.

Both vehicles offer the latest technology, driver-assist systems and tons of comfort-and-convenience amenities. The Mazda packs in a bit more, especially at the lower trim levels. If performance and driving dynamics are more your thing, the Mazda wins hands down. If you go with a Mazda CX-5 equipped with the turbocharged engine, it's not even close. The Mazda is simply way more fun to drive.

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