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2022 Subaru Crosstrek vs Mazda CX-5

2022 Subaru Crosstrek vs Mazda CX-5

2022 Crosstrek vs CX-5 - How Do They Stack Up? Which is Better?

Small compact SUVs and can be very attractive. They have versatile and open cabins, but they're still easy to maneuver. Their small size also usually means that they're more affordable and efficient than their larger counterparts. If anyone is looking for a reasonably priced compact SUV that some convenient features and high-tech equipment available, then the Subaru Crosstrek and Mazda CX-5 should be on the list of models to check out.

The Powertrain

The Crosstrek offers three powertrain options, while the CX-5 has two to choose from. Out of these, the only hybrid option is a plug-in hybrid version of the Crosstrek. It uses an electric motor and a 2.0-liter engine, and it has a net horsepower that's estimated to be 148. Electric range is 17 miles, which is pretty good. Estimated fuel economy is 90 MPGe/35 MPG (electric/combined), so this version is something to seriously think about if a prospective buyer is concerned about fuel consumption.

All of the other powertrains are traditional ones. The regular Crosstreks either run on 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines or 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engines. The smaller one can make 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, so it's on par with what the plug-in hybrid can do. The larger engine makes the Crosstrek a bit more responsive, capable of making 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque.

An interesting thing about the standard engine is that it can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission or a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. The manual transmission is actually the default option. It results in a fuel economy of 22/29 (city/highway) miles per gallon, whereas models with the base engine and an automatic transmission have an estimated fuel efficiency of 28/33 miles per gallon.

With the larger engine, the Crosstrek can only have a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. At this level, the transmission comes with a manual mode with eight different speeds. To make adjustments, people can use paddle shifters that have been mounted on the steering wheel. Estimated fuel economy is 27/34 miles per gallon.

Towing capacity is 1,500 pounds on the non-hybrids, and it's 1,000 pounds on the plug-in hybrid. As many people may already know, the Crosstrek and all of the other SUVs in Subarus lineup has standard all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive system is always ready to redirect power to various wheels, depending on whether any issues with traction are detected.

Three Crosstrek trims have X-MODE and hill descent control. Hill descent control keeps them from gaining too much speed when coming down steep hills or mountains, and X-MODE is a program that can be utilized when a road or trail is particularly tough to deal with.

For 2022, the Mazda CX-5 has been upgraded with standard all-wheel drive. Some trims have a typical all-wheel-drive system, and others have a more advanced system with Off-Road mode. Presumably, Off-Road mode is similar to the Crosstrek's X-MODE.

Mazda has gone with a six-speed automatic transmission on each of its CX-5 trims. Sport mode makes the SUV feel a little more aggressive, and there's a manual shift mode, too.

Six out of the eight available CX-5 trims run on 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engines. This engine can make up to 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. This is slightly more than what the 2.5-liter engine in the Crosstrek can do.

Then, there's another option that takes things up a few notches. It's a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that can generate up to 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. This is clearly superior to the other engines offered with the CX-5 and Crosstrek. It's found on the 2.5 Turbo and 2.5 Turbo Signature trims, and with this engine, the Mazda can earn up to 22/27 miles per gallon. In comparison, the other CX-5 models have an estimated fuel economy of 24/30 miles per gallon.

Regardless of which engine the CX-5 has, its towing capacity is 2,000 pounds. This is a pretty solid amount for a vehicle of this size.


The turbocharged models of the Mazda can really zip around and be fun to drive. Some of the Crosstreks may feel a bit more sluggish, but of course, they can transport people around town just fine. The Crosstrek sits a bit higher off the ground than the CX-5 does, so it should be able to clear obstacles better. It has a ground clearance of 8.7 inches in comparison with the CX-5's ground clearance of 7.6 inches.

The CX-5 is the longer of the two models. It has a length of 180.1 inches. This makes it about three and a half inches longer than the Crosstrek is. In addition, the Mazda is slightly taller and wider than the Subaru is.

As a result, the CX-5 has more interior space. Though it doesn't seem that big, it has a good amount of passenger space. People in the front have 41 inches of leg room, and those sitting in the second row can spread out, thanks to 39.6 inches of leg room back there.

The Crosstrek falls short in this category, as it only has 36.5 inches of rear-seat leg room. This may cause some taller passengers to feel a little cramped in the back seat. Up front, there's plenty of space, with there being 43.1 inches of leg room.

Cargo space is decent in the Crosstrek. Behind its seating, it has a cargo area with a volume of 20.8 cubic feet. When the rear seatbacks have been folded down, it has 55.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Note that the plug-in hybrid only has about 16 cubic feet of space behind its third row and a total cargo capacity of approximately 43 cubic feet. This is because it has to accommodate additional components that are necessary for the hybrid system.

There's some more room in the Mazda CX-5, especially behind its second row of seats. This rear cargo hold has a volume of 30.8 cubic feet. Lowering the rear seatbacks can expand cargo capacity to 59.3 cubic feet.

A few things make these vehicles more convenient to drive. For instance, the CX-5 comes standard with push button start, and it has automatic on/off headlights, automatic high beams, and rain-sensing wipers that can turn themselves on and off when appropriate.

The Crosstrek can have push-button start and automatic headlights, but these aren't standard. It does, though, have automatic climate control as well as tie-downs and bag hooks in the cargo area. The Crosstrek can also have heated side mirrors and a de-icer built into the windshield.

In the Crosstrek, there would either be a 6.5-inch or an eight-inch touchscreen. The smaller touchscreen comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. On the base trim, there are four speakers and one USB input port. The next trim has two USB ports up front, as well as Wi-Fi capability, SiriusXM, and six speakers. The other trims all have a pair of USB ports in the front and another pair of USB ports in the rear seat. They can be upgraded with Harman Kardon eight-speaker sound systems.

The top two trims comes standard with the larger touchscreen. This screen can be equipped with navigation, but this requires an additional fee. To some drivers, navigation can be highly desirable, especially since it can take traffic into account as it comes up with optimal routes.

The screen on the Mazda CX-5 is bigger than the one in the Crosstrek. The Mazda's screen measures 10.25 inches, and it, too, comes standard with smartphone compatibility. The CX-5's base trim has four speakers, just like what's seen in the Crosstrek. The next few trims have six speakers, and the ones in the upper half of the lineup have ten Bose speakers that do a great job of pumping out high-quality audio. SiriusXM can be found on those higher trims as well.

Unlike the base trim of the Crosstrek, the first trim in the CX-5 lineup has two USB ports. The other trims all have four total USB ports, with two being in the back row. The top two trims have wireless charging, which can be such a nice amenity to have.

The only CX-5 trim to have integrated navigation is the 2.5 Turbo Signature. Along with navigation comes SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. This is the same program that the Subaru uses.

Further, the CX-5 has an available active driving display. This projects information onto the windshield, and it can keep people informed about their speed, directions, safety warnings, and more.


In the CX-5, a number of driver-assist technologies are standard. It has collision warning and automatic emergency braking, and it can keep itself centered in a lane, in addition to warning drivers when they're veering out of position. The CX-5 even has blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. These two systems aren't always standard on affordable vehicles.

The 2.5 Turbo Signature has a few extra safety components. Instead of just having a regular rear view monitor, it has a 360-degree monitor. It has reverse automatic braking and parking sensors, and it has the ability to warn a driver when it seems like his/her attention needs to be refocused.

Unfortunately, the Subaru Crosstrek does not come standard with driver-assist technologies. Subaru's safety package is called EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, and it's only standard on the top three Crosstrek trims. With the two lower ones, it's optional. The EyeSight package comes with adaptive cruise control, which the CX-5 as well. Plus, it includes lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Automatic high beams are standard on the top two trims, but they're not available on the lower ones. Bind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert are also found on the higher trims, and they're optional on mid-level ones. These trims further get to have reverse automatic braking, which is a great safety feature to have.

Which Has the Best Value?

Since it doesn't have the same type of power or safety package as the CX-5, it makes sense that the base trim of the Crosstrek is cheaper than that of the CX-5. The Crosstrek starts out with a cost of $23,145, while the CX-5 costs $26,250. All of the Crosstreks, other than the plug-in hybrid, are priced less than $29,000. This makes the Crosstrek very affordable, especially considering that some of the higher trims have a good amount of high-tech features and more powerful engines.

There's a considerable increase in cost when moving to the Crosstrek Hybrid, which costs $36,345. Hopefully, the long-term savings resulting from reduced fuel consumption can make an impact on one's overall budget.

Most trims in the Mazda CX-5 lineup are priced higher the $30,000 mark. For this amount of money, people would have the opportunity to drive vehicles with adaptive front lights, power lift gates, 19-inch wheels, and power moonroofs. Leather upholstery and heated front seats can be found in these trims, too.

The two most expensive CX-5 SUVs are the 2.5 Turbo and 2.5 Turbo Signature. They cost $36,750 and $39,000. This higher price reflects the fact that these trims have turbocharged engines. These versions also have ventilated and heated front seats, heated steering wheels, and and heated rear seats. None of these features are standard with any trim of the Crosstrek, if they're even available.

Which Is Better?

The Crosstrek is the more budget-friendly option, so it might makes sense for a good number of prospective buyers. It's nice that Subaru offers several powertrains with this vehicle, so that people can choose what's most important to them.

In comparison, the Mazda CX-5 feels much more upscale, and it has the higher price tag to reflect that. For the lower half of the lineup, though, the prices are more reasonable. The CX-5 can treat people to a modern, sleek cabin, high-tech equipment, and nice amenities. Because of this, it'll likely be appealing to anyone who likes the idea of driving a model that feels luxurious.

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2021 Subaru Crosstrek VS Mazda CX-5
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