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2022 Subaru Outback vs Mazda CX-5

2022 Subaru Outback vs Mazda CX-5

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

Many potential buyers are drawn to the Subaru Outback and CX-5 due to their size, advanced technology, and capability. It is advantageous for these models to feature all-wheel drive as a standard component, differentiating them in a highly competitive market. Both vehicles offer a substantial range of options, boasting eight different trims each. This guide aims to showcase the shared characteristics between these models and, more crucially, their distinguishing features.

The Powertrain

Each company provides two engine options for their SUVs, the higher trims featuring turbocharged versions, which provide a noticeable boost in speed and responsiveness with respect to the standard models.

The Outback has two types of engines. The regular one is 2.5 liters and gives 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of twisting power (torque). The faster engine is 2.4 liters and generates 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque.

The CX-5 has engines that are alike. Its first option is 2.5 liters and provides 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of twisting power. This is a bit more than the Outback, but not enough for most people to notice. The faster engine is also 2.5 liters, and it can give 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of twisting power because of its design.

As mentioned before, the two vehicles come with all-wheel drive, which improves their capacity to maneuver through icy roads and challenging terrain. In specific trims of the CX-5, there's the Mazda Intelligent Drive Select program, allowing drivers to choose between Sports and Off-Road modes. Additionally, the Mazda boasts G-Vectoring Control Plus, which modifies torque and braking for better cornering capabilities.

The Subaru shares some comparable characteristics. It's equipped with active torque vectoring and vehicle dynamics control, which results in a more seamless driving encounter. The vehicle also comes with hill descent control, preventing it from accelerating too fast while descending steep roads. Those who have driven in mountainous areas can attest to how challenging it is to maintain a constant speed without continuously applying the brakes, making hill descent control a valuable feature in certain circumstances.

X-Mode is another handy amenity present in the Outback. It maximizes performance in situations where the road is exceptionally challenging to grip. This is achieved by regularly monitoring each wheel's spin and being prepared to make precise alterations to the engine torque.

Remember the following information if you plan to tow cargo using either of these models. The CX-5 has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds, which is decent, but the Outback surpasses it by a significant margin. A standard-engine Outback can tow up to 2,700 pounds, while a turbocharged engine Outback can haul as much as 3,500 pounds. This represents a considerable improvement over Mazda's capabilities.

Mazda has given the CX-5 a six-speed automatic transmission. It also has a manual shift mode in case people want to take more control over that aspect of driving. Half of the available trims have paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel.

Subaru went with a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. It, too, has a manual mode. It offers eight different speeds. All trims in the lineup have steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.

The difference in fuel economy between the CX-5 and Outback is fairly slim, but notable. Generally speaking, a regular engine on either model will get you more bang for your buck at the pump - with city driving topping out around 26/24 mpg respectively. For those that put their cars through frequent highway trips however, opting for one of each models' turbocharged engines might be wise; promising up to 33mpg when hitting open roads.

Now, there is one last thing that needs to be mentioned before moving on to another topic. It's very well-known that there's a special trim of the Outback called the Wilderness. Although it doesn't do that great in the efficiency department, having a fuel economy of 22/26 miles per gallon, it's been upgraded in several significant ways.

First, its X-Mode program is an advanced dual-function mechanism. It has specific Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes, and it can effectively deal with a variety of situations. Also, the Outback Wilderness comes standard with off-road wheels and all-terrain tires, as well as a full-size spare just in case anything happens during an adventure off the beaten path. The engine has been re-tuned to allow for better low-speed climbing.

The Wilderness sits 9.5 inches off the ground and has been designed to clear obstacles. In comparison, the other Outbacks sits 8.7 inches of the ground and the CX-5 has a ground clearance of 7.6 inches.


The Outback is definitely the larger out of the two vehicles. It has a length of 191.3 inches, putting it about 11 inches longer than the CX-5. This is somewhat significant. Of course, it means that the Outback has more interior space, but it also means that it might be harder to get in and out of tight parking spots. The Subaru is about an inch wider and and taller than the Mazda as well.

Comparing the cargo capacity of these two vehicles makes it is obvious that they are not equals in size. When folded, the Outback offers a spacious maximum cargo volume of 75.7 cubic feet - more than double that offered by significantly smaller Mazda CX-5 at 59.3 cubic feet; yet when measuring behind their rear seats alone, both cars offer almost identical capacities with just shy an inch between them: 30.8 and 32.5 cubic feet respectively.

Both vehicles have room for up to five passengers. Second-row legroom is lavish in the two models. They each have nearly 40 inches of legroom for passengers riding in the back.

In order to provide comfort to passengers, there are numerous features available. Commonly, Outback’s come equipped with heated front seats, and they may also feature heated seats in the second row, heated steering wheels, and front-row ventilation. Uniformly, the CX-5 offers similar amenities to keep passengers comfortable.

Both vehicles come with handy functionalities such as a push-button start, power rear gates, and driver's seat memory. The CX-5 comes with a push-button start as a standard feature, but the Outback doesn't. Nevertheless, the Outback offers an optional power rear gate that can be opened without bothering you to use your hands.

Technology is important for making things easier nowadays. While driving, people have many ways to keep themselves entertained and access important information easily.

The first trim of the Subaru has a seven-inch touchscreen. It's equipped with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The other trims have 11.6-inch touchscreens, along with Wi-Fi capability. Navigation is available on some trims and standard on a few others. The basic audio package consists of four speakers; most Outback’s have six speakers, and some have 12 speakers as part of a premium Harman Kardon sound system.

Measuring 10.25 inches, the screen on the Mazda CX-5 is prominently featured. Like the Subaru, this SUV comes with Bluetooth and smartphone compatibility. SiriusXM is only found on the top four trims, but all of them get to have Pandora internet radio integration. In addition, the highest trim has built-in navigation.

Like that of the Outback, the base trim of the CX-5 has four speakers. Mid-level ones have six speakers, and the top trims have ten-speaker Bose sound systems.

To keep devices charged, it can be important to have multiple charging options. Subaru set up every Outback with a pair of front USB ports, and most models have another pair of USB ports for second-row passengers. It's almost the same story with the Mazda. The exception is that the top two trims have wireless charging pads.


Subaru is renowned for crafting reliable and safe cars, and the Outback upholds that legacy. A generous array of driver assistance systems come standard with this model - from Adaptive Cruise Control to Lane Centering, as well as Brake Assist capabilities if needed in a tight spot. Even automated High Beams are part of the package! You'll be safer than ever before cruising down those roads in your new Outback.

Drivers of higher end trims can rest easy knowing that the latest safety systems have their back. From alerting you when your focus might be lagging to automatically braking when reversing and detecting any blind spots, these features are made for a worry-free ride. The available rear cross-traffic monitoring program helps keep tabs on traffic coming from either side as well - allowing you stay one step ahead of every situation.

The Mazda CX-5 is like the Outback, only better! It comes with all of the standard features you know and love plus some additional ones to keep you safe. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert technology give drivers an extra set of "eyes" on things they may not have seen before - perfect for making sure those hard-to-spot vehicles remain in view while on the road.

The CX-5 is fully loaded with advanced features that make driving a breeze! It has an intuitive 360-degree monitor and parking sensors to give you peace of mind while reversing. And if that wasn't enough, it also includes a driver attention alert program as well as reverse automatic braking - perfect for avoiding those embarrassing crashes in the car park! On top of this, there's even traffic sign recognition systems combined with an active display panel so you'll never miss out on important information like speed limits or road warnings again.

Which Has the Best Value?

There are diverse options available, resulting in notable price variations. Both companies chose to offer reasonably priced base trims. The Outback's entry-level model costs around $27,650, while the first trim level of the CX-5 is priced at around $26,250. These trims have somewhat similar features, although the Outback includes SiriusXM while the CX-5 offers additional safety features.

When you start looking at mid-level versions of these SUVs, you'll find they have some added functionalities like power-adjustable seats and fancy sunroofs, along with leather upholstery. The mid-level CX-5 is less expensive than the Outback. For example, comparing the Outback Limited to the CX-5 Preferred - these are the third trims in their lineups. The Outback Limited costs around $35,000, while the CX-5 Preferred is priced at about $29,500.

The trend continues when moving higher up in the lineup. There is a price jump when switching the regular engine in the CX-5 out for a turbocharged one. The Turbo costs $36,750 and the Turbo Signature costs $39,000. They're decked out with high-end features and feel pretty luxurious.

In the case of Outback, the top tier of the lineup has turbocharged engines. These vehicles start at $35,845, and the most advanced Outback costs $40,645. Again, these have numerous amenities loaded into them, so they look quite advanced.

It's arduous to say which one has the better value. There are some minute discrepancies, with the Outback costing marginally higher than the CX-5, but remember that the Outback is much more spacious in the interior.

Which is Better?

It's likely that the Subaru Outback will attract the attention of people who value capability and want vehicles that are large and ready to hold all kinds of gear. The Outback has a much higher towing capacity than the CX-5 does, and it sits higher off the ground. Most would agree that this model feels more rugged and would seem to be perfectly at home in the woods or off on a trail somewhere.

The CX-5 can certainly handle itself well, especially if it's been upgraded with a turbocharged engine. However, it doesn't have the same valiant style that the Outback does. Instead, it looks more sophisticated with its streamlined appearance. Passengers will be comfortable in the CX-5; it just can't be packed with as much gear as the Outback can. It does shine in terms of its technology, and it would prove to be an excellent choice for anyone who needs a reliable SUV.

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2021 Subaru Outback VS Mazda CX-5