Skip to main content

The newest Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage are excellent compact SUVs. But what about 5-year-old used models? The 2018 CX-5 and Sportage are budget-friendly and well-rounded. Their similarities make choosing between these two used compact SUVs challenging. So here’s a comparison of the 2018 Mazda CX-5 and the 2018 Kia Sportage to make the decision easier.

2018 Mazda CX-52018 Kia Sportage
Average Used Price$24,000–$25,000$22,00–$28,400
Base Engine2.4-liter inline-42.4-liter inline-4
Horsepower + Torque187 hp + 186 lb-ft181 hp + 175 lb-ft
Transmission + Drivetrain6-speed automatic + FWD/AWD6-speed automatic + FWD
0–60 MPH Acceleration8.5 seconds8.8 seconds
Fuel efficiency 24/34 mpg city/hwy23/30 mpg city/hwy
NHTSA Safety Rating5/5 stars5/5 stars
Cargo Capacity30.9 ft³, 59.6 ft³ with seat area30.7 ft³, 60.1 ft³ with seat area

Pros and cons of these 2 used compact SUVs

A red 2018 Mazda CX-5
2018 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda North American Operations

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 has a handsome exterior and a stylish interior, with better fuel economy than the Sportage. However, it has less passenger space and is one of the few 2018 compact SUVs without a turbocharged engine option.

The 2018 Kia Sportage is roomy, with 41.5 inches of legroom for the front driver and passenger, while rear riders’ legs get 38.2 inches. It also has an upscale interior and offers a turbo engine. However, its fuel economy is unimpressive, and the base engine can be noisy.

2018 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2018 Kia Sportage: Driving and performance

The 2018 CX-5’s 2.5-liter inline-four engine harnesses 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. At the time, it was one of the few vehicles in its segment without a turbocharged engine. However, the base powerplant is considerably faster than the Sportage’s, taking 8.5 seconds to get to 60 mph, against the latter’s 8.8 seconds.

The 2018 Sportage packs a 2.4-liter inline-four and provides an optional turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four. Both pair with a six-speed automatic transmission. The base engine makes 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, while the turbo produces 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The latter was exclusive to the SX trim.

Both used compact SUVs boast above-average handling and steering.

2018 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2018 Kia Sportage: Interior and tech

2018 Kia Sportage dashboard
2018 Kia Sportage | Kia

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 has a 7.0-inch infotainment display standard on all trims. However, it doesn’t have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The base model has HD Radio, two USB ports, and a four-speaker stereo. Higher trim levels bring two extra speakers, more USB ports, and a 10-speaker Bose audio system.

On the other hand, the 2018 Sportage has a smaller 5.0-inch touchscreen but touts Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, six-speaker audio, and auxiliary inputs. Some upgraded models have a 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen display. Higher trims also have a premium Harman Kardon sound system and navigation. All have convenient buttons for tuning and volume.

2018 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2018 Kia Sportage: Trim levels and features

A silver 2018 Kia Sportage parked on a mountainside
2018 Kia Sportage | Kia

Mazda offered the 2018 CX-5 in three trims: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. Its top trim is loaded with desirable features, such as a moonroof, navigation, and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system. However, it lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

The 2018 Sportage was also available in three trims: LX, EX, and SX. Its base model provides many desirable features, but the mid-range EX boasts leather upholstery, heated front seats, and rear-cross traffic alert. The top trim has even more features, such as automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning.

Which used compact SUV is the right fit for you?

2018 Kia Sportage cargo area seen through the open rear liftgate
2018 Kia Sportage | Kia

If you’re on a strict budget and want a good used compact SUV, consider the base model of the 2018 Sportage. However, for more horsepower and better fuel economy, the affordable 2018 CX-5 is hard to beat. Several factors influence a purchase, especially regarding pre-owned models, but the final decision comes down to your preferences and budget.

Also, regardless of which used car you choose, obtain a vehicle history report and have a trusted mechanic perform an inspection to uncover potential problems before purchasing. Also, prices may vary depending on trim level, mileage, overall condition, and location.