2021 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2021 Buick Envision: How to Choose the Right Compact SUV for Your Daily Driving Needs

There are plenty of options among the compact SUV segment. For those on the hunt for a more premium feeling compact SUV, both the 2021 Mazda CX-5 and the 2021 Buick Envision make for worthwhile picks. But when it comes to choosing the right compact SUV for your daily driving needs, should you choose the Mazda CX-5 or the Buick Envision? 

A red 2021 Mazda CX-5 driving down a city road with a building and tree in the background
The 2021 Mazda CX-5 in action | Mazda

2021 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2021 Buick Envision: What’s under the hood?

At the heart of the Mazda CX-5 is a 187-hp 2.5-liter engine, though a 250-hp 2.5-liter turbo engine is available. Regardless of which engine you choose, the CX-5 comes outfitted with a 6-speed automatic transmission and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, depending on which trim level you choose. 

According to Car and Driver, the CX-5’s standard engine has “great throttle response when pulling away from stoplights or hustling around town, so it feels quicker than it actually is.” However, Car and Driver reports, it’s the CX-5’s available turbocharged engine that provides “much quicker acceleration.”

As for the Buick Envision? This year’s model does come equipped with a significantly more powerful base engine. Driven by a 228-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that comes teamed with a nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, Car and Driver reports that this year’s new Envision “feels perky around town, [but] it never manages to feel particularly quick.” And if you’re hoping for additional engine options? Unfortunately, the Envision’s turbocharged engine is the only engine it’s available with.

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2021 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2021 Buick Envision: Interior amenities abound

There’s really no getting around it. Both the 2021 Mazda CX-5 and the 2021 Buick Envision are laden with interior amenities. Slip behind the wheel of the Buick Envision, and much like Car and Driver reports, you’ll find that its interior is “quite snazzy.” For even more interior spoils, upgrade to the Avenir, which offers up premium interior amenities such as leather seating surfaces, heated and ventilated front seats, and even a massaging driver’s seat.

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 offers no shortage of interior spoils, either. According to Consumer Reports, its cabin is one of the nicest among its segment. It’s laden with soft-touch elements, boasts a slew of glossy black trim pieces, and comes outfitted with seats that are as comfortable as they are upscale. Much like the Envision, it’s also available with premium interior amenities like leather-trimmed seating surfaces, heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

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2021 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2021 Buick Envision: Which compact SUV costs more?

Here’s the thing, the 2021 Buick Envision is significantly more expensive than the 2021 Mazda CX-5. While the Mazda CX-5 boasts a base price of $25,370, a base model Envision will cost you approximately $31,800. For some compact SUV shoppers, that’s a massive price difference to have to deal with. Even at its most expensive, you can count on the Mazda CX-5 to be an affordable alternative to the Buick Envision.

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How to choose the right compact SUV for your daily driving needs

There’s no denying that both the 2021 Buick Envision and the 2021 Mazda CX-5 have a lot to offer. However, it’s the 2021 Mazda CX-5 that offers more. Unlike the Envision, it’s available with your choice of engine under the hood. This year’s model is also offered in a slew of well-outfitted and reasonably priced trim levels. But does that mean the CX-5 is the right compact SUV for satisfying your daily driving needs? Not necessarily. That’s why we recommend taking both of these SUVs out for a test drive before making any final decisions.