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The 2021 Mazda CX-5 and 2021 Subaru Forester are both extraordinary popular crossover SUVs for this year. The Mazda CX-5 has a few more options to offer buyers, but eh Forester has off-roading capabilities that Mazda can’t match. Check out how the two compact crossover SUVs compare to one another and where each one pulls ahead.

Is Mazda CX-5 better than Subaru Forester?

2021 Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester
2021 Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester | Mazda

Kelley Blue Book made a comparison of the 2021 Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Forester. What’s to love about the Mazda CX-5? KBB says that this SUV is stylish and has a lot of equipment standard that other cars might make optional. It offers a turbo engine option and all-wheel drive ($1,400 upgrade), making it one of the sportier SUVs available.

Where does the CX-5 SUV lack a bit? The back seat is a little tight and could use some extra room. The infotainment system isn’t as intuitive as some might like, and the cargo area is smaller (30.9/59.6 cubic feet) than some similar SUVs. Kelley Blue Book says that if you are looking for a sportier option that offers some SUV qualities, the CX-5 is a solid choice. This Mazda works for many budgets while offering a 2.5L naturally-aspirate engine or a 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder. The 2021 Mazda CX-5’s starting price is $25,370.

This SUV gets 28 mpg overall (25 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway.) The Mazda warranty is three years, 36,000 miles. It has a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and room for five passengers.

Is the Subaru Forester more reliable than the CX-5?

Not necessarily. The Subaru Forester and the Mazda CX-5 have a lot of similar qualities, including being reliable. It comes standard with all-wheel drive and has a fairly unprecedented ground clearance. The fuel economy is above-average, too. KBB says the Forester lacks a bit with the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), and the style of the Subaru might not be for everyone.

Overall, the Subaru Forester is a compact SUV that has a surprising amount of space inside. The cargo area has 31.1/74.3 cubic feet. The ground clearance makes it ready for off-roading adventures. KBB gave it the Best Resale Value Award and Lowest 5-Year Cost to Own award.

This SUV gets 29 mpg overall (26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway.) The Subaru warranty is also three years, 36,000 miles. Like the CX-5, the Forester has a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA and room for five passengers.

Advantages and disadvantages for the SUVs

The Mazda CX-5 comes with two engine choices, seven trim level options and is offered in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. The non-turbo engine gets 187 hp, and the turbo version offers 227 hp. This SUV can tow 2,000 pounds. The turbo engine offers a slight advantage over the engine options for the Subaru, in addition to the upscale looks.

The Forester has a single-engine choice of a 2.5L flat-four with 182 hp. It has five trims: base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring. This Subaru offers a wide variety of safety and driver features that come standard. The higher-end trims offer more options, but so does the base. The Forester can tow 1,500 pounds. The standard all-wheel-drive platform gives this pick an advantage, as does its off-roading capabilities.

If you have any plans for off-road adventures, the Subaru pulls out ahead. Otherwise, the CX-5 is going to get you to your destination safely, no matter what trim and options you pick. As far as compact crossover SUVs go, both the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester are reliable and stylish options.


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