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The Mazda CX-5 and the Ford Escape are solid choices for compact SUV drivers. Both vehicles have some good qualities. However, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 tops the 2023 Ford Escape in one important area. It has better driving dynamics.

2023 Mazda CX-5 has better driving dynamics than the 2023 Ford Escape

2023 Mazda CX-5 compact SUV driving on a city street
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

Compact SUVs are very popular these days. People like them as an alternative to sedans due to their spaciousness, high ride height, and utility. A drawback for many models in the segment, though, is their driving dynamics leave much to be desired. 

However, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 is an anomaly. It has excellent driving dynamics, which are better than all other non-luxury compact SUVs, including the 2023 Ford Escape. Mazda has a much-deserved reputation for building affordable cars that are enjoyable to drive, and this shows with the CX-5. It provides an exhilarating driving experience without the premium car price. 

One of the factors that contribute to the CX-5’s superb driving experience is its agility. It can fluidly move through curves and navigate traffic — and has good cornering abilities. Plus, it’s more maneuverable, with a turning circle of 36.0 feet, compared to 38.4 feet for the Escape.

Also, the CX-5 has surefooted braking and precise steering. Additionally, the suspension provides a nice combination of athletic handling and ride comfort, with the ability to soak up road imperfections. 

Turbo engine for the Mazda CX-5 is more powerful than anything the Ford Escape offers

Front view of red 2023 Ford Escape compact SUV
2023 Ford Escape | Ford

Another contributing factor to the superior driving dynamics of the 2023 Mazda CX-5 is its available turbocharged engine. The turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the Mazda compact SUV is more powerful than anything the 2023 Ford Escape offers. 

It delivers an output of 256 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. In comparison, the Escape’s most powerful engine, a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder, generates 250 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. 

Other strengths the 2023 CX-5 has over the 2023 Escape

The 2023 CX-5 has other strengths over the 2023 Escape. While both compact SUVs offer an all-wheel drive system for extra traction, it’s standard for the CX-5. For the Escape, it’s optional, so customers have to pay extra. 

Also, the CX-5 is safer. Unlike the Escape, it earned a 2023 Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Mazda compact SUV achieved this honor due to good results in crash tests and other safety evaluations. 

Additionally, the CX-5 is slightly more reliable. It received a J.D. Power reliability rating of 82/100, compared to 81/100 for the Escape. Reliability results in fewer and less severe repairs, which helps keep the ownership costs down. It also translates to longevity and consistent performance. 

Furthermore, the CX-5 is cheaper. It has a starting price of $26,700 MSRP, while the Escape starts at $28,000 MSRP. And with everything that the CX-5 offers, it provides better value than the Escape.

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 tops the 2023 Ford Escape in an important area with its superior driving dynamics. The high-level driving experience of the Mazda compact SUV is a crucial element to consider when choosing between the two vehicles.


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