As sport utility vehicles become increasingly popular, buyers have more options than ever. Luxury SUVs offer premium sound systems and exotic cabin materials. More mainstream brands are stepping up their game to be just as plush as some luxury brands but still offer enough savings to pay for a visit to your favorite theme park. In a battle of the brands, how does the 2020 Mazda CX-5 match up against the 2020 Infiniti QX50?
The 2020 Infiniti QX50
The 2020 Infiniti QX50 ranked seventh in the U.S. News review of luxury compact SUVs with a score of 7.5. The QX50 fell behind such brands as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Volvo but ahead of Buick and Lexus. With a middle-of-the-road MSRP ranging from $37,250 to $55,850, it’s neither the most nor least expensive among its peers.
The QX50 is available in five trim levels ranging from the base Pure to the top-of-the-line Autograph. All levels include the same 268-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine backed by a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
Infiniti’s hi-tech engine uses variable compression to offer more power when needed and better fuel economy when cruising. While the engine lives up to its promise, being paired with a CVT saps a lot of its potential, especially when compared to the Mazda CX-5.
The Infiniti QX50 offers spacious seating for five adults and plenty of cargo space for groceries or luggage. It offers a smooth, quiet ride and comes equipped with standard tech features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Standard safety features include forward-collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave it a five-star rating in its front and side crash tests, a four-star rating for rollover resistance, and five stars overall.
The 2020 Mazda CX-5
The 2020 Mazda CX-5 placed second on the U.S. News list of compact SUVs with a score of 8.6, falling just behind the Honda CR-V‘s score of 8.7. The Mazda CX-5 seats five adults comfortably, though some rear-seat passengers may wish for more space. There is enough cargo space for a reasonable amount of luggage or shopping bags.
The Mazda CX-5 is a strong contender for the best quality cabin, and it comes standard with a 7-inch infotainment screen and push-button start. Higher trim levels include a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, a 10-speaker premium audio system, and four USB ports.
There are three engine options available. The standard 187-hp four-cylinder is adequate for most drivers, but the available 227-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes driving fun again. If you want more zip, opting for premium gasoline at the pump will up the engine’s output to 250 hp. If fuel economy is your focus, you may wish to opt for the 168-hp turbocharged diesel engine.
The handling characteristics of the CX-5 are second to no other SUV or crossover. It’s responsive and agile on twisty roads and city streets alike, and the suspension soaks up all the worst bumps.
The 2020 Mazda CX-5 MSRP ranges from $25,190 to $37,155. The top-of-the-line Signature trim includes all the standard Mazda features plus Nappa leather upholstery, navigation, a surround-view parking camera system, and front and rear parking sensors.
The battle of the brands
When comparing the Mazda CX-5 to the Infiniti QX50, the first thing that pops out is that the CX-5’s top MSRP is under the QX50’s base MSRP. Compare top-of-the-line models and the CX-5 Signature trim is $18,695 less expensive than the QX50 Autograph trim version.
That price difference is not justified as the CX-5 is more luxurious than the QX50 where it counts – cabin materials, performance, and handling.