Why Would Anyone Buy a 2020 BMW X1 When You Could Buy a Mazda CX-5?

It may be exciting to have a luxury car to impress your neighbors, but there’s no longer a need to pay extra for additional safety and comfort features. In recent years, many of the same luxury and driver-assist features have started to be included in other brands as well. With this in mind, there may not be as much of a reason to buy the BMW X1. The Mazda CX-5 could fit your needs just as well.

The 2020 BMW X1 vs. the 2020 Mazda CX-5

Consumer Reports examined a group of luxury cars and found lower-cost options that can be recommended in their place. Consumer Reports picked out trim levels that offer “better value, strong performance, and similar high-end features” as the luxury options. The task was made easier because luxury brands now offer more “entry-level” trims. These options have luxury badges but fewer of the luxury features. Paying extra for a luxury car doesn’t necessarily provide more quality or more features.

In the small SUV category, Consumer Reports recommends the 2020 Mazda CX-5 in the Grand Touring Reserve trim over the 2020 BMW X1. In addition to having great features, the CX-5 is also more highly rated (No. 2 of 16 among compact SUVs) than the X1 (No. 5 of 11 among luxury entry-level SUVs).

The 2020 CX-5 did better on Consumer Reports’ annual survey too, earning an overall score of 84, a well-above-average predicted reliability rating, and an above-average predicted owner satisfaction rating. The 2020 X1 earned an overall score of 72, with an above-average predicted reliability rating and a well-below average predicted owner satisfaction rating. Just 46 percent of X1 owners who responded in the survey said they would buy it again, citing issues with comfort and value.

Comparing the engines

The BMW X1 is a bit more fuel efficient than the Mazda CX-5. It is rated for 26 MPG overall, 17 MPG in the city, and 37 MPG on the highway. The CX-5 is rated for slightly less, with 24 MPG overall, 17 MPG in the city, and 33 MPG on the highway.

Although it is more fuel-efficient, the BMW X1 doesn’t have great handling or a refined engine, which is uncommon for a BMW. It has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, generating 228 hp. The Mazda CX-5’s standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 187 hp, is a pleasant and responsive engine. It also has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing 227 hp, available on the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims, and the Signature trim has an available diesel engine.

The interiors of the BMW X1 and Mazda CX-5

Consumer Reports seems to like the interior of the Mazda CX-5 more than that of the BMW X1. The BMW X1 has a noisy interior. While its suspension is relatively good, it can be a bumpy ride on rougher surfaces. It offers soft-touch materials, but hard plastics are included as well.

In contrast, the Mazda CX-5 has an unusually quiet interior plus a suspension that absorbs bumps in the road. It provides drivers with what Consumer Reports describes as “an all-around luxury driving experience.” The CX-5 also features upscale materials and soft-touch surfaces.

Safety features in the BMW X1 and Mazda CX-5


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The Mazda CX-5 has more available driver-assist features than the BMW X1 does. The BMW X1 doesn’t offer automatic emergency braking at highway speeds, and it also does not have a blind-spot warning. The X1 provides frontal collision warning, lane departure warning, and speed limit information.

The 2020 CX-5 now comes standard with adaptive cruise control and auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Other driver-assist safety features on the Grand Touring Reserve trim of the CX-5 include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, radar cruise control with stop and go, advanced brake support with pedestrian detection, smart brake support with collision warning, and lane departure warning with lane-keep assist.

How do the prices compare?

While pricing is similar, buyers save money and get more value from the Mazda CX-5 than from the BMW X1. The 2020 BMW X1 ranges in price from $35,200 to $37,200. The 2020 Mazda CX-5 offers a big savings, with a price ranging from $25,190 to $37,155. Consumer Reports specifically recommends the Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring Reserve trim, with a price of $36,235.

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 is better to drive and quieter inside than the 2020 BMW X1, although it isn’t as fuel-efficient. With luxury finishes available in higher trims plus a lower price, buyers may want to consider the CX-5 over the X1.