Ever since its 2012 debut, the Mazda CX-5 has always stood out from competitors by offering buyers a sold mixture of sleek exterior styling and an ergonomic, friendly interior that flaunts its performance oriented intentions loud and clearly. However, while the CX-5 certainly looks the part of a fun-to-drive CUV, the tiny 2-liter engine and its modest 155 horsepower blunted the car's true potential.
Mazda engineers aimed to solve this problem by equipping Touring and Grand Touring models with a new 2.5-liter engine for 2014. But is it enough to make the CX-5 a superior choice to the Kia Sportage? Or will it still come up short against its Korean rival?
What The CX-5 Gets Right:
With styling that was inspired by Mazda's MINAGI concept car, the CX-5's sleek lines and purposeful curves help it stand out from competitors; a bold grille gives the face of the CX-5 an aggressive and performance oriented character. The rear fascia of the CX-5 has a more subtle look than the front end, but it still looks handsome and gives the car a balanced appearance.
Buyers will also be pleased with the interior of the CX-5, which features supportive leather seats, an excellent dash layout, and push-button start. Performance comes from the base 2-liter engine or the new 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder available on higher trims.
Why Buy the Sportage Over The CX-5:
While the Kia Sportage is certainly a strong choice. Its 260-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder is stronger than the Mazda's 184 horsepower 2.5 liter engine. This is also the case on base models in which the Sportage's 174 horsepower outshines the 155 horsepower wielded by the CX-5 Sport. The Sportage also offers better interior ergonomics and capacity, but the Mazda makes up for this by trumping the Kia with better interior materials
Our Verdict: Mazda CX-5
In the end, the Mazda CX-5's sleeker styling, superior cabin construction and sporty road manners win out.