Kia Sportage vs. Mazda CX-5

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - October 21, 2016

Ever since its 2012 debut, the Mazda CX-5 has stood out from competitors by offering sleek exterior styling and an ergonomic, friendly interior that flaunts its performance aspirations. However, while the CX-5 certainly looks the part of a fun-to-drive crossover, the base 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 back in 2014. But is it enough to make the CX-5 a superior choice to the completely redesigned Kia Sportage? Or will it come up short against its Korean rival?

See a side-by-side comparison of the CX-5 & Sportage »

What the CX-5 Gets Right

With styling 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 CX-5’s rear fascia has a subtler 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 available supportive leather seats, an excellent dash layout, and push-button start.

Straight-line performance lags a bit relative to the Sportage, due to its low-output 2-liter engine and modestly powerful 2.5-liter. However, Mazda has tuned these engines for fuel efficiency, and they deliver with up to 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Mazda’s zoom-zoom persona shines in the CX-5, as it is nimble and confident in the corners, and whipping in an out of traffic.

The CX-5 also delivers a roomier cabin, winning out in most of the key measurables inside, including cargo space.

What the Sportage Gets Right

The Sportage underwent a huge redesign for 2017 that included a new and somewhat polarizing body style. With this new look also comes a new cabin that is more stylish and quieter and ever.

The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder outmuscles the Mazda’s base powerplant at 181 horsepower, but the optional 2-liter turbo is where the power really is. With 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, the Sportage is better suited to compete with larger crossovers.

While not as zoomy as the CX-5, the Sportage also feels right at home in the corners, and it also delivers a very comfortable ride.

The Sportage is also the benefactor of Kia’s outstanding warranty coverage. This industry-topping coverage gives buyers a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year or 60,000-mile powertrain warranty. This gives you peace of mind for many years to come.

About as Close as They Come

It doesn’t get much closer than a competition between the Sportage and CX-5. Both deliver great agility, awesome interiors, upscale features in higher trims, and some pep.

Our Verdict: Mazda CX-5

In the end, the Mazda CX-5's more efficient powertrains, advanced safety features, and additional room in the cabin make it the better option.

Take a closer look at the Kia Sportage >>

Take a closer look at the Mazda CX-5 >>


Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website