The 2019 Mazda CX-5 and 2019 Subaru Outback might not always be the first models people think of when it comes to the compact crossover segment of the market, but ask a dealership like Tempe area Mazda dealer and they'll tell you one, if not both, are better than the traditional big two in the segment. They'll also tell you the CX-5 is the best of this particular pair, and here's why.
Both of these crossovers have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder unit as their standard powerplant, but the CX-5 has more power available. The unit the Outback uses is a flat-four that develops a modest 175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque, but the inline-four in the 2019 CX-5 puts out 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. The two models diverge when it comes to the optional engines, with the CX-5 going for a turbo-four and the Outback preferring a 3.6-liter flat-six. The Outback's six-cylinder has a little more horsepower, but the CX-5's modern turbo four has a lot more torque with 310 lb-ft, compared to just 247 lb-ft with the Outback.
Even at this relatively affordable level, a difference in the price of a few hundred dollars wouldn’t be a big deal, but a $2,000 difference is. The most affordable version of the Subaru Outback is the base 2.5i that has a starting Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $26,345, but you can check out a 2019 Mazda CX-5 Sport at a Tempe area Mazda dealership like CardinaleWay Mazda in Mesa knowing you can drive one away from as little as $24,350. Some people may want to point out the Outback comes with standard all-wheel-drive, but you can get the CX-5 Sport with all-wheel drive and it still costs $595 less than the Outback.
There isn’t a great deal of difference between the two here, but if you opt for the more powerful engine options, the Mazda CX-5 has a slight edge. The Outback with the flat-six is rated by the EPA at 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, while the CX-5 is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with the turbo-four.
If safety is a big concern for your next compact crossover, you won’t go wrong with either of these two. Both are so good in this area they both get five stars from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Some people will undoubtedly love the way the 2019 Subaru Outback looks, but even they would be hard-pressed to make a case for the exterior styling being preferable to that of the 2019 Mazda CX-5. The CX-5 is simply stunning, and it has to be one of the most attractive crossovers of any type in the current market. The Outback has unique styling, but the CX-5 would have to win a beauty contest between the pair.
In the End
The Subaru Outback is a very capable vehicle that can go places and do things many of its rivals will struggle with, but in the urban jungle where most of these compact crossovers operate the 2019 Mazda CX-5 is a clear winner in a comparison between the pair.