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Mazda CX-5 vs. CX-50: A spec-by-spec comparison

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When I first saw the Mazda CX-50 in photos, we couldn’t understand why this vehicle was necessary. It looked so much like the CX-5. But after looking at them in person, and reviewing the specs, we can see the differences more clearly. Kinda. If you’re trying to choose between these two compact SUVs, you might make your decision on purely cosmetic reasons, but it might also be helpful to see a Mazda CX-5 vs. CX-50 spec-by-spec comparison as well.

So, we’re including the full chart below as well as a few key takeaways.

Size differences

When looking at the sizes of the Mazda CX-5 vs. CX-50, if you don’t seem them side by side, they look quite similar. But the CX-5 has less length, though it is a little wider and taller than the CX-50. CX-50 also generally weighs more than the CX-5.

The end result is CX-5 has more passenger volume but CX-50 has more cargo volume.

Identical powertrains, but …

Both vehicles come standard with all-wheel drive and a base 2.5-liter engine with an available 2.5-liter turbo. Power delivery is also identical. Note, on the turbo engines, power delivery is affected by whether you use regular or premium fuel.

However, even though the powertrains are the same, fuel economy is not. CX-50 is slightly more efficient than the CX-5, which seems odd since CX-50 is heavier.

Off-road clearances

Because CX-50 is intended to be a little more capable off-road and bears extra cladding, it gets some extra ground clearance. Mazda has also spells out approach, departure and breakover angles for the CX-50, whereas nothing is provided for CX-5.

Towability

While few people are going to tow with a compact SUV, we suppose it could happen. So, if you were bringing along a small camper or boat, you’ll get more capacity with the CX-50 paired with the turbocharged engine. You’re looking at 2,000 pounds max for the CX-5 but 3,500 for the CX-50.

CX-50CX-5
Engine TypeSkyactiv-G 2.5 4-cylinder (std); Skyactiv-G 2.5 with Twin Scroll Turbocharger (available)Skyactiv-G 2.5 4-cylinder (std); Skyactiv-G 2.5 with Twin Scroll Turbocharger (available)
Horsepower187 hp @ 6,000 rpm (2.5); 227 hp @ 5,000 rpm (2.5T, regular fuel), 256 hp @ 5,000 rpm (2.5T, premium fuel)187 hp @ 6,000 rpm (2.5); 227 hp @ 5,000 rpm (2.5T, regular fuel), 256 hp @ 5,000 rpm (2.5T, premium fuel)
Torque186 lb-ft @ 4,000 (2.5) 310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm (2.5T regular fuel), 320 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm (2.5T premium fuel)186 lb-ft @ 4,000 (2.5) 310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm (2.5T regular fuel), 320 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm (2.5T premium fuel)
Top speed (mph)127 (std); 142 (available)128 (std); 129 (available)
MPG City/Highway/Combined24/30/27 (std); 23/29/25 (available)24/30/26 (std); 22/27 /24 (available)
DrivetrainAWDAWD
TransmissionSKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed automatic transmissionSKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission
Front SuspensionMacpherson strutIndependent, MacPherson Strut type coil spring and stabilizer bar
Rear SuspensionTorsion BeamIndependent, Multi-link type coil spring and stabilizer bar
Steering TypeRack and PinionRack and Pinion
Turning Circle, Curb to Curb (diameter - feet)1818
Turning Circle, Wall to Wall (diameter - feet)3939
Wheel Size17 X 7J (std); 20 X 8J (available) 17 X 7J (std); 19 X 7J (available)
Tire Size225 / 65 / R17 (std); 245 / 45R20 (available) 225 / 65 / R17 (std); 225 / 55 / R19 (available)
Wheelbase (in)110.8106.2
Overall Length (in)185.8180.1
Overall Width mirror to mirror (in)80.883.3
Overall Height (in)63.5 (std); 63.9 (available)65.4 (std); 65.6 (available)
Overhang front/rear (in)37.8 / 37.2 38.0 / 35.8
Minimum Ground clearance (in)8.3 (std); 8.6 (available) 7.6 (std); 7.9 (available)
Approach Angle (degrees)18n/a
Departure Angle (degrees) 24 (std); 25 (available)n/a
Breakover Angle (degrees)18.4n/a
Headroom front/rear (in)39.1/38.6 (std.); 38.6/37.5 (available)39.7/39.0 (w/o moonroof), 39.3/39.0 (w/ moonroof)
Leg Room front/rear (in)41.7/39.8 41.0/39.6
Rear knee clearance (in)32.7
Shoulder Room front/rear (in)55.9/53.6 57.1/54.8
Hip Room front/rear (in)53.6/52.1 55.2/55.3
Passenger Volume (cu ft)100.3 (std); 98.3 (available)103.6
Cargo Volume behind second row/second row flat (cu ft)31.4/56.3 30.8/59.3
Curb Weight (lbs)3,706 (std); 3,907 (available) 3,717 (std); 3,856 (available)
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lbs)4,848 (std); 4,945 (available) 4,724 (std); 4,828 (available)
Fuel Tank Capacity (gallons/L)15.8 / 60 15.3 / 58
Towing Capacity (lbs)2,000 (std); 3,500 (available)2000

The bottom line on the Mazda CX-5 vs. CX-50

At the CX-50’s introduction, Mazda made a big deal out of it being more rugged, while the CX-5 is more urbane. And sure, there’s more cladding as well as an extra half inch of ground clearance. But I’m not sure that’s enough of an aesthetic difference to really differentiate the two SUVs.

One other difference to note is pricing: The CX-5 costs about $800 less than the CX-50. Then again, not sure if that’s enough of a difference to matter.

But in terms of design and capability, the CX-50 is the clear winner. Frankly, we’d be surprised if CX-5 sticks around much longer.

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is the Managing Editor for Pickup Truck + SUV Talk as well as a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Jill is also currently a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY).

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