2013 Ford Escape Vs. 2013 Mazda CX 5

Not a single part is shared between these two crossovers.

We couldn't do this comparison test a year ago. No, not because the CX-5 is a new nameplate and all-new vehicle for the Mazda brand (okay, that's technically a valid reason), but because until now, Mazda's only small crossover offering was the Tribute – a rebadged version of the trusty last-gen Ford Escape. In fact, it's always been sort of tricky to put Ford and Mazda vehicles in the same comparison test, only because nearly every product in Mazda's stable could be traced back to some sort of Ford platform.

But with the two automakers having officially parted ways, Mazda was forced to create an all-new platform for a small crossover that would play in the same segment as the Escape. And under the lights of the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show last November, both the 2013 CX-5 and 2013 Escape debuted, with representatives from Ford and Mazda alike reassuring us that not a single part is shared between the two crossovers, noting that the two companies were in no way involved in the development of each other's vehicle.

That in mind, we thought it best to pit the Escape and CX-5 against one another to see how the family lines have matured after the divorce.

Both crossovers are completely new for the 2013 model year, the Escape ditching nearly everything that could possibly tie it to the boxier-than-thou 2012 model in favor of something decidedly more European in design and execution. Underpinning the new Escape is Ford's global C-segment platform, found elsewhere in the United States under the bodies of the Focus and C-Max.


Mazda, on the other hand, went in a different direction. Rather than borrowing the bones from its Mazda3 compact, the Japanese automaker created an all-new platform that uses the full suite of lightweight, fuel efficiency-minded Skyactiv technologies – stuff that will quickly spread to every new model in the company's lineup, the next of which being the shapely new 2014 Mazda6. The end result is a crossover that sizes up very nicely to the Escape while being a full 230 pounds lighter in this spec.

Speaking of spec, let's talk about the vehicles that are being compared. We chose to go with the front-wheel-drive volume models for both, and various reasons contributed to this decision. Most importantly, price was a huge factor – you've no doubt heard about the fact that 2013 Escape models can retail as high as $37,000. But we also wanted the two vehicles to be as close as possible in terms of equipment levels and powertrains. Bigger-budget Ford offers three different four-cylinder engines in the Escape – one naturally aspirated, two turbocharged – while Mazda presently offers just the one Skyactiv four-cylinder in the CX-5. And while both crossovers can be had with all-wheel drive, we chose the front-wheel-drive versions simply because they're the ones most commonly purchased.


Dimensionally, the two crossovers are remarkably close in size. The Ford is 1.2 inches shorter in length than the Mazda (178.1 inches versus 179.3) and rides on a 0.4-inch shorter wheelbase (105.9 vs. 106.3). Both CUVs are identical in terms of width (72.4 inches) and the Ford is 0.6 inches taller (66.3 vs. 65.7). But while the widths might be the same for the two, it's important to note that the CX-5's front and rear tracks are a full inch wider than the Ford's – something that indeed helps with handling, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

In the metal, we found the Escape to be a far more handsome devil from every angle.

Numbers don't accurately portray how these vehicles look on the road. In the metal, we found the Escape to be a far more handsome devil from every angle. As Senior Editor Seyth Miersma succinctly put it, "The Escape wins the 'wow factor' comparison, hands down." The Ford's stylized exterior is certainly more evocative, and unlike the Mazda, no design elements look awkward or misplaced. Even on the smaller 17-inch wheels, the Escape has a nice stance on the road, whereas the base wheels on the CX-5 almost look two inches too small.

So, meet our 2013 Escape: An SE model with an as-tested price of $27,860, including $825 for destination. Under the hood is Ford's 1.6-liter EcoBoost inline-four, good for 178 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 184 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm, all of which is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.

2013 Ford Escape front view>2013 Ford Escape rear view>2013 Mazda CX-5 front view>2013 Mazda CX-5 rear view>

In terms of options, there aren't many here to talk about. SE models come standard with niceties like tinted rear windows, foglights and the five-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels seen here. The only add-ons found on our vehicle were the $1,570 MyFord Touch navigation/infotainment system and the rolls-off-the-tongue Equipment Group 201A ($450; cargo cover, roof rails and perimeter alarm).

For the Mazda, we chose a 2013 CX-5 Touring, also riding on (decidedly more ordinary) 17-inch alloy wheels and powered by a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated Skyactiv inline-four that pumps out 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 150 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, also mated to a six-speed auto 'box. The as-tested price: $27,005, including $795 for destination.

Again, we absolutely prefer the Ford's design in nearly every way, as specific elements of the CX-5's styling stick out as a bit odd to us. "The grille on the CX-5 looks outsized to me, and the front end too bluff, particularly from the dead-on front," writes Executive Editor Chris Paukert. "I'm not sure which will wear better over the long haul, but for the moment, the Ford looks fresher to my eyes." What's more, Touring models like our test car are only fitted with the smaller 17-inch alloys that leave huge gaps in the wheel wells, making the CX-5 look a bit awkward from most angles. If you want larger rollers, you have to option up for the Grand Touring, where you'll find attractive 19-inchers at all four corners.

2013 Ford Escape headlight>2013 Ford Escape wheel>2013 Ford Escape taillight>2013 Mazda CX-5 headlight>2013 Mazda CX-5 wheel>2013 Mazda CX-5 taillight>

The base stereo in our test Escape was one of the worst modern units this author has ever tested in terms of sound quality.

Our Mazda arrived packed with options like a power moonroof; a technology package that includes things like auto-leveling HID headlamps, navigation and rain-sensing wipers; and an upgraded Bose audio system. (For what it's worth, the base stereo in our test Escape was one of the worst modern units this author has ever tested in terms of sound quality.)

But even with this longer equipment list, a few of our editors took issue with the Mazda's option packaging. Paukert writes, "I find the CX-5's Byzantine trim and option scheme to be irritating. For example, short of the base Sport model, as a CX-5 buyer you're stuck with a mandatory Blind Spot Monitoring system, which can be annoying. I'm not convinced it's a feature everybody wants." Furthermore, "If you want satellite radio, you have pony up a pricey $525 for the stand-alone Sirius option on Touring models, splurge for the full-house Grand Touring or get a dealer-installed aftermarket system. What's up with that? That's standard equipment on a base $15k Hyundai Accent."

2013 Ford Escape>2013 Ford Escape infotainment system>2013 Ford Escape shifter>

2013 Ford Escape interior

Source : https://www.autoblog.com/2012/10/24/2013-ford-escape-vs-2013-mazda-cx-5-comparison-review/

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