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subaru vs mazda

Ask the People Who Own One:

2017 - 2023 Mazda CX-5

pro and con between subarb forester and mazda cx5

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Response from Member4890

9:29 am August 11, 2017

I feel the Mazda is a better handling/ more fun car to drive. I also strongly prefer the 6 speed automatic in the Mazda to the CVT in the Forester. That was pretty close to a deal breaker alone for me. We've now got 3 Mazdas in our family and very pleased with them.


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Response from Member5117

10:39 am August 11, 2017

The Subaru has a lot going for it. Chiefly the availability of a manual transmission and its reliabilty and quality. However the CX-5 is much more of a drivers car. Handling is more secure and responsive. It is also highly reliable and gets decent MPG.


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Response from NormT

12:42 pm August 11, 2017

With the CX-5 the next thing you'll need is are hearing aids. Most complaints are about the road noise and lack of sound deadening. It must a common complaint as later models received an upgrade.

Poll reporting 160 cracked winshields.


Another issue with CX-5, and Forester too, is the regularity of cracked winshields around the rearview mirror. As manufacturers focus on weights savings and fuel economy, the cutting of corners becomes prevalent and unfortunately the safety risk is on consumer along with the cost of repair. The instalation of today's camera, radar, and laser replacement windshield is around $1,000.00 and can only be aligned by an authorized dealership. My wife leased two Subaru's before meeting me and both windshields cracked all the way across the car.

The Encore had the lowest repair frequency of 8 per 100 for 2015, 12 for CX-5, and 20 for the Forester

At $29-35K with up to 15,000 miles the well equipped CUV is the 2016 Buick Envision Premium ll with Driver Confidence package. This is the car we recently picked up really enjoy the quiet and smooth ride. The Buick will have a longer warranty than those you listed and also features not available on those listed like vented swats, heads up display, and swiveling headlights. And the best AWD system available at this price.

Buick Envision:

  • Ten standard air bags, including side-curtain and knee air bags
  • Safety Alert Seat is standard on Premium trims
  • Driver Confidence Package is available on Premium II and includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Surround Vision and Front Automatic Braking
  • Forward Collision Alert and Following Distance Indicator are standard on Premium trims
  • Land Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning is standard on Premium trims
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert is standard on Premium trims
  • Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert is standard on Essence and Premium trims
  • Standard rear-vision camera with Rear Park Assist
  • Standard safety-belt pretensioners and load-limiters


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Response from Member5791

1:10 pm August 11, 2017

I also considered the Forester and chose the CX-5 for these main reasons:
1. Saw no need for all-wheel drive and didn't want any potential problems with a feature I didn't need.
2. Comfort and ease of getting into and out of the driver's seat was better in the Mazda. I'm a small lady and have to keep the seat far forward, which can make it awkward at times.
3. In addition, I really preferred the handling and spunk of the CX-5 (with the larger engine).


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Response from LectroFuel

8:22 pm August 11, 2017

I answered in the "My Next Car" section, but I'll copy them. I don't own either car.

I would suggest the Mazda CX-5 over the Subaru Forester. The Mazda will likely be more reliable overtime. Also, the Mazda has a MUCH nicer interior than the Subaru. The Forester is much more utilitarian than the Mazda. The CX-5 is one of the best looking CUVs, IMO, inside and out. The Mazda has a better ride and is quieter than the Subaru. The Subaru has a good driving position and is easy to see out of, great for elderly people. The cool styling of the CX-5 means that visbility is compromised. It doesn't have as good of a driving position as the Subaru. The Subaru has a CVT, which is only good for fuel efficiency, NOT fun. The transmission in the Mazda is much better.

You really can't go wrong with either. It's smart to buy a fully loaded small crossover like these instead of a small luxury CUV. You get more for your money and a great, practical car. If it were my money, I'd get a Mazda CX-5. BTW, after negotiating, I think you could get a 2018 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring under your budget.

The previous CX-5 before 2017 was loud and tinny. Car and Driver writes, "At highway speeds, Mazda's efforts to silence the CX-5 with a thicker windshield and additional sound insulation have paid dividends. In our test, the sound level at 70 mph dropped from the previous model's 69-decibel reading to a luxury-car-like 65 decibels. The redesigned interior also moves the CX-5 closer to the premium brands."

Motor Trend wrote, "The previous-generation CX-5 was great on a back road, too, but it was one of the loudest crossovers in the class on the freeway. The extra sound deadening Mazda worked into the 2017 CX-5 really pays off. At freeway speeds the cabin is quiet and serene... Good suspension damping filters out road imperfections and takes care of big bumps with ease."

The 2016 CX-5 had a problem with the windshield cracking easily. There isn't any information on the new 2017 CX-5 yet. The 2017 uses a new windshield, which helps with insulating out the road noise. I would think Mazda listened to their customers' complaints about the previous gen windshield. The windshield is not covered under warranty at least for my 2016 Prius, which is known for problems with the windshield chipping. Camera and sensor recalibration was free at the dealer, but the windshield was $560.

I'd take the 2017, not the older CX-5s because the new one is so much improved. The 2017 Forester has had complaints about the CVT transmission jerking.


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Response from agog

11:08 pm August 11, 2017

Subaru Forester:
- better resale value
- optional more powerful version
- default AWD which is considered pretyy good
- outward visibility

- looks inside/out, definitely subjective but to me there is no comparison
- ride is comfortable but driving is not as fun as Ford Escape or CX5
- I think Mazda's auto gearbox is better

- looks and style inside out
- better driving car, probably the best in the category
- auto transmission seems better
- slightly more premiumness

- lower resale
- no turbo engine yet, diesel turbo is coming soon
- had bad road/tire noise with slightly harsher ride but both seemed to have been addressed in the current one
- lack of android auto/apple carplay

I chose CX-5 in 2015 purely because of the way it felt I drove it and style. Newer CX5 has just improved and added some more premium features which I would have liked. To put it simply, if I think of trading my car in, after almost 3yrs now, in the same category, I don't see a better alternative than the new CX-5 given my preferences on drive feel and looks. The only other things which look interesting to me at this point is in one small size: Kia Niro and in a different category: Golf AllTrack.


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Response from NormT

9:20 am August 13, 2017

Edmund's residuals for 12/36,000:

CX-5 - .00051 MF and 60% residual
Forester - .00115 MF and 64% residual
Equinox - .00075 MF and 56% residual &
$1700 lease cash.

---> Forester appears to have a better residual but the $1,700 lease cash on the Chevy Equinox is worth 8% or effectively raising residual to 64%, while the Mazda has 60%.

2014 used under 40,000 miles
CX-5 - $16,500
Forester - $16,000
Equinox - $15,000

Considering lease cash for the Chevy and residuals it looks like a draw. So much for Japanese car residuals?

2016 up hilll snow test shows the Forester is not the king of the hill anymore even againist the CR-V. With any steering input the Subaru Symetrical does not send enough power to the rear wheels.

Go 5:30 minutes in:


Motor Trend handling and braking:

CX-5(2017) - 28.5 sec @ 0.58 g (avg), 126 ft from 60-0 mph
Forester -27.8 sec @ 0.60 g (avg), 122 ft from 60-0 mph
Equinox - 28.3 se @ 0.57 g (avg), 116 ft from 60-0 mph


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