June 25, 2014
Mazda CX-5 vs Nissan Rogue. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony
There is no question that the Mazda CX-5 is a favourite here at Autos.ca. Both a Top Pick and a big Comparison Test winner, the CX-5 lives up to our expectations time and time again.
When first released in 2012, it delivered captivating design, groundbreaking efficiency, class-competitive interior space and a driving quality rarely seen in this segment. However, the 2.0L SkyActiv engine at launch was positively anemic – a whole lot of sky, not a lot of activ (sic) – compared to even other four-cylinder competition, so it languished in our first comparison test and left us wanting. For 2014 models, Mazda added a beefier 2.5L SkyActiv that provided just enough motivation to keep up with the reputation for excellent dynamics that it quickly established.
However, the 2014 Nissan Rogue arrives in the segment this year offering many similar qualities: efficiency, ease of use, modern design and family friendly accommodations, trumping the CX-5 and most competitors (Mitsubishi Outlander excepted) with an optional third row for those that occasionally need to ferry extra kids or an in-law or two. However, we skipped that configuration in favour of the more common five-seat model in top-trim SL AWD trim with Premium Package so we could sample the full range of its technology and creature comforts.
Not to be outdone, the Mazda delivered the fully loaded GT AWD with the Technology Package.
Without further ado, let’s dive into these high-content compact crossovers that are both tearing up the sales charts.
Both of these crossovers creep well over the $30K mark as equipped, but both deliver luxurious levels of content and impressive levels of quality.
2014 Nissan Rogue SL AWD & 2014 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD. Click image to enlarge
The SL is the top tier in the Rogue lineup, and at $30,498 with a $1,630 PDI fee, it starts with such amenities as 18-inch wheels, intelligent key (proximity entry and push-button start), intuitive AWD (with torque-vectoring braking), fog lights and halogen headlights, but not projectors or HIDs. Inside, you are treated to heated leather seats (power six-way adjustment for the driver, four for the passenger), dual-zone auto climate, power panoramic sunroof, USB.
It doesn’t stop there, adding the $2,600 Premium Package piles on nav with live traffic and Around View Monitor displayed on seven-inch touchscreen, Bose nine-speaker audio system, blind-spot monitoring and power liftgate. Nissan Canada also ordered the $120 carpeted floor mats for a grand total of $34,848 as tested.
The CX-5 already tops that factoring in only the GT AWD $33,250 base and $1,895 PDI. The features list in GT trim is déjà vu all over again: intelligent key system with push-button start, power moonroof (though not panoramic), fog lights, leather seating and trim, dual-zone automatic climate control and blind spot monitoring, but tops the Nissan with Bose audio system with nine speakers, rain-sensing wipers and 19-inch alloy wheels. Even if the CX-5 can’t match the Nissan’s 360-degree view or offer any sort of power tailgate, it does include the back-up camera and blind-spot warning from GS trim on up, and the power seats have eight directions of adjustability.
2014 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD & 2014 Nissan Rogue SL AWD driver’s seats. Click image to enlarge
Mazda’s $1,795 Technology Package matches the Rogue’s nav system and satellite radio, and also offers a couple of standout features in the adaptive bi-xenon headlights and Smart City Brake Support, an automatic pre-collision braking system. As tested, the CX-5 came to $36,940, topping the Rogue by a couple thousand, with some give or take on the feature side.
The CX-5 headlights are undoubtedly superior, and the cream coloured seats and slightly higher level of materials quality favour the CX-5 (it really is a nice cabin), but my parking issues (I’m really terrible) have me leaning toward the Rogue and its Around View Monitor and a nifty cargo system I’ll get into later for the features I’d prefer, shading me ever so slightly to the Rogue with its price advantage.