The compact crossover market is targeted to families that need more room than a sedan can provide but do not have the budget for a full-size SUV or minivan with all the extras. But that doesn't mean these smaller SUVs are short on features, as both the 2016 Kia Sportage and the 2016 Mazda CX-5 show.
These exciting new models provide affordable options for families or even single professionals. They are stylish, sporty, and savvy. Yet they have their own strengths and weaknesses, so a good comparison is necessary to find the right model for your needs. Here's what you need to know about how the 2016 Kia Sportage and the 2016 Mazda CX-5 compare:
You will notice the difference between the new Sportage and the new CX-5 the moment you look at them. The Kia Sportage is a much larger SUV, while the CX-5 almost looks like a supersized version of a station wagon.
The Sportage is two inches wider than the CX-5, nearly an inch taller, and nearly nine inches longer. The wheelbase is also nearly three inches wider. That translates to a more impressive exterior profile, as well as more interior room for passengers, including leg and head room.
The 2016 Kia Sportage looks like a more stylish version of a traditional SUV. It has a beefy profile with aerodynamic details. A sloping line sweeps back from the start of the fascia to the roof and ending at the rear gate. The grille turns up to meet the headlines, which sweep back like they are meeting the windshield.
The overall effect is one of forward motion.
Meanwhile, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 has a more sculpted look on a smaller body. The sculpting makes the CX-5 look even smaller since the lines break up the panels, yet it is a stylistic choice that many will embrace.
Swooping lines start from the top of the hood and dip under the side mirrors then run down the side panels. The back end slopes down to a shorter hatch, giving the crossover a tighter and more compact look.
The interior is unimpressive, providing a basic center stack with all the knobs and buttons you would need for temperature and audio control. An infotainment system is present, but the small screen is hooded by the dash, making it appear even smaller.
The interior of the Kia Sportage is much more stylish, with a more streamline center stack and an infotainment system that is front and center for easy viewing and accessibility. Both vehicles seat five, but passengers will be more comfortable in the Sportage, which offers more room all around.
Both the Sportage and the CX-5 provide deft handling and sporty performance. The 2016 Kia Sportage comes with a 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine that puts out 182 horse power and 177 pounds per feet of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
For a bit more power, buyers can opt for the turbocharged engine on the SX trim that puts out 260 horse power.
The base model Sportage gets an estimated 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The 2016 Mazda CX-5 comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 155 horse power and 150 pounds per feet of torque, which is much lower than the Sportage.
The engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission, which some drivers may find hard to navigate.
For more power, the CX-5 offers a 2.5-liter engine that puts out 184 horse power and 185 pounds per feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is available with that engine.
The base model CX-5 gets an estimated 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The fuel efficiency on the CX-5 is better, but the trade off is that you don't get as much power under the hood. The CX-5 is also smaller overall, which improves fuel efficiency.
We're still learning about all the features that will be included on the Sportage and the CX-5, but what we know so far makes both models attractive for a wide audience.
The 2016 Kia Sportage will come with interior features like adjustable seating, a split, folding rear seat, rear ventilation ducts, reclining rear seats, electric power steering and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel.
The premium audio system includes six speakers, auxiliary jacks for streaming audio, USB connections for streaming and charging personal devices, and satellite radio. Bluetooth connectivity is also available for hands-free calling and audio streaming.
Safety features include anti-lock brakes, emergency braking assist, stability and traction control, tile pressure monitoring, and more.
Optional features include leather seating, a cooled glove box, cross bars, a tow hitch, side steps, mud guards, puddle lights, a cargo net and tray, cargo cover, and remote start.
Interior features on the 2016 Mazda CX-5 include heated front seats, leather upholstery, adjustable seating, rear ventilation ducts, hands-free entry, electric power steering, air filtration, and dual-zone climate control. There is a Bose sound system with nine speakers, satellite radio, auxiliary output and USB ports.
Safety features include a rearview camera, anti-lock brakes, emergency braking assist, stability and traction control, a post-collision safety system, tire pressure monitoring and rear parking sensors.
Optional features for the CX-5 include roof racks, a trailer hitch receiver, rear bumper guard, bumper protection, cargo net and tray, cargo cover, all-weather floor mats, and mobile start.
The Sportage and the CX-5 are closely priced. The 2016 Kia Sportage starts at $22,150, while the 2016 Mazda CX-5 starts at $21,795. The difference in price is negligible, but the difference in value is great.
The 2016 models should start arriving at dealerships soon, and we encourage buyers to see these models for themselves to take a test drive. So much of the purchasing process is subjective. While some may like the additional features of the CX-5, others may prefer the additional size and power that the Sportage offers. Visit Miami Lakes Auto Mall to make the decision for yourself.