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  5. 2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

John Coyle | Jun 15, 2019

In this corner, we have the 2019 Mazda CX-5. The CX-5 has been praised for its sharp handling, and for 2019, there's a new turbocharged engine available.  

Next, we have the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe. The two-row version of the popular crossover has been fully redesigned for 2019, and also has optional turbo power.

Both the Mazda and Hyundai are strong competitors in a red-hot segment, so let's take a look at the engines, cabins, infotainment, and price to determine a winner.


First, let’s look at the powertrains. The Mazda CX-5 comes standard with a 2.5-liter 187-horsepower four-cylinder, but the big news is the addition of a turbo option, which bumps power to 250 horsepower on premium gas, and 227 on regular. The base engine delivers an EPA-rated 25 miles-per-gallon city, and 31 highway, while the turbo comes in at 23 miles-per-gallon city and 28 highway. Both front-wheel and all-wheel drive are available, and every CX-5 uses a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Santa Fe also comes standard with a four-cylinder. In base spec, it’s good for 185 horsepower, but the addition of a turbo boosts power to 235 horsepower. Unlike the Mazda, the Santa Fe also offers a V6, which pumps out 290 horsepower. At 22 miles-per-gallon city, and 29 highway, the standard motor gets the best fuel economy, which drops to 20 city, and 25 highway for the turbo, and 18 city, 25 highway for the V6. Both versions of the four-cylinder are mated to an eight-speed automatic, and the V6 comes with a six-speed.

While we like that Hyundai offers a V6 option, we think the Mazda’s new turbocharged engine offers the best combination of power and economy, so we’re going to give the win to the Mazda here.

Shop Mazda CX-5 Inventory

Cabin Interior

Now, let’s look inside the cabin. In recent years, Mazda has focused on giving its cabins a premium feel, and the results are evident when exploring the interior of the CX-5. A leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard, and the sleek lines of the exterior are reflected inside. We particularly like the look of the angled dash vents, and all the materials, even on base models, feels high. The design is clean and driver focused, and contributes to a driver-focused environment that complements the chassis agility. Behind the rear seats, you’ll find 30 cubic-feet of cargo space, and with them folded, the CX-5 will handle 59 cubic-feet of cargo.

In recent years, Hyundai has also made great strides with its interiors, and we liked the clean, ergonomic layout of the Sante Fe’s cabin. There are loads of high-quality, soft touch materials, which contribute to a luxury feel that stands out, particularly at this price point. We were also struck by how roomy the Santa Fe felt, as even the rear seats will be comfortable for adults. That roomy feeling also translates to cargo space, as there’s 35.9 cubic-feet of cargo behind the read seats, and when you fold them, there’s 71.3 cubic-feet available.

While we love the cockpit-like feel of the Mazda, but we think the more spacious cabin and superior cargo capacity make the Hyundai the winner here.

Shop Hyundai Santa Fe Inventory

Infotainment System

In the minds of buyers, infotainment tech is more important than ever, and both the Mazda and Hyundai are competitive in their class. While it’s not standard equipment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available for the CX-5, which comes with a seven-inch touch screen, HD Radio, Bluetooth compatibility, two USB ports, and a four-speaker stereo system. One thing buyers should note is that the touchscreen won’t function while the vehicle is in motion, so you’ll have to use the rotary dial between the seats while driving.

In comparison, the base Hyundai doesn’t feature a touchscreen, but its intuitive layout of physical controls makes it easy to make selections. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity come standard, but those looking for a proper touchscreen will want to upgrade to the Ultimate trim, which has an eight-inch display that features navigation, along with a 12-speaker Infinity audio system.

Since both the Mazda and Hyundai offer lots of functionality, and both have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as optional equipment, we’re going to call this a draw.

Shop Mazda CX-5 Inventory


From a safety standpoint, both the Mazda and Hyuandi are solid choices. Each was named a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and both earned a five-star overall crash rating.

That said, the Hyuandi comes standard with a long list of high-tech safety features, including forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and rear cross traffic alert, some of which are optional extras on the Mazda.

So while both score well for safety, we think the more robust list of standard safety equipment makes the Hyundai the winner here.

Shop Hyundai Santa Fe Inventory

Value and Price

Now, it’s time to talk price. In the base sport trim, the CX-5 starts at $24,350, but if you’re looking for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you’ll want to jump up to the Touring trim. At $26,615, it also includes creature comforts like leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and additional safety tech like lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. While buyers can opt for features like a premium sound system or moonroof on lower trims, to get the new turbo engine, you’ll need to step up to Grand Touring Reserve trim, which includes all-wheel drive, and starts at $34,870.

In comparison, the Hyundai Santa Fe starts at $25,000, and comes with the base four-cylinder, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All-wheel drive is available across all trim levels as a $1700 option. If you’re looking for the turbocharged engine, you’ll need to upgrade to the Limited trim, which sports leather seats and a panoramic sunroof, along with the more potent engine. Moving up to the Ultimate trim with the 2.0-liter turbo will cost you $36,600, and in addition to all the Limited’s creature comforts, it also features the eight-inch touchscreen with navigation. The top-spec Limited Ultimate trim comes in at $39,550, and comes with virtually every option you can get on the Santa Fe.

When exploring the various trims for the Mazda and Hyundai, we think it’s close enough to call it a draw. If you’re careful about which packages and options you want to spring for, you can get a well-equipped version of either for a very reasonable price.

Shop Mazda CX-5 Inventory
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Overall, this is a very tough choice, and we particularly like the Hyundai's superior storage, and impressive list of safety features. But at the end of the day, the Mazda's impressive handling, gorgeous styling,  and great new turbo engine put it just ahead of the Santa Fe.     

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