VIDEO: Mazda CX-5 vs BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

News, Videos | March 16th, 2017 by 14
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Mazda has always been an impressive, sporty brand that offers really fun cars for a very affordable price. Personally, I’ve always been a big fan …

Mazda has always been an impressive, sporty brand that offers really fun cars for a very affordable price. Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of Mazda and think its cars are great fun. Car and Driver, in fact, recently claimed that Mazda was the only brand on the market that they’d recommend every car in its lineup. However, what Mazda isn’t, is premium. But don’t tell that to Mazda, as the Japanese brand recently launched a press event for journalists to drive the new CX-5 crossover back-to-back with the BMW X1, Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and the Lexus NX.

In this new video from The Fast Lane Car, we get to see this back-to-back drive between the new CX-5 and the aforementioned premium crossovers. We even get to see an interview with Dave Coleman, the Vehicle Dynamics Manager for Mazda.

Coleman talks a lot about how Mazda has been studying humans as much as cars, trying to figure out what feels natural and intuitive. This has always been the Mazda way, to make its cars give the right kind of feedback and emotion, rather than just providing good numbers on a spec sheet. For instance, Coleman references the Mercedes’ poor throttle response, the Audi’s lack of steering feel and the BMW’s odd steering wheel position. Mazda claims it actually provides a more intuitive and sharper driving response than any of the premium vehicles.

2016 BMW X1 South Africa 193 750x500

Obviously, the CX-5 is slower than these cars, using a naturally-aspirated 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine, and it isn’t as luxurious. However, it is impressive and seems far better than any other car in its class, such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. But we’re not really sure it can compete with its more premium rivals.

Roman from TFLC does notice the weird throttle response of the Mercedes and a slight bit of turbo lag from the Bimmer but other than that, he doesn’t really seem convinced that any of the premium cars feel worse than the Mazda. He also points out that no customer is going to cross-shop these vehicles because they’re also buying a premium brand along with the premium car and Mazda simply can’t compete with that. While that wasn’t the point of Mazda’s exercise, as we know no one will cross-shop them, the point was to show that the new CX-5 punches above its weight class. That much we can agree on.

14 responses to “VIDEO: Mazda CX-5 vs BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class”

  1. seancorr says:

    Lol I was actually looking between a brand new CX5 and a 2 year old X1 to see which has more value.

  2. auton0my says:

    “we know no one will cross-shop them”

    That’s where you’ll be wrong. Wife & I cross-shopped the GLA/X1/CX5 in 2015. The GLA was too squished so we didn’t drive it. The CX5 was a little bigger than wife wanted (though that interior space would have been nice). The X1 drove very well and that’s what we got. Both very happy with it (though jury is still out about long-term reliability and costs).

    Our 2015 is pretty spartan inside – BMW gets you on the options. I drove a fully loaded 2017 loaner for 2 days and could not wait to get back to our E84 RWD-based X1. The F48 X1 is roomier and luxurious, sporty and powerful… but it just isn’t as ‘fun’ or as much ‘car’ as the old one. Felt like I wasn’t driving, I was ‘operating’ it… and also it kind of felt like driving a much bigger car. Wife did not like it either. So I’m still very much interested in the CX5, especially considering the more powerful engines they’re putting in now, standard tech upgrades, and options like heated steering wheel – at a lower short- and long-term cost.

    So there you have it, 2 people who cross-shopped the two.

    • I’m surprised at the amount of people cross-shopping these two cars. To be honest, most BMW buyers would laugh at the idea of buying a Mazda (wrongly in my opinion, Mazda does make great cars). But I’m glad to see there are some that have an open mind about car brands, rather than just caring about status.

  3. Arunabh says:

    One thing that I always liked about Mazda is that they always stuck to its core ethos when it’s about driving pleasure.

    Almost all other brands have kept swinging from one end of spectrum to another in this regard.

  4. car says:

    Modern Mazda is just turbo power away from premium.

  5. Robbie Bruce says:

    The no one will cross-shop them comment was surprising to me too, as I’m currently doing just that between an X1 and CX5.

    • darex says:

      No F60 MINI Countryman love? It’s supposed to be more fun to drive than the F48
      X1

      • Robbie Bruce says:

        To be honest, i hadn’t even considered it. But I just went and looked at it. Very nice. Problem is, i’m not sure any of these will work for me. I need enough room to haul surfboards, and none of these may have quite enough room. Was looking for something with handling and a nice ride, but it’s looking like a 4Runner may be my best bet. Thx for the heads up.

  6. altair says:

    If the F48 X1 was out a couple of years earlier, we’d be driving a CX-5. But thank heavens, the e84 with its wonderful BMW dynamics and soulful character ultimately won us over. Mazda’s CX5 is that good. It does lack a bit of power, however as a cross-over, it is very competent and nicely appointed. Now having sampled the generic feeling of the F48, we would have a hard time picking F48 X1 over an equally good CX5. I think the self-secured and intelligent folks will cross shop the CX5 GT with the German marques.

    The CX-5 mkII looks to be another winner. Mazda still makes fun vehicles for the masses.

  7. Radiofreak1 says:

    Disagree with the cross shopping comment.
    I own a 2015 M3 and was looking at everything from Audi, BMW, Lexus, Acura on both compact and mid size levels before finally getting a 17 Mazda CX-5 as a daily driver and family car. The base entry levels ‘lux’ models are spartan and unimpressive yet 10k on average more…the true ‘luxury’ ignoring the badge itself only really manifests itself at twice the price of the CX-5. I didn’t think it was worth it and plus the wife nixed midsize cars as too big in anycase. Very happy with the CX-5. As good or better a drive than one can expect. Am not bored although more power would be appreciated. Of course it’s not a Porsche Macan and one can’t expect it to be. Almost as good looking though! Every one says the changes are subtle but I think there’s a huge difference from the 16 model inside especially and out. I would not have gone for the 16. I enjoy my M3 a heck of a lot more as well.
    Another neg is slow response time for the infotainment to load up and weak sound system. People who know and enjoy cars and want value should definitely look at this even if they can afford the more expensive options. If money is no object and all you care about is keeping up with the Jones’s get a Range Rover and get off this blog!

  8. Nhiocca says:

    So, I am also someone cross-shopping between a brand new 2017 BMW X1 and a brand new 2017 Mazda CX5. I’m reading multiple articles on both and, even after driving both, I’m very very indecised! It’s true that the 2.2 CX5 is faster and with more leg room than the 1.6 X1 (for comparable prices with the “same” tech), but for an everyday use, I really don’t feel that much of a difference. Any idea how to choose?

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