CX-5 vs. Subaru CrossTrek vs. RAV4 vs Nissan Rogue

We're starting to look for a new car. Looking through ridiculous amounts of info about the cars mentioned in the title. Why is the CX-5 the best choice? (Or is it?) So far I've heard it ranks the best for reliability and safety - and that's a big deal. I hear the infotainment system and the cargo system sucks. Anything else to consider, and are any of the other cars as good/better?
 
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CX5 GT
There is lots of choice in that segment. Go and drive each one and decide which you prefer/like.

Mazda is not the only one in the world :) If you ask in each of the brands' forums you would get subjective opinions.
 
I have had many Subies, they are solid for sure but low on power and noisy. The older Nissan Rogues are junk but the new ones are getting great reviews. The RAV4 is one of the most popular cars in the country, I don't like the interior personally. There is also the Honda and the Tiguan to toss into the mix.

My opinion is that the whole bunch is SO close these days that it really comes down to personal preferences.
 
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2021 CX-9 Sig
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2014 CX-5 GT
As others have said, you need to check them out and see which one fits your needs. They all have their distinct personalities.
 
The only reason I didn't include the Honda is that we've had a few Hondas and just want to try something else. I had a Subaru Forester a while ago but it had head gasket problems and I'm not sure Subarus don't still have that problem. And I've heard VWs are expensive to repair, but I wonder if that's still true.
 
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17 CX-5
If you plan to own the car for a while, scratch the Subaru and Nissan due to long term CVT issues.

Drive the Rav4 and CX5 and decide between those. However my wife is a former Rav4 owner and she absolutely prefers our CX5.
 
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Pueblo county CO
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CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
Of the four I think they all use CVT transmissions except Mazda has the six speed.
 
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17 CX-5
Of the four I think they all use CVT transmissions except Mazda has the six speed.

With the Rav4, the transmissions offered vary by market. In the US, only the Hybrid has a CVT.

Outside of the US, there are other versions with a CVT though.
 
We're starting to look for a new car. Looking through ridiculous amounts of info about the cars mentioned in the title. Why is the CX-5 the best choice? (Or is it?) So far I've heard it ranks the best for reliability and safety - and that's a big deal. I hear the infotainment system and the cargo system sucks. Anything else to consider, and are any of the other cars as good/better?
Just purchased a 2021 Crosstrek limited. It offers almost every tech and safety feature available, must better value compared to the CX-5.
Insurance on this vehicle is very low do to all the safety features. Great value for under 30k.
 
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2021 CX-5T AWD CE
In the mainstream compact SUV class, there are about five cars that stand above the others out for various reasons: CX-5, RAV4, CRV, Tiguan, and Forester. Each has strengths and weaknesses.

The CX-5 is probably the best driver and if you spring for the turbo, is probably the fastest. It's got a interior that punches above its weight and the CX-5 has a very good reliability record, perhaps a little better than other Japanese SUVs. On the downside, it's infotainment system, while improved in 2021, is probably still a little behind, especially, if you are the type who really likes a touchscreen. Interior room is a bit tight and there aren't any killer features like a hybrid drivetrain or pano sunroof. Looks are subjective, but most think it is probably the best looking of the crowd.

The RAV4 is a solid SUV but is a little down on most of the competition EXCEPT that it is available in a bunch of specialized versions that may have something you really want - hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and more off-road-oriented adventure version. The hybrids use MUCH less gas and if you can get your hands on a Prime plug-in at reasonable cost (which is difficult since there are long waiting lists), you'll get a very fast SUV that can be driven all over town and on shorter commutes on plug-in power alone. But you'll need to bring $$$.

The CRV is a really good all-arounder, but not much of a driver's car. It's got great interior space, good gas mileage (especially in the hybrid version), and is super comfortable. But it's bland/numb and the CVT saps most of the fun out of the driving experience. A great choice for someone who likes the clean/straightforward interiors of Hondas, values gas mileage, never drives an SUV in a sporting way, and is Ok with a CVT.

The Tiguan is the Euro choice. It has a spacious and very clean interior with a definite Euro flair. It's big and handsome. It does everything reasonably well, but is probably the one the drives the most like an SUV a size class up (which can be good/bad depending on your POV). Slightly underpowered and overweight. It even includes a version with a 3rd row option. VW dealers discount heavily. Reliability will probably be the worst.... not a good choice if you intend to keep the car for years and years, but if you're leasing and will always have the car under warranty, reliability will likely be fine for as long as you own it.

Finally, the Forester gives you the most bang for the buck. Lots of great features and exceptional visibility with a nice tall greenhouse. It's let down by a CVT, a bland engine, and overall numb driving experience. And lately, Subarus have been having some reliability issues. But Consumer Reports rates it tops.

The Rogue has just been re-designed. It may be good (or even great), but I haven't seen a comprehensive review yet. But I'd stay away from the first year of any big redesign.

You can go wrong with any of these. But to summarize..... if you value the driving experience above all....CX5, if you want really outstanding gas mileage.....one of the RAV4 hybrids, want the most useful interior room....CRV, need a bigger SUV than a compact and need a third-row... VW, and looking for the most bang for your buck....Forester.

I haven't touched on safety, but IMO, finding safety differences in this class is mostly splitting hairs - they're all reasonably good.

- Mark
 
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Mazda3
Subaru's don't have head gasket or CVT in their newer vehicles. The powertrains are a little old so they've had plenty of time to fix those issues. The Crosstrek also has the smallest interior of the vehicles you mention. It's AWD system is fantastic and it is also fully AWD 100% of the time, where as the other use an on-demand type setup. Good gas mileage, has a unique look and is the lowest priced.

CX-5 is the best looking of the bunch both interior and exterior. Has a 6 speed transmission(albeit one that is 10 years old). Has the most power too. Downsides are it isn't very fuel efficient on gas, no touchscreen, has a cramped interior(compared to it's class) and dealership network isn't as big as the others.

I like the RAV4(Hybrid XSE). Likely very good reliability and resale value. Lots of different trims available. Hybrid option. The big downside for me with this vehicle is there is just too many of these things on the road.


Jury is still out on the new Rogue. If you're buying I would wait a while to see if any reliability issues come up.
 
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2021 CX-9 Sig
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2014 CX-5 GT
The one thing I will say is that the 2.5T engine is very versatile and I honestly would never choose a car with the 2.5 NA when the 2.5T is an option.

The 2.5T is very easy to milk for mileage. I averaged 24.4 MPG in a CX-9 as compared to 26.4 in a 2.5 NA CX-5. To me, that is nothing when the size of the vehicle is taken into consideration.

You can drive conservatively and get fantastic mileage but if you need to move, it will move you rapidly. I have generally always employed some simple techniques that improve overall mileage - don't accelerate to a red light, get up to speed fast and than hold it, keep speed in turns, etc. and these really work in Mazda's. And if you keep to the posted limited +5, the gas mileage will be fantastic. I was once really low on gas and wanted to get into the next state and in a 55 MPH zone, I did no more than 60 and my MPG was over 30 MPG.

It is not a hybrid but honestly, for a semi-powerful turbo, it is really pretty efficient.
 
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2019 CX-5 Sig
Yeah, the Crosstrek does not really belong in this list. OP should be cross shopping the Forester against the list of other vehicles, or OP should be looking at smaller vehicles for the non-Subaru brands like the Mazda CX-30.

I looked at the Forester before buying my CX-5. I will say that the eyesight on them is phenomenal. Although you had to move the wheel every 10 or 15 seconds, you could take your hands off while going around turns on the highway with lane centering turned on. Depending on your commute, you can arrive a lot more energized with the car doing the steering. The Rav4's lane centering was okay and Mazda's sucked. I went with the Mazda anyhow, because I loved the way it drove when I was in control.

I didn't bother looking at the Nissan or VW due to perceived reliability issues. Too many horror stories about the Nissan CVTs and VW in general.
 
Wow, lots of info! So what is the problem with a CVT transmission? And are any of these notably better or worse in terms of blind spots?
 
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17 CX-5
Wow, lots of info! So what is the problem with a CVT transmission?
They have a shorter lifespan than conventional automatic transmissions. On low horsepower applications, they're wonderful - but on cars for the US market, which tend to have larger displacement engines, not so much.
 
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2021 CX-9 Sig
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2014 CX-5 GT
Wow, lots of info! So what is the problem with a CVT transmission? And are any of these notably better or worse in terms of blind spots?

Some CVT transmissions can feel very strange. They have a tendency to rev high or rev low and are slow to shift. Varies by manufacturer but I personally do not like the feel.
 
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2019 CX-5 Sig
CVTs are an odd duck. Decades ago, they were banned from racing for giving too much of a performance advantage. Unfortunately, manufacturers aren't using them for performance reasons these days, it's all about getting more efficiency. Because they are added for efficiency, they are often not engineered with fun performance in mind.

In theory you should never feel a shift, but most companies have added fake shift points into them to give the feel that everyone expects. Even with the fake shift points, they still change ratios without shifting which gives a feel that some complain about.

CVTs can be made to last the life of a car. Some are not. I've heard a lot of bad things about Nissan's CVT, I'm not sure if that's relevant with the newest model. I haven't paid much attention to the reliability of other brands CVTs, but I'd be surprised if Toyotas didn't last for a very long time.

tl:dr; CVTs could be awesome, but often aren't.
 
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