We drove a $32,000 Subaru Forester and a $35,000 Mazda CX-5 to see which one is the better compact SUV. Here's the verdict

Subaru Forester 2019

  • The Subaru Forester and Mazda CX-5 are two of the most the capable crossover SUVs in the US. 
  • The Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, and Nissan Rogue lead the sales chart, but the CX-5 and Forester remain two highly popular alternatives.
  • The 2018 Mazda CX-5 starts at $24,150, while the top-spec all-wheel-drive Grand Touring model starts at $30,945.
  • The base 2019 Subaru Forester starts at $24,295, while the top-of-the-line Touring starts at $34,295. Our mid-grade Sport trim test car starts at $28,795.
  • The Forester’s good infotainment system, standard all-wheel-drive, and an impressive suite of standard safety tech won out over the CX-5’s stylish design and strong driving dynamics.

Compact crossovers are the hottest thing going these days. According to data compiled by Kelley Blue Book, compact crossovers and SUVs account for roughly one in every five cars sold this year. 

The Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Nissan Rogue lead the way in sales and account for more than 35% of the segment. Over the first 11 months of 2018, the trio accounted for roughly one million cars sold just in the US. 

Not far behind is the second tier of contenders led by industry heavyweights likes the Subaru Forester and Mazda CX-5.

Read more: We drove a $40,000 Jeep Cherokee SUV to see if the American icon is still one of the best in the business — here’s the verdict.

The second-generation Mazda CX-5 debuted for the 2017 model year and has been popular with both critics and customers. In fact, CX-5 sales through November are up more than 20% over 2017.

Subaru is back with a new fifth-generation Forester for the 2019 model year. During its first full month on the market in October, the 2019 model pushed Forester sales up 19% over the previous year.

This year, Business Insider had the chance to experience a 2018 Mazda CX-5 in top-spec Grand Touring trim and a 2019 Subaru Forester in mid-grade Sport trim. 

Recently, the 2018 Mazda CX-5 beat out the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan in a comparison. But how will the Mazda stack up against the Subaru Forester? 

Let’s take a closer look.

SEE ALSO: The glorious history of the Ford F-Series truck, America’s best selling vehicle for 36 years

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First up is the Mazda CX-5.

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 comes in three flavors: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring.

The base front-wheel-drive CX-5 Sport starts at $24,150, while the mid-grade Touring model starts at $26,215. The top-of-the-line Grand Touring starts at $29,645. All-wheel-drive is available on all three trim levels as a $1,300 option.

Our 2018 Mazda CX-5 Grand Tour AWD started at $30,945. With options and fees, our CX-5 carried an as-tested-price of $34,685.

For 2019, Mazda will add Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims levels to the top end of the CX-5 lineup. 

The CX-5 features Mazda’s signature Kodo design language, which aims to deliver a timelessly elegant look while conveying the spirit of Japanese craftsmanship. The result is a CX-5 that is both striking and memorable without being over the top.

The rounded rear end is decidedly in contrast to the angular headlights and front grille.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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