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2021 Ford Escape vs 2021 Mazda CX-5

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  • 2021 Ford Escape

    A grey 2021 Ford Escape is angled left.

    Starting at

    $26,130 est

    2021 Mazda CX-5

    A black 2021 Mazda CX-5 is angled right.

    Starting at


    YesAvailable Hybrid EngineNo
    12 Digital Cluster Size (in)7 LCD
    37.4 / 65.4Cargo Volume (cu.ft.)30.9 / 59.6

    If you are interested in an SUV, but you are worried that a full-size or even a midsize model might be a bit much for your lifestyle, then a compact crossover is a fantastic choice. Narrowing down your options when looking for a compact, however, can be pretty tricky since you have so many different vehicles to choose from. Looking at just two at a time, like comparing the 2021 Ford Escape vs 2021 Mazda CX-5, can help you refine your search and get a good sense of what is out there. After a little bit of looking, you will find pretty quickly that the Ford model has a lot more to offer.

    For one thing, you get more engines to choose from with the 2021 Ford Escape compared to the Mazda CX-5. Perhaps more importantly, if you are interested in a hybrid engine, then the Escape offers an excellent choice, while the Mazda has no hybrid option at all. Even with conventional engines, the Escape is a superior choice. And if you are concerned about fuel economy, which is understandable, then the engines of the Mazda CX-5 cannot hope to compete with the incredible performance of Ford’s hybrid model.

    Beyond the engines, the Ford Escape has much more to offer inside compared to the 2021 Mazda CX-5. The Escape has more interior cargo space, significantly more in some cases, and a number of luxury features and options that really set it ahead. There is a much larger available digital driver display, a more adjustable and comfortable driver’s seat, and a number of other features that simply put the Ford Escape ahead of the pack.

  • Engines

    A blue 2021 Ford Escape is shown from behind in a park after winning the 2021 Ford Escape vs 2021 Mazda CX-5 comparison.The engine is vitally important in any vehicle you look at. It does not matter if you are interested in a powerful sports car, a hard-working truck, or a compact crossover SUV for your family. You want an engine that makes driving enjoyable, can get you where you need to go, and will be reliable for many years to come.

    The Two Engines of the CX-5

    The 2021 Mazda CX-5 has only two engines to choose from, and the engine depends entirely on the trim level. Most trims feature the starting engine: a SKYACTIV-G 2.5L DOHC 4-cylinder engine that offers up to 187 hp, 186 lb-ft of torque, and comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission. For better performance, one of the highest trims is required, which comes with a Turbo boosted version of the same engine, allowing it to deliver up to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque with 87 octane fuel, but it comes with the same transmission.

    The Three Engines of the Escape

    By comparison, not only does the 2021 Ford Escape give you more engines to choose from, but more freedom in how to get them. The standard trim comes with a 1.5L EcoBoost I-3 engine that offers up to 181 hp, up to 190 lb-ft of torque, and comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission. You can see this is a comparable performance with a nicer transmission that offers a smoother driving experience. Then there is an available 2.0L EcoBoost I-4 engine that delivers up to 250 hp and up to 280 lb-ft of torque, with an 8-speed automatic transmission and paddle shifters on the steering wheel. While this is slightly less torque than the available engine in the Mazda, it is quite a bit more horsepower, superior transmission, and it is available on more trims.

    Of course, what really sets the 2021 Ford Escape apart is the available 2.5L I-4 Hybrid engine, which has up to 200 hp from the total system. This engine offers an incredibly smooth driving experience that is not only a lot of fun but has tremendous fuel efficiency. Plus, for the 2021 model, more trims have the hybrid engine available than ever before, so you have a lot of freedom when choosing the right combination of features and the engine you want.

  • Fuel Economy

    A close up is shown of the steering wheel and gauge cluster on a 2021 Ford Escape.We know that one of the biggest concerns a lot of people have when shopping for an SUV is fuel efficiency and the long-term costs of owning such a vehicle. Choosing a compact crossover model is a great way to get excellent fuel economy and save money at the fuel pump. Of course, a hybrid engine will really optimize this for you, so the 2021 Ford Escape is going to be the clear winner here.

    CX-5 Fuel Economy

    Nevertheless, let us take a look at the fuel efficiency you can get with the 2021 Mazda CX-5. With its standard engine, the Mazda model gets an estimated 25 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway with front-wheel drive, but those numbers go down slightly when looking at all-wheel drive models. The more powerful engine, which only comes with all-wheel drive, gets an estimated 22 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway.

    Escape Fuel Economy

    By comparison, the standard engine for the 2021 Ford Escape gets an estimated 27 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway with front-wheel drive. So even with conventional engines, the Escape offers superior fuel economy. Similarly, the more powerful engine from Ford, which features all-wheel drive, gets an estimated 23 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. Finally, for unparalleled fuel efficiency, the hybrid engine can get an estimated 44 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway.

  • Space

    A close up is shown of the open trunk on a red 2021 Ford Escape.One of the best reasons to choose an SUV is for the impressive interior cargo space it can offer. This makes it easy to have your friends and family pile into your vehicle and still have room for bags, luggage, and anything else you need to bring with you. Even with a compact model like these two, you still want to choose the one that will give you plenty of room.

    Carry Your Cargo in the CX-5

    The 2021 Mazda CX-5 offers pretty decent interior space, but just not as much as the Escape. There is about 30 cu.ft. of space behind the rear seats and about 59 cu.ft. of cargo volume behind the front seats with the rear seats down. The CX-5 offers about 39 inches of headroom in the front and rear seats, with 41 inches of front legroom and about 39 inches in the second row. While that is a decent amount of space, the Escape simply has more room.

    Stretch Out in the Escape

    By comparison, the 2021 Ford Escape gives you more cargo area and slightly more space for your passengers. While interior space can vary depending on if you have a standard or hybrid model, you can get more than 37 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the second row of seats, while you can get more than 65 cu.ft. of total cargo volume in the Escape with the rear seats down. You get 40 inches of front headroom and more than 39 inches of rear headroom, with more than 42 inches of front legroom available and about 40 inches of rear legroom.

  • Technology and Comfort

    A close up is shown of the climate controls on a 2021 Ford Escape.Any vehicle you look at these days should have impressive technology and comfort features. While what you get will depend on the trim level you look at, you should have impressive options available to you, so you can get just what you need. Though the Mazda CX-5 has some good stuff, it just cannot keep up with what Ford offers.

    Ford Escape Features

    The 2021 Ford Escape features available leather-trimmed front bucket seats with a 10-way power adjustable driver seat and front row heat. It has available dual-zone automatic temperature control, along with numerous USB and power outlets to use. There is an available head-up display, along with an available 8-inch infotainment display on the center console and an available 12-inch full digital driver instrument panel. Combine this with an available 10-speaker B&O sound system, and you have an amazing driving experience.

    Mazda CX-5 Features

    Mazda offers available leather-trimmed seating as well, though there is only an 8-way power driver’s seat offered. Dual-zone automatic climate control is available, with USB and power outlets too. An available windshield-projected active driving display is nice, though not quite as impressive as Ford’s head-up display. While a 10-inch infotainment display is available from Mazda, even the highest trim features only a 7-inch LCD meter display for the driver. The available Bose sound system is nice, but overall the Mazda CX-5 simply cannot compete with what the 2021 Ford Escape has to offer.

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