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Mazda CX-5 Vs. Subaru Forester: Specs, Dimensions, Features & More

Mazda CX-5 Vs. Subaru Forester

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Let’s take a closer look at the Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester debate. Learn more about the performance, features, and dimensions that each vehicle has to offer and how they compare against each other. We then invite you to Gunther Mazda to experience the 2024 Mazda CX-5 firsthand with a test drive.

Overview: 2024 Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester

MAZDA CX-5 2.5 S SELECT Subaru Forester Base
Engine 2.5L 4-Cylinder 2.5L 4-Cylinder
Horsepower 187 182
Torque 185 lb-ft 176 lb-ft
Drivetrain i-ACTIV AWD® Symmetrical AWD
Towing Capacity 2,000 lbs1 1,500 lbs3
EPA-Est. MPG (City/Hwy) 26/312 26/334
Seating Capacity 5 5
Cargo Space 30 cu ft 28.9 cu ft

Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester Specs

Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester Specs

The 2024 Mazda CX-5 is an SUV with ample power. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 187 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. The available 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine increases horsepower to 227 and torque to 310 pound-feet with 87-octane unleaded fuel. Premium fuel can achieve even more impressive numbers.

Every available selection in the Mazda CX-5 lineup comes standard with i-Activ AWD®, granting you refined handling and control.

While the 2024 Subaru Forester also has a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, it struggles to keep up with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. Like the Mazda CX-5, the Forester comes standard with AWD. There is no engine upgrade available for the Subaru Forester, however, meaning the Mazda CX-5 packs more punch.

The Mazda CX-5 renders up to an EPA-estimated 26/31 MPG (City/Highway),2 while the Subaru Forester delivers up to an EPA-estimated 26/33 MPG (City/Highway).4 The negligible difference between these figures, paired with the horsepower and torque numbers, shows that the Mazda CX-5 is a higher-performance model than the Subaru Forester.

Furthermore, the Mazda CX-5 towing capacity reaches a maximum of 2,000 pounds.1 The Subaru Forester can only tow a maximum of 1,500 pounds3 in its standard configuration.

Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester Dimension

Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester Dimensions

The 2024 Mazda CX-5 is 180.1 inches long, 83.3 inches wide with side mirrors, and up to 65.6 inches tall without roof rails. These dimensions help the Mazda CX-5 provide 39.7 inches of headroom without a moonroof, 57.1 inches of shoulder room, and 41 inches of legroom in the front row.

Looking at the Subaru Forester, the SUV checks in at 182.7 inches in length, 71.5 inches in width (72.2 inches in the Wilderness trim), and 67.5 inches in height without roof rails. Inside, there is up to 41.2 inches of headroom, 58.1 inches of shoulder room, and 43.3 inches of legroom in the front row. The Subaru Forester vs. Mazda CX-5 debate regarding size reveals the Forester is ever-so-slightly longer and taller than the Mazda model, with moderately larger interior dimensions.

Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester Interior

Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester Interior

Seating for five is standard in the 2024 Mazda CX-5 and 2024 Subaru Forester. Each vehicle also has foldable rear seats to increase storage capacity. Behind the second row in the Mazda CX-5, there is 30 cubic feet of storage space. This figure jumps to a spacious 59.3 cubic feet when the rear seats and floorboard are folded down.

The Subaru Forester has less cargo space than the Mazda CX-5 with the rear seats upright but more available cargo capacity with them folded. Learn more about the Mazda CX-5 cargo space and how to configure your vehicle to maximize available room.

The interior of the 2024 Mazda CX-5 offers increased refinement thanks to the standard six-way power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and leatherette-trimmed seats.

In comparison, the Subaru Forester comes standard with a six-way manually adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, and automatic climate control. You have to upgrade trims to receive heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Another feature the Subaru Forester lacks as standard? Push-button start, which is standard in the Mazda CX-5.

Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester Technology

Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester Technology

A 10.25-inch center display is standard in the Mazda CX-5, along with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay® integration for seamless connectivity. The Mazda CX-5 2.5 S Select and 2.5 S Preferred have a six-speaker sound system, which then gets upgraded to a Bose® 10-speaker surround sound system with Centerpoint® and AudioPilot®.

The Subaru Forester comes standard with a smaller 6.5-inch multimedia center display. It increases in size in top trims, but only to 8 inches. Furthermore, the Forester features a four-speaker audio system as standard, with higher trims offering six or nine speakers. As we can see, the Subaru Forester fails to offer infotainment technology as advanced as the Mazda CX-5.

The 2024 Mazda CX-5 comes with a medley of standard safety features that the Subaru Forester cannot hold a candle to. For example, it equips you with Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane-Keep Assist, and Advanced Smart City Brake Support with Pedestrian Detection as standard. The Subaru Forester only features Blind-Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert in higher trims.

Both the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester feature driver-attention systems in their top trims: the Driver Attention Alert and DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System, respectively. As we continue to compare the Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester features for safety, the Mazda CX-5 provides more by way of Traffic Jam Assist, a 360-Degree View Monitor, and Front and Rear Parking Sensors – features not available in the Forester.

In more ways than one, the 2024 Mazda CX-5 comes out ahead when pitted against the 2024 Subaru Forester. Learn more about the Mazda CX-5 configurations, performance, dimensions, and features at Gunther Mazda today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Mazda CX-5 bigger than the Subaru Forester?

The Subaru Forester is slightly larger than the Mazda CX-5 in most exterior dimensions. The Mazda CX-5 is 180.1 inches long and up to 65.6 inches tall without roof rails. The Forester measures 182.7 inches in length and 67.5 inches in height without roof rails. The Mazda CX-5 is wider at 83.3 inches vs. 71.5-72.2 inches with side mirrors.

Which has more standard features: the Mazda CX-5 or the Subaru Forester?

The Mazda CX-5 is equipped with more standard features than the Subaru Forester. For example, the Mazda SUV offers heated front seats, four USB ports, push-button start, and Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, all as standard. The Subaru Forester only offers these features in higher trims. Talk to one of our Mazda sales representatives today to learn more.

Which is better: the Mazda CX-5 or the Subaru Forester?

While this can be more of a preference question, at face value, the Mazda CX-5 appears to be the better vehicle. It provides more power and standard towing capacity, more advanced technology, and a larger center display. If you’re debating between these two vehicles, the Mazda CX-5 arguably has more to offer than the Forester. See how else the Mazda CX-5 vs. Subaru Forester compare today.


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1Towing capacities shown are maximums and must be reduced by the weight of any passenger, cargo hitch or optional equipment in the towing vehicle. Please refer to vehicle Owner’s Manual for details regarding towing capacities and other valuable information. Towing a trailer will have an effect on the vehicle’s handling, braking, durability, performance and driving economy. For specific information on recommended or required equipment, see your Mazda Dealer. Hitches are available through manufacturers other than Mazda.

2EPA-estimated mileage. Actual results will vary.

3Maximum towing capacity varies by trim level. Trailer brakes may be needed. See your retailer for details.

4EPA fuel economy estimates. Actual mileage will vary with driving conditions and your vehicle’s condition.


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