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2016 Hyundai Tucson vs. 2016 Mazda CX-5: Which Is Better?

Editor’s note: You may want to read more of Autotrader’s model vs. model comparison car reviews as well as the 2016 Hyundai Tucson review and the 2016 Mazda CX-5 review.

 

If you’re looking for a compact crossover, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson and the 2016 Mazda CX-5 should be on your shopping list. Both models offer reasonable pricing, lots of equipment and impressive safety features that help them stand out from the competition. But which one is better? And which one should you get? We’ve created a close comparison to help you find out. But first, let’s see what’s new with the Tucson and the CX-5 for the 2016 model year.

2016 Hyundai Tucson

2016 Hyundai Tucson Changes

The Tucson is fully redesigned for 2016. In addition to a totally new look inside and out, the Tucson touts upgraded engines, a lot more high-tech gadgets and additional safety features compared to its predecessor. See all 2016 Hyundai Tucson models available near you

2016 Mazda CX-5

2016 Mazda CX-5 Changes

The CX-5 gets a facelift for 2016. While changes don’t go as far as updates to the Tucson, the CX-5 offers a revised infotainment system, some styling tweaks, and a few new high-tech features and safety gadgets. See all 2016 Mazda CX-5 models available near you

2016 Hyundai Tucson   2016 Mazda CX-5

Reliability

Because the Tucson is so new, it has not yet received a reliability rating from experts at J.D. Power. However, J.D. Power did give the CX-5 a Worse Than Average reliability rating. In the firm’s most recent Vehicle Dependability Study, both Hyundai and Mazda were near the middle of the pack.

As for warranty coverage, the Tucson easily trumps the CX-5. The Hyundai offers 5 years or 60,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper protection, along with 10 years or 100,000 miles of powertrain coverage. The CX-5 boasts just 3 years or 36,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage, and 5 years or 60,000 miles of powertrain protection. The result: We think the Hyundai is the better pick for reliability, though we’d like to see its final J.D. Power numbers just to be sure.

2016 Hyundai Tucson   2016 Mazda CX-5

Fuel Economy

The CX-5 offers two engines. Base models use a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, which touts up to 26 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Optional is a 184-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, which offers up to 26 mpg city/33 mpg hwy.

Meanwhile, the Tucson comes standard with a 164-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, which earns fuel economy ratings of up to 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy. The Tucson’s optional engine is a 175-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which reaches as high as 26 mpg city/33 mpg hwy.

Although the CX-5 wins overall with excellent gas mileage from its 2.0-liter engine, it’s worth noting that powertrain is only offered with a 6-speed manual transmission. Opt for an automatic and you’ll find that the CX-5 and Tucson are nearly identical in terms of gas mileage, especially if you choose the Hyundai’s excellent 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder.

2016 Hyundai Tucson   2016 Mazda CX-5

Safety

In crash-testing carried out by the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Tucson earned a perfect 5-star overall rating. The CX-5 earned only 4 stars. Both models earned coveted Top Safety Pick+ scores from the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

As for safety features, both the Tucson and the CX-5 offer just about all the latest gadgets and technology, including a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning and automatic collision-avoidance braking. That makes picking a winner hard, though it’s worth pointing out that drivers who especially prioritize safety will find a lot to like with either of these two models.

2016 Hyundai Tucson interior   2016 Mazda CX-5 interior

Technology

As you might expect after reading our safety section, the Tucson and the CX-5 both tout a long list of available features and gadgets. In addition to all the latest safety features, both models offer LED headlights, infotainment systems with large and easy-to-use touchscreen interfaces, multispeaker sound systems, and automatic lights and wipers. Combine that with the safety equipment and there’s no doubt that these two models will appeal to most automotive gadget lovers.

2016 Hyundai Tucson   2016 Mazda CX-5

Value

At first glance, the Tucson’s starting price of around $23,700 with shipping may seem like it’s a big premium over the CX-5’s base price of $22,800 with shipping. But don’t be fooled: The Mazda’s figure includes a 6-speed manual transmission. Go for an automatic and the CX-5’s starting price immediately jumps to $24,600, which eclipses the Hyundai’s starting MSRP.

Beyond base models, however, the CX-5 and Tucson are relatively neck and neck in terms of pricing, with most midlevel models going for somewhere in the $26,000 to $28,000 range with popular options and features. On the high end, the Tucson Limited starts around $30,900 with shipping, which tops the CX-5’s $29,500, but that’s mainly because the Hyundai has more equipment, including standard features, such as lane-departure warning and automatic forward-collision braking. Those features are optional in the top-level CX-5 Grand Touring.

The overall result? We think the Hyundai is a slightly better value than the Mazda, touting lower prices for the base model and top-end trim level. But the differences aren’t huge, and some skillful negotiating can likely get the two models virtually even in terms of pricing.

Autotrader’s Advice

Both the 2016 Hyundai Tucson and the 2016 Mazda CX-5 are among our favorite compact crossovers. Both offer excellent fuel economy, practical designs, reasonable pricing and a long list of standard equipment. But we think the Tucson is the better SUV — largely due to its slightly lower pricing and longer warranty. Still, it’s hard to go wrong with either of these two models, as they’re equal in terms of safety equipment, features, gas mileage and sizing.

Find a Used Hyundai Tucson for sale

Find a Used Mazda CX-5 for sale

 
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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8 COMMENTS

  1. JD Powers has given the CX-5 subpar reliability scores since its inception while other auto critics rate the CUV above average. I guess Mazda will not pay for rave reviews.

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