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Head to Head: The 2017 Ford Escape vs. The 2017 Mazda CX-5

June 29th, 2017

The 2017 Ford Escape and the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Crossover SUVs go head-to-head in this comparison by Borgman Ford MazdaBorgman Ford Mazda in Grand Rapids has been providing high-quality New and Used vehicles to West Michigan since 1960. An important part of what makes our service the Best in the West is making sure you get matched with the perfect auto for your lifestyle and needs. In order to help our West Michigan SUV shoppers make an informed decision, Borgman Ford Mazda is putting two of the most versatile SUVs on our lot head to head: the 2017 Ford Escape and the 2017 Mazda CX-5.

Both of these Light SUVs are well-equipped to meet the needs of the average Michigan adventurer and can handle the role of a family car without breaking a sweat. They both seat 5, have ample cargo space, and hold their own in West Michigan’s treacherous winter weather. Read on below to see how they stack up against each other and feel free to visit our showroom in Grand Rapids to compare them yourself!

Round 1: Powertrain & Efficiency

The 2017 Ford Escape Powertrain

Photo of the Ford 2.0L EcoBoost EngineIf you enjoy the extra space and utility of an SUV, but also like avoiding the gas station, the 1.5L EcoBoost iVCT Engine is the best of both worlds and standard on the SE and Titanium models. Thanks in part to its advanced turbocharger and clever engineering, the 1.5L puts out 179 horsepower and 177 pounds-per-foot of torque while getting an EPA-estimated 23 city, 30 highway, and 26 combined miles per gallon.

Other available engines include the standard 2.5L iVCT with 168 hp and 170 lbs/ft. torque, and the New 2.0L Twin-Scroll EcoBoost with 245 hp and 275 lb/ft. of torque. Both EcoBoost engines on the Escape feature Auto Start-Stop Technology to further improve efficiency. All Escape SUVs come equipped with Ford’s 6-Speed Automatic Transmission with SelectShift® Capability with Intelligent 4WD available on SE and standard on Titanium.

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 Powertrain

Photo of the Mazda 2.5 Liter SKYACTIV-G EngineRather than having a slew of different engine options with different availabilities, Mazda set out to make one well-rounded engine for the CX-5 that checks all the boxes – with impressive results. The 2.5L SKYACTIV-G Engine puts out 187 hp and 185 lb/ft of torque, which is pretty much on-par with others in its class and gets 24 city and 31 highway mpg.

This is where it gets really interesting – this engine is naturally-aspirated, direct-injected, and boasts an absolutely silly compression ratio of 13:0 on 87 octane gas. For the layperson, the higher the compression ratio, the harder the engine can squeeze the fuel/air mixture before it ignites and the more power you get for the same amount of gas. The caveat is this: lower octane gasoline will get hot and prematurely explode under these conditions, which causes “knocking” and is why some cars are “Premium Only.”

How Mazda did this with regular gas is a complicated topic, but suffice to say that their engineers did some truly inspired work to optimize the exhaust system and keep the temperature down. You can read about it in full detail here.

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 comes equipped with the SKYACTIV-Drive 6-Speed Automatic Transmission with manual shift and Sport Mode, and All-Wheel Drive is available on every trim level.

Powertrain Winner: The 2017 Ford Escape

Despite the CX-5’s impressive engineering and power plant, the 2017 Ford Escape wins the round. It came down to this: Despite even the Ford 1.5L EcoBoost engine falling just short of Mazda on efficiency, the Ford 2.0L Twin-Scroll EcoBoost blows everything else out of the water in terms of responsiveness and utility. If you’re looking for more options, the Ford Escape is the way to go.


Round 2: Interior & Tech

The 2017 Ford Escape Interior

Photo showing the interior of the 2017 Ford Escape

While sitting at the helm of the 2017 Ford Escape, you’ll immediately notice that many of the advanced features of the SUV are right there at your fingertips. The seats are comfortable, and despite being an SUV, the cockpit feels very car-like. In addition, there are are other helpful features such as the Lane-Keeping System, Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake Support, Enhanced Active Park Assist, the Hands-Free, Foot-Activated Liftgate, and more. Adding Ford SYNC 3 ups the ante with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and automatic updates over Wi-Fi. With the Titanium trim, you’ll enjoy other luxurious features such as leather-trimmed seats and a 10-Speaker Audio System from Sony.

The 2017 Ford Escape also features an optional Panoramic Vista Moonroof that stretches all the way to the rear seats. With the rear seats folded up, it can carry 34 cu/ft. of cargo and 68 cu/ft. when they’re folded down.

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 Interior

Photo showing the interior of the 2017 Mazda CX-5

Mazda pays extra attention to the interior of their vehicles, especially on how the vehicle feels while driving, and it shows on the 2017 Mazda CX-5. Right away you’ll notice that anything you’ll ever need to interact with while driving is within comfortable reach. Mazda’s human-centric design really shines in the interior of the 2017 Mazda CX-5 crossover, with thoughtfully selected textures and finishes, and perfect positioning of door handles and controls.  The level of comfort and style only increases with the Touring and Grand Touring options, adding touches such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear selector, heated leather seats, and more.

The shining example of Mazda’s ergonomic effort is the Commander Control knob located just below the gear selector, which allows you to intuitively access features of the dash-mounted touch screen without leaning over. The 2017 Mazda CX-5 also features many of the same types of features as the Ford Escape, such as Radar Cruise Control and Smart City Brake Support. The BOSE Audio system and other refinements like the Heads-Up display with current speed and navigation make the interior feel more refined, but cargo space is where it falls short: 30.9 cu/ft seats up and 59.6 with the seats down.

Interior Winner: The 2017 Mazda CX-5

Don’t get us wrong, the interior of the 2017 Ford Escape, especially when it’s decked out, makes it an absolute joy to drive, and having more cargo space is a plus. However, the attention to detail, hand-crafted refinement, and driver-centric design of the 2017 Mazda CX-5 is in a whole different league. If you visit us for a test drive you’ll definitely be able to see and feel the difference.


Round 3: Price & Value

The 2017 Ford Escape Value

2017FordEscapeLiftgate_1080x400Starting at only $23,750 MSRP, the 2017 Ford Escape S gives you an adventure-ready SUV with Ford SYNC and other helpful features, a solid 2.5L engine, and more. Moving all the way up to the Titanium trim rolls in many luxurious features such as SYNC 3, the Sony sound system, leather seats, that 2.0L Twin-Scroll EcoBoost, and more for $29,250.

This is a great SUV for just about everyone. It’s a daily driver with a little adventure in its heart, it handles a lot like a typical sedan, has a good amount of “get up and go,” and the price tag is pretty accessible too.

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 Value

2017Mazda_CX-5_Highway_1080x400The 2017 Mazda CX-5 Sport, the base model of the SUV, starts at just $24,045 MSRP. For this, you get a good-sized Crossover SUV with a very efficient powertrain and some pretty cool diver-focused features. As you go up the trim levels, the CX-5 pretty much stays within $600 reach of the Ford Escape, and whether that increase is justified has a lot to do with your personal preferences. The CX-5 and the Escape have very similar features, such as their powered rear liftgates, collision detection, and backup cams. What sets the CX-5 apart on value is its spirited driving performance and ability to compete with the more luxurious brands in terms of interior styling and refinement – and at a comparatively lower $29,395 MSRP.

Best Value For Money: Tie between the 2017 Ford Escape & 2017 Mazda CX-5

If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced daily driver with plenty of space that’s good on gas in the summer and can handle itself in winter, either of these SUVs fit the bill. This is where many SUV shoppers in West Michigan start when looking for their next SUV, but past this point, choosing the 2017 Ford Escape or the 2017 Mazda CX-5 comes down to what you see as value.

The Ford Escape isn’t quite as fuel-efficient, but the added cargo space and lower cost can make up for that. The Mazda CX-5 costs a little more, but the fuel savings and more luxurious interior might justify the cost. There could be other reasons you have to choose one over the other. It’s completely up to you!

And The Winner Is: West Michigan SUV Shoppers

Based on available engines, interior design and trim, and a dead-heat on overall value, we have a tie. Borgman Ford Mazda is declaring the winner of this Head to Head anyone in West Michigan looking for a comfortable, dependable, and affordable SUV. Even if you favor one of these SUVs over the other, we’re proud to offer both of them to our SUV customers in Grand Rapids at affordable prices.

Whether your adventures take you all over Michigan or to the grocery store, there’s plenty about the New 2017 Ford Escape and the 2017 Mazda CX-5 to love. Visit Borgman Ford Mazda in Grand Rapids today to test drive a New 2017 Ford Escape, a 2017 Mazda CX-5, or both! Our friendly and courteous sales staff will ensure that all of your questions are answered, that you’re paired with an SUV that suits you, and that you never feel pressured into buying. That’s what makes Borgman Ford Mazda the Best in the West. Come see the difference today!


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