Americans buy a lot of compact SUVs, and automakers take a lot of different approaches to designing them.

The Mazda CX-5 and Chevrolet Equinox, for instance, are both compact SUVs. Both have standard 4-cylinder engines, and their list prices are within $100 of each other.

But each offers different virtues that make it the right choice for different buyers. Let’s compare them.

2023 Mazda CX-5

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 looks and drives like a premium crossover. It includes standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and comes with a choice of two well-regarded engines. Prices start at $26,700 and can climb over $40,000 when fully equipped.

Mazda CX-30 Highlights

Standard all-wheel drive (AWD): Every CX-5 can send power to all four wheels to make the most of available traction. You can get AWD on every trim level of the Equinox, but it always costs an extra $1,600 for the option.

Sharp styling: The CX-5 might be the best-looking compact SUV. Its sporty design aesthetic pushes back against a trend toward boxier SUVs, and you’ll like looking at your new CX-5. The Equinox, frankly, looks dated. Chevy has revealed an attractive electric Equinox it plans to bring to market next year, but this model’s design is a definite contrast to that upcoming EV one.

It’s fun to drive: If Mazda is known for anything, it’s excellent handling. Every Mazda feels fun behind the wheel, and the CX-5 is no exception. The secret is Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus system, which adjusts power delivery at each wheel as the weight shifts through corners. It’s a luxury car-like feature at a non-luxury price.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Mazda CX-5 models for sale near you.

2023 Chevrolet Equinox

2022 Chevrolet Equinox in blue.

The Equinox is Chevy’s best-selling SUV and, most months, one of the best-selling vehicles in the compact SUV segment. It’s available in a wide array of configurations, but always with the same 175-horsepower 4-cylinder engine. Prices start at $26,600 and climb to the mid-$30,000 range fully equipped.

Chevrolet Equinox Highlights

Less expensive when fully loaded: These two SUVs have almost the same starting price. But the top of the CX-5 lineup, the 2.5 Turbo Signature, costs almost $40,000 before you add any options. A top-of-the-line Equinox Premium with AWD starts at just $33,400.

Available Redline Edition: If you want your next vehicle to stand out, Chevy offers a stylish Redline Edition with visual tweaks like blackened emblems and red-accented wheels. Mazda doesn’t offer an equivalent visual package.

Available automatic parking assist: Mazda markets itself as offering near-luxury cars for non-luxury prices, but it doesn’t have an answer for the Equinox’s (optional) ability to steer itself into a parking spot, which can even handle parallel parking.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Chevy Equinox models for sale near you.


Near-identical price, similar safety scores, and fuel economy.


The Mazda CX-5 is among the most attractive and fun-to-drive compact SUVs. It’s available with a powerful turbocharged engine and can out-tow the Equinox. The Chevrolet Equinox offers similar value in its base model but is less expensive in higher trim levels and has some cool tricks up its sleeve, like an available self-parking function.

Either could be a great solution for your driving needs.


2023 Mazda CX-5 2023 Chevrolet Equinox
Starting Price $26,700 $26,600
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter 4-cylinder 1.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder
Horsepower 187 hp @ 6,000 rpm 175 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 186 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 203 lb-ft @ 2,000-4,000
Transmission 6-speed automatic with AWD 6-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 26 mpg (24 city/30 hwy) 28 mpg (26 city/31 hwy)
Also Available 2.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder AWD
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating N/A 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.2 inches 107.3 inches
Overall Length 180.1 inches 183.1 inches
Width 72.6 inches 72.6 inches
Height 65.4 inches 65.4 inches
Turning Diameter 36.0 feet 37.4 feet
Headroom, Front 39.7 inches 40.0 inches
Headroom, Rear 39.0 inches 38.5 inches
Legroom, Front 41.0 inches 40.9 inches
Legroom, Rear 39.6 inches 39.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 57.1 inches 57.2 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 54.8 inches 55.5 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 103.6 cubic feet 103.5 cubic feet
Cargo Volume 30.8/59.3 cubic feet 29.9/63.9 cubic feet


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