Escape Vs CX-5, back to front, part 1 - Cargo Space
I own a 2014 CX-5 GT and was pretty close to buying an Escape Titanium. I also recently rented a Escape SEL with 1.6 Ecoboost, Moonroof, leather seats and pretty much every option you can get in an SEL. It was missing the Sony premium audio, navigation, parking aids, and HID, but I think other than the Nav, I would have had to step up into a Titanium which I've test drove, but couldn't rent. I have had the 2014 CX-5 for 2 months now. Of course there is some buyer's remorse at work here, but there are a few things that really kill my day to day experience with the CX-5 and why I wish I had purchased the Escape. Honestly, the main reason I bought the Mazda was due to the attitude at the dealership, although I shouldn't have let that influence my decision. The bottom line is, if you are a techy person first and formost, I would recommend buying the Escape.
Instead of comparing everything at once, I will make a few posts, starting with back and working forward
Very similar dimensions, honestly a CUV, while better than the trunk in my Civic, doesn't give me a crazy amount of space. It was useful when I went to pick up a generator recently, but I could have put it in my trunk and tied it down if really needed in my Civic. CX-5 and Escape cargo space dimensions are very similar. Escape has a bit more with seats folded (68 vs 64 rounded), but I doubt anyone would really notice the difference. I did a mountain bike test in both and in both I could fit in 2 mountain bikes with the seats down. Bikes can either be laid down or stood up with the back week towards the back of the front seat. In the CX-5, the 40/20/40 split was nice as I was able to just put the middle down to allow the bike through. It would still allow me to seat 2 people in the back if needed. Plus the seat sides keep the bike from shifting too much. Both the CX-5 and Escape fold flat. Maybe the Escape is a bit flatter, but not by much.
Winner CX-5 for the 40/20/40 split
Liftover height, Loading stuff
The Escape is nice as the liftover height is about 2 inches lower than the CX-5. Makes it easier to load things in, plus there is a nicer rubber/plastic lip that made it feel less likely that I would scratch things up when loading them. For the CX-5 they do make a pretty cool soft cargo cover which covers the cargo bottom as well as the back of the seats. Also it has a lip that is velcroed on and can be tucked away when not in use. It almost looks like one of the bumpers you can put on for driving in the city to protect the back bumper. I bought this accessory and I aways use the lip when loading my bike. Although in the Escape, due to the lower liftover height, I probably would need too.
Escape is the winner, although CX-5 is pretty good if you have the soft cargo cover.
The Escape has a nice automatic tailgate. Wether you use the foot action, button on dash, or the keyfob, it is a nice feature to have at times. The CX-5 has nothing. No release in the car or on the key fob. You want to open the back, you have to push the release button on the bottom of the liftgate. Not a huge deal, but it would be nice to have it be automatic at times. They could have offered this in the GT trims.
Escape is the winner here
Underfloor storage in the CX-5 isn't that great. I've managed to shove a blanket, an emergency kit, and a small compressor down there. That's about it. The Escape gives you more cubbies, although it isn't class leading. The CX-5 floor does hinge in the middle, so for what little space if offers, it is easy to access if you have something towards the back. The Escape only hinges at the back. I did find a couple of hidden tie-down points in the CX-5. I have see the ones in the Escape, both have at least 4 tie down points.
Tie, Escape has a bit more space, but the middle fold in the CX-5 is useful. Actually I wish they both were a bit more like Hyundai, I love what they do in the Elantra GT with multiple fold points and various cubbies.
Rear Seat Folding
The CX-5 does offer release handles to fold the seats from the cargo area, but I really only find this useful for the middle seat. Most likely when you drop the seats, if you are 6", your seat will be too far back to let the back seat fold all the way, and the head rest catches the map pockets in the back of the seat, which leads me to believe they might rip off at some point. I suggest moving the seats up first, or just dropping them from the back seat, that way you can take the headrest off if necessary. Again, the soft cargo floor liner comes in handy, fold the seats and you have a large cargo area covered from front to back.
The Escape seats only fold from the back seat and they are only 60/40, but the headrests do fold forward which makes it easier to fold the backseats without touching the front seats. In the CX-5, I invariably find I have to move the front seats, necessitating an extra step.
I would say this is a tie. Escape beats CX-5 in convenience, but the CX-5 wins in flexibility
Yes I know this is subjective, but I prefer the back of the CX-5. The height of the taillights, the spoiler, the look of the sharkfin (which protects me from the Sharknado), just makes the back look more attractive. IMHO, the Escape back has a few too many bumps, the tail lights are a bit high, and the spoiler is weak. I also don't like the whip antenna. I do like the Escape with the chrome finisher by the middle. I think the 13 SEL has it and the 14 Titanium has it. I will say, you will never mistake the Escape from the back for a luxury vehicle, the CX-5 might be from time to time, especially in white. I also put white LEDs for the license plate lights, so that adds a nice touch. I think the Escape back looks a little minivan-ish. Just is a bit flat and the plastic skid plate isn't the best looking.
I will not use this rating as it is totally subjective and I know I could get used to the Escape.
Both provide 110 outlets in the back. CX-5 cargo cover is very nice. It hooks to the inside of the liftgate, so when opening and closing, the cover lifts up and then it goes back down. Just have to see it to explain, but regardless, your cargo is always covered. No remembering to pull back the cover, and it is flexible. I've found I can overload the area and still close it and it will conform to whatever is underneath. Pretty nice touch.
Cargo cover is a small win for the CX-5
That being said, I am not picking a winner yet. Cargo space is both is good. I am a single guy and I don't have a family. For taking the stuff up to the beach for the weekend, I would be happy to have either one. The CX-5 soft cargo liner, automatic cargo shade, and 40/20/40 split make it a bit better for holding my stuff (boogie board, bike, chair, suitcase, laptop bag, camera bag, inline skates, beach bag, umbrella, and a few other knickknacks. The Escape's automatic tailgate and lower liftover height makes it a bit easier to load all that stuff in there. My neighbors minivan has both the CX-5 and Escape beat in terms of storage space. Yea its a minivan, not a CUV, just saying no one should fool themselves thinking they are getting a huge amount of space with a CUV, but that said, a little extra space doesn't hurt and both function pretty well for a single weekend warrior or a young couple. Start loading in strollers, toys, luggage, etc, and both the Escape and CX-5 get real small, real quick.