A white 2023 Mazda CX-5 is shown from the front after winning a 2023 Mazda CX-5 vs 2023 Hyundai Tucson comparison.

Separating the 2023 Mazda CX-5 From the 2023 Hyundai Tucson

2023 has already proven to be a great year for many auto brands. From sleek new redesigns to eco-friendly electric vehicles, everywhere we look we see great models begging for a test drive. With so many eye-catching introductions this year, it can leave drivers wondering what the best option for their new vehicle may be.

Consider, for instance, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 vs 2023 Hyundai Tucson. Both vehicles are show-stoppers and often rank at the top of their class in an uber-popular SUV market that’s bursting at the seams with great choices. When you narrow down all of your options and end up with two very similar vehicles, it often comes down to the nitty-gritty details. Which vehicle will give you the most bang for your buck?

We were curious about which of the two aforementioned compact SUVs came out on top, so we decided to do an in-depth search and check out pricing, performance, standard features, and safety to see which one delivers more in terms of value—the 2023 Mazda CX-5 or the 2023 Hyundai Tucson? Read on to learn what we found.

What Do You Get For the Price?

The first thing we noticed when we began checking out these two premium SUVs is that, when it comes to price, they are evenly matched. This wasn’t something we expected. Normally price point is one of the first things to influence our decision about a car—but in this case? Both the 2023 Mazda CX-5 and the 2023 Hyundai Tucson can be picked up for about $26,600! That makes our job even harder. So let’s check out the very basics of exterior looks and everyday performance and see what you get for the price.

First, let’s zero in on looks—because while they might not be the most important thing, they still matter. Checking out the 2023 Mazda CX-5, we noticed it has a sleeker and more refined profile than the 2023 Hyundai Tucson. This gives it more of a modern edge without appearing too basic. The 2023 Hyundai Tucson, meanwhile, gives off a sporty vibe with its chunkier frame. At a glance, it feels like urban versus suburban when looking at the two SUVs side by side. We’re not saying this as a negative, but simply pointing out the eye-catching sophistication of the 2023 Mazda CX-5 as opposed to the more outdoorsy 2023 Hyundai Tucson.

With exterior looks out of the way, how do these vehicles do in terms of daily performance? This is important if you’re a commuter or you simply want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Both the 2023 Mazda CX-5 and the 2023 Hyundai Tucson entry-level trims come standard with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine offering 187 hp, though the CX-5 makes for 186 lb-ft of torque, edging out the Tucson’s 178.

Drivers will be able to tell right away that the CX-5 is equipped to move and can expect a superb fuel economy of 24 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway. Drivers of the 2023 Hyundai Tucson should expect a fuel economy of 25 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway, which once again makes the CX-5 and Tucson relatively evenly matched—so you could still go either way at this point and just pick the vehicle based on looks alone.

So what else is there in terms of performance that’s worth noting? Well, we did notice the Mazda CX-5 comes standard with i-ACTIV All-Wheel Drive. What does that mean? It means drivers get increased performance and traction when road conditions are less than optimal. This is where we notice another difference, as the Tuscon comes standard with front-wheel drive. Drivers wanting all-wheel drive will unfortunately have to pay a further $1,500 more for this feature.

As for extras, the Mazda CX-5 has plenty if you want to add a little boost in the performance of your daily ride. Available Mi-Drive Technology means drivers can custom tailor the performance of their vehicle with the simple turn of a dial. Choose from Normal, Sport, or Off-Road, depending on your driving conditions. The 2023 CX-5 also gives drivers a chance to boost their power with an available turbo engine that delivers peppy pick-up and an exhilarating ride—perfect for highway passing. If drivers are looking for more power from their 2023 Hyundai Tucson, they will have to upgrade to the Tucson hybrid to take advantage of the available hybrid turbo engine.

In this respect, the CX-5 offers a more sophisticated, more powerful, and smoother drive with responsive handling. This 2023 SUV is an excellent example of Mazda’s first-class engineering, as the CX-5 strikes the perfect balance between practical and stylish, making for a rewarding everyday ride.

What’s Going On Inside?

So far, looking at performance and appearance alone, it seems like the Mazda CX-5 has come out on top. It offers a snappier ride and a sleeker, more refined finish that will appeal to families and solo drivers alike. We also really appreciate the extra upgrades like the available turbo engine. But, let’s be honest, sometimes the interior of a car can make or break the deal—especially in terms of comfort. So how will these two SUVs stack up?

At first glance, the Mazda CX-5 doesn’t disappoint. The high-end-looking materials and design make the compact SUV look much more expensive than it is. The minimalistic dashboard puts technology right at your fingertips without looking cluttered. A standard 10.2-inch screen with Bluetooth lets drivers sync their smartphones with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto for a personalized driving experience. Two USB ports and a Wi-Fi hotspot mean staying connected is easier than ever.

While the Hyundai Tucson might not have the modern styling of the Mazda CX-5, it has plenty of features drivers can enjoy, including an eight-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, and Wi-Fi, plus the option to connect using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to utilize your smartphone’s playlists or apps.

If you’re looking for extra luxury, drivers of the Mazda CX-5 can level up and spring for leather seats, additional USB ports, and wireless charging. The same goes for the Hyundai Tucson. Drivers can go up in trim levels to unlock premium features like a push-button start and larger digital instrument clusters.

So how do we feel? Once again, it’s close, but the Mazda CX-5 overcomes in the looks department with a great, sleek design and convenience of its features, giving us the feel of luxury without the pain of a high price tag.

First Class Safety

One last thing we wanted to look at was safety and driver assist features. The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has been given a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA and was named a 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick+, the highest possible award for safety. Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE suite of safety features gives drivers an extra level of protection when they’re on the road, with systems like Smart City Brake Support with Day and Nighttime Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Monitoring, Adaptive Front-Lighting, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rearview Camera, and Forward Obstruction Warning, to name a few. Drivers can also opt for extra features like the available Traffic Jam Assist.

The 2023 Hyundai Tucson also comes with its fair share of safety features thanks to the Hyundai SmartSense safety package that includes systems like Blind-Spot View Monitor, Surround View Monitor, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, and more. The Tucson was also a 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick+, so both vehicles feel evenly matched when it comes to standard safety features. This didn’t surprise us, considering the heavy emphasis most automakers place on safety and driver assist features.

Which Will You Choose?

Both SUVs are pretty much equal when it comes to starting price and safety features—but we have to admit we were more impressed with the 2023 Mazda CX-5, not only because of its standard features but also its extras like the turbo engine option and advanced safety suite. The Mazda’s high-end interior and eye-catching understated design made it appear a lot pricier than it is. Its engine’s smoother ride again makes it feel like this compact SUV stands well above its price point.

When it comes down to the wire, we’re all for the 2023 Mazda CX-5—but that’s just our opinion. Wondering what’s right for you? There’s only one way to know for sure. Visit your local Mazda dealer and take one out for a spin—and be prepared to be impressed.