2013 Nissan Juke Nismo vs. 2013 Mazda CX-5

By Emme Hall.

Mazda has been producing vehicles that Zoom Zoom for a while now. From the Miata to the Mazda 3, their lineup is full of tossable cars. Who would have thought that extended to their crossovers? Indeed, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 is a kick to drive, but does it surpass crossovers that are conspicuously sporty, like the 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo? Read today’s AutoComparison and find out.

The CX-5 is powered by a 2.0L four cylinder engine, good for 155 horsepower and 150 lb/ft of torque. Power is put to the front wheels through your choice of six speed manual or automatic transmission. You can get an all-wheel drive model, but only if you give up the ability to row your own gears. Yes, the AWD is only available in the automatic. The AWD version will get to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds and fuel estimations are 25 in the city, 31 on the highway. The manual gets 26/33.

2013 Mazda CX-5

You get three trim lines for the Mazda CX-5: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. Standard equipment for the Sport includes 17” alloy wheels, cruise control, power accessories, keyless entry, a four speaker sound system with a CD player, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and iPod connectivity. You can also get the optional Bluetooth Audio package for the Sport, which adds (naturally) Bluetooth, HD radio, a touchscreen, and an upgraded sound system.

2013 Mazda CX-5

Touring trim line adds upgraded interior trim, foglights, a six way power driver’s seat, rear privacy glass, blind spot warning system, rear view camera, 40/20/40 split folding rear seat, and a six speaker sound system. Upgrade to the Grand Touring to add 19” alloy wheels, automatic headlamps and wipers, a sunroof, an eight way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, satellite radio, and a nine speaker Bose sound system.

There are a few optional packages that can be added on to various trim levels, like the Bluetooth Audio package, Moonroof/Bose package, and a Technology package.

Sure, the numbers on paper are amazing, but put the CX-5 on the pavement and it’s a whole other story. Everything about this car just works. Brakes don’t fade, suspension keeps you planted and confident in the turns and the steering is quick and direct. It can be a little loud on the open road, but the ride is still very comfortable. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly and the manual is a kick to operate.
2013 Nissan JUKE NISMO
The 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo gets the same turbo charged 1.6L four cylinder engine as the other Jukes, but a quick computer tuning of the Nismo nets it 197 horsepower and 184 lb/ft of torque. Power goes to the front wheels via a six speed manual transmission, but you can also get a CVT if that’s your thing. The Juke Nismo is also is available in AWD, but the manual transmission is not available. 60 mph comes in 6.9 seconds. The Nismo gets the same EPA fuel rating as the other Juke models: 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

2013 Nissan Juke

The Juke Nismo comes standard with 18” alloy wheels wrapped in summer tires, a sport tuned suspension, Bluetooth, air conditioning, a multi-functional steering wheel, cruise control, power accessories, keyless ignition, special Nismo front sport bucket seats, a six speaker sound system with a CD players and satellite radio, and iPod connectivity. There is also an optional Navigation package and an exterior appearance package that distinguishes your Juke Nismo from the plain ol’ regular Juke.

The Juke Nismo skews more towards the Juke SV rather than the monster Juke-R. Still, it’s good for plenty of fun. The summer tires keep their grip, allowing you to toss it through the corners with gleeful abandon. The fact that the AWD is only available with the CVT transmission is a bit of a bummer, as the FWD lacks a front limited slip differential. The perfect combination would be the manual transmission with the AWD.

2013 Mazda CX-5

The 2013 Mazda CX-5 starts at $25,940, while the 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo starts at $22,990. I’m putting the winner’s tiara on the Mazda. The steering feel is fantastic and if you want the AWD you get a decent automatic, not the mandatory CVT in the Nissan Juke. It’s a shame as I really like the Juke Nismo, and would certainly put it on my short list if I could get a six speed manual AWD.

(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Mazda and Nissan.)