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The 2018 Mazda CX-5 and 2018 Toyota RAV4 have much in common. Both are affordable compact crossovers with similar gas mileage and excellent reliability ratings. So, which used SUV is better? Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the 2018 Mazda CX-5 and 2018 Toyota RAV4.

Note: Regardless of a used car’s reliability score, always obtain a vehicle history report and have a trusted mechanic perform an inspection to uncover potential problems before purchasing. Also, prices may vary depending on trim level, mileage, overall condition, and location.

What are people paying for used 2018 Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 SUVs?

A red 2018 Mazda CX-5
2018 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda North American Operations

According to J.D. Power, consumers are paying $19,162 to $24,991 for a used 2018 Mazda CX-5. The market research firm reports that the Toyota RAV4 costs more, ranging from $20,322 to $31,957. The RAV4 is one of the most popular compact SUVs, so many consumers are interested in buying one. That might be why the prices are higher than the competition.

Which SUV has the more powerful engine?

The 2018 CX-5 has a more potent engine. Its 2.5-liter inline-four generates 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. In comparison, the RAV4 has a 2.0-liter inline-four making 164 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. Both have a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

They get similar gas mileage

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 gets an EPA-estimated 24 to 25 mpg in the city and 30 to 31 on the highway. And the Toyota RAV4 gets 22 to 34 mpg in the city and 28 to 30 mpg on the highway. That isn’t a significant difference and probably something you wouldn’t notice even when driving daily.

The 2018 CX-5 and RAV4 boast great reliability scores

The black interior of a 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure compact SUV
2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 earned a “great” quality and reliability score of 83/100 from J.D. Power. Owners reported liking the interior, especially the seating materials.

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 has an even higher score of 88/100. Owners love how easy it is to maneuver, the amount of trunk space, and the transmission’s smoothness.

Here are some owner-reported problems

Although the 2018 Mazda CX-5 has an excellent reliability score, several owners have complained on They say the engine head on this model year was defective, and the consumer site gave the problem a severity score of 10 out of 10. However, only two owners reported that issue, so it could be a fluke instead of a common problem. In total, 18 owners mentioned engine trouble, eight had windshield problems, and five experienced brake issues. 

In comparison, Toyota RAV4 owners have noted problems with the body paint, brakes, and transmission. The most significant issue with the brakes and transmission is they make sounds while driving.

Which used SUV is better?

2018 Mazda CX-5 interior 1st row
2018 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda North American Operations

Although the 2018 Toyota RAV4 is a good SUV, the 2018 Mazda CX-5 stands a notch above. It has a more powerful engine, better handling, and far more standard features. They include keyless start, smart device integration, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a hands-free communications system.

While the RAV4 has a higher reliability rating and fewer reported issues, it costs more. Considering its relatively high used price, you might be better off purchasing a new RAV4, whose MSRPs range from $28,275 to $38,930.

Car and Driver reviewers agree, awarding the 2018 Mazda CX-5 a perfect 10 overall rating. They gave the Toyota RAV4 only a 7. 

However, if you still have your heart set on a used RAV4, consider a 2012 or 2017 model.


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