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Do you want to get behind the wheel of a compact SUV? You’re not alone, for compact SUVs are one of the most popular vehicle segments — and two of the best-selling models in the segment are the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5. Check out this 2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Mazda CX-5 comparison and see them battle it out for compact SUV supremacy.

2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Mazda CX-5

Green 2022 Toyota RAV4 driving through a forest
Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

The Toyota RAV4 helped pioneer the compact SUV segment, with its debut back in 1994. The Mazda CX-5 is a much more recent entry into the segment, with its debut in 2012. However, the CX-5 proves itself to be a worthy challenger to the RAV4. For this 2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Mazda CX-5 comparison, we analyzed several factors, including performance, towing, efficiency, off-road capabilities, safety, passenger and cargo space, interior features and technologies, and price/value. See how the two compact SUVs stack up.

RAV4 vs. CX-5: Performance, towing, and efficiency

Red 2022 Mazda CX-5 parked near a white building
Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

The Toyota RAV4 offers three powertrain options: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (203 hp/184 lb-ft of torque), a hybrid (219 hp), and a plug-in hybrid with the RAV4 Prime (308 hp). The CX-5 offers two powertrain options: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (187 hp/186 lb-ft of torque) and a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (250 hp/320 lb-ft of torque).

On the towing front, the RAV4 can tow up to 3,500 pounds. In comparison, the CX-5 has a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 pounds.

With its hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, the RAV4 has the advantage for efficiency. The RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid has an efficiency rating of 94 MPGe when in electric-only mode and 38 combined mpg in hybrid mode, while the RAV4 Hybrid has a fuel economy of 40 combined mpg. The gas-powered RAV4 has a gas mileage of 30 combined mpg.

All CX-5 models have a lower fuel economy than the RAV4. With the base 2.5-liter engine, it has a fuel economy of 28 combined mpg, and with the available 2.5-liter turbo engine, it has a gas mileage of 24 combined mpg.

RAV4 vs. CX-5: Off-road capabilities

The RAV4 has an overwhelming advantage for off-road capabilities. It has more than a one-inch advantage for ground clearance (8.6 vs. 7.5 inches). Also, unlike the CX-5, the RAV4 offers an off-road focussed model with the RAV4 TRD Off-Road, which has an off-road-tuned suspension and beefy off-road tires. 

RAV4 vs. CX-5: Safety

Both the RAV4 and CX-5 are strong for safety, with a multitude of safety and driving assistance features. However, while the IIHS safety ratings are not yet available for the 2022 model year, the CX-5 scored higher than the RAV4 for the 2021 model year. It earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating, while the RAV4 only achieved a Top Safety Pick rating. 

RAV4 vs. CX-5: Passenger and cargo space

The CX-5 is roomier for passengers, with a total passenger volume of 103.6 cu-ft, compared to 98.9 cu-ft for the RAV4. However, the RAV4 has the advantage for cargo space. With the rear seats in the upright position, the RAV4 can store up to 37.6 cu-ft of cargo, compared to 30.9 cu-ft for the CX-5. With the rear seats folded down flat, the RAV4 has a cargo capacity of 69.8 cu-ft, compared to 59.6 cu-ft for the CX-5.

RAV4 vs. CX-5: Interior features and technologies

In terms of interior quality, the CX-5 has the edge. The cabin of the CX-5 has a luxurious look compared to the more mainstream look of the RAV4. Both the RAV4 and CX-5 offer many interior technologies, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, but more features are standard for the CX-5. Also, the CX-5 has a large 10.25-inch touchscreen, compared to the standard 7.0-inch and available 8.0-inch and 9.0-inch versions for the RAV4.

RAV4 vs. CX-5: Price and value

Which compact SUV costs more: the 2022 RAV4 or the 2022 Mazda CX-5? The starting prices of the 2022 RAV4 range from $26,525 MSRP for the LE trim up to $43,125 MSRP for the RAV4 Prime XSE trim. In comparison, the starting prices of the 2022 CX-5 range from $25,900 MSRP for the 2.5 S trim up to $38,650 MSRP for the 2.5 Turbo Signature trim. Also, when you factor in the more luxurious cabin and more standard interior features, the CX-5 offers greater value.

2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Mazda CX-5: Which compact SUV is better?

Overall, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 and 2022 Mazda CX-5 are evenly matched, with strengths in different areas. Advantages for the 2022 RAV4 include efficiency, towing, off-road capabilities, and cargo space. For the 2022 CX-5, advantages include passenger space, safety, interior features and technologies, and price/value. Evaluate your needs and budget, and choose the most suitable compact SUV for you.


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