2022 Toyota RAV4 Crushes the 2023 Mazda CX-50…or Not?

The Toyota RAV4 is at the top of the mountain for the crossover SUV segment. However, there’s a new Mazda crossover that aims to knock the RAV4 off of the mountain: the first-ever Mazda CX-50. Does the RAV4 crush the CX-50? Find out in this 2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2023 Mazda CX-50 head-to-head comparison.

2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2023 Mazda CX-50

Super White 2022 Toyota RAV4 driving on a city street
Super White 2022 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

For our 2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2023 Mazda CX-50 comparison, we analyzed several factors. This includes performance, efficiency, towing, off-road capabilities, passenger and cargo space, and price. 

RAV4 vs. CX-50: Performance and efficiency

Zircon Sand 2023 Mazda CX-50 driving on a rocky road near a lake
Zircon Sand 2023 Mazda CX-50 | Mazda

On the performance front, the Toyota RAV4 has the advantage. It offers three powertrain options: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (203 hp), a hybrid (219 hp), and a plug-in hybrid with the RAV4 Prime (308 hp). In comparison, the Mazda CX-50 offers two engine options: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (187 hp) and a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (250 hp). 

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

While the efficiency ratings are not yet available for the CX-50, they will likely be similar to the CX-5, which has the same engine options. With the base 2.5-liter engine, the CX-5 has a gas mileage of 28 combined mpg, and with the available 2.5-liter turbo engine, it has a fuel economy of 24 combined mpg.

RAV4 vs. CX-50: Towing

For towing, the CX-50 has the advantage. It will likely be able to tow as much or even more than the CX-5, which has a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. In comparison, the RAV4 can tow up to 1,500 pounds.

RAV4 vs. CX-50: Off-road capabilities

Mazda touts the CX-50 as an off-road-focused crossover, with its rugged styling and off-road features. Along with its standard all-wheel drive system, the CX-50 has a drive mode selector feature with settings for off-road for towing. 

It remains to be seen if the CX-50 can match the off-road prowess of the RAV4, especially if you buy the RAV4 TRD Off-Road model. It’s ready for wilderness excursions with its off-road-tuned suspension and beefy off-road tires. However, while all-wheel drive is standard for all CX-50 models, it’s an option for most RAV4 trims.

RAV4 vs. CX-50: Passenger and cargo space

The interior dimensions are not yet available for the CX-50. However, we can look again at the CX-5. The CX-50 is slightly longer than the CX-5. Mazda claims that this extra length results in more passenger space, especially for the rear seats. Therefore, the CX-50 will likely offer more passenger space than the RAV4. The CX-5 has a total passenger volume of 103.6 cu-ft, compared to 98.9 cu-ft for the RAV4.

It’s unclear if, with its extra length compared to the CX-5, the CX-50 will offer more storage space than the RAV4. The RAV4 has a maximum cargo capacity of 69.8 cu-ft, compared to 59.6 cu-ft for the CX-5.

RAV4 vs. CX-50: Price

RELATED: Mazda CX-50 Could Kill the Mazda CX-5

What crossover SUV costs more: the 2022 RAV4 or 2023 CX-50? The price information is not yet available for either model. However, we can look at the pricing for the 2021 RAV4 and 2021 CX-5 to get an indication. The starting price for the 2021 RAV4 ranges from $26,350 MSRP for the base LE trim up to $41,675 MSRP for the RAV4 Prime XSE trim. In comparison, starting prices for the 2021 CX-5 range from $25,370 MSRP for the Sport trim up to $37,505 MSRP for the signature trim.

2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Mazda CX-50: Which crossover SUV is better?

Does the Toyota RAV4 crush the Mazda CX-50? As you can see from our 2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2023 Mazda CX-50 comparison, the RAV4 has advantages for performance and efficiency. However, the CX-50 has advantages for towing and passenger space. Also, the CX-50 is a great choice for off-road excursions and could be a good alternative to the RAV4 TRD Off-Road model.

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