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The Toyota RAV4 and the Mazda CX-5 are highly successful models in the ultra-competitive compact crossover SUV segment. Both models have their merits, but the 2023 Toyota RAV4 has one big item that the 2023 Mazda CX-5 doesn’t offer: an efficient hybrid model, including the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

Unlike the 2023 Mazda CX-5, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 offers a hybrid model in the US

Front angle view of red 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid compact crossover SUV
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota

Toyota is the industry leader for hybrid vehicles. The automaker has an expansive lineup of hybrids, including the 2023 Toyota RAV4. For the RAV4, there are two types of hybrids: a traditional one and a plug-in hybrid with the Prime.

The standout model is the RAV4 Prime. With its plug-in hybrid system, it can drive with electric-only power for up to an estimated 42 miles. For those that aren’t ready to go all-electric, the RAV4 Prime is a great alternative. For many EVs, one has to worry about running out of battery power — or “range anxiety.” However, for the Prime, when the electric power goes down, it can switch to power from the internal combustion engine. Also, as we detail later, it delivers excellent performance.

However, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 doesn’t offer a hybrid model in the United States. While there’s a hybrid version of the CX-5 in some international markets, in America, the only choice is a fully gas-powered model.

2023 RAV4 Hybrid and Prime have much higher gas mileage than the 2023 CX-5

Side view of red 2023 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover SUV
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

The biggest draw of hybrids is efficiency — and resulting savings when filling up the tank. And on this front, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Prime compact SUVs don’t disappoint. They both have much higher gas mileage than any 2023 Mazda CX-5 model. 

The RAV4 Hybrid has an estimated fuel economy of up to 40 combined mpg, while the Prime PHEV gets up to 94 combined MPGe in electric-only mode and 38 combined mpg in hybrid mode. In comparison, the CX-5 only gets up to 26 combined mpg. Also, even if opting for the fully gas-powered RAV4 model, drivers still benefit from higher gas mileage (up to 30 combined mpg).

Along with its high-level efficiency and the ability to drive on electric-only power, an appealing aspect of the RAV4 Prime is its performance. Its plug-in hybrid system doles out 308 horsepower — with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 5.5 seconds. In comparison, the most powerful and quickest CX-5 model is the one with the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (256 horsepower). It takes 6.2 seconds to complete the 0-60 mph sprint.

Other advantages of the Toyota RAV4 over the Mazda CX-5

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 compact SUV has other advantages over the 2023 Mazda CX-5. For one, it’s better for off-road use and driving in adverse weather conditions. This is because of the RAV4’s higher ground clearance than the CX-5 and the availability of off-road models with the Woodland Edition, Adventure, and TRD Off-Road trims. However, the CX-5 doesn’t have an off-road model.

Also, the RAV4 has superior towing capabilities. It can tow up to 3,500 pounds, compared to 2,000 pounds for the CX-5. Plus, the RAV4 provides more cargo space. It offers a total storage capacity of 69.8 cu-ft, while the CX-5 only has 58.1 cu-ft.

Furthermore, the RAV4 eases the cost of servicing your vehicle with its 2-year/25,000-mile complimentary maintenance plan. However, the CX-5 doesn’t have a free maintenance program. 

With the option for a hybrid model, including the Prime PHEV, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 has a big item that the 2023 Mazda CX-5 doesn’t offer. This is an element to consider for those deciding between the two compact crossover SUVs.


How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2023 Toyota RAV4 Cost?