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The 2023 Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling SUV in its class. However, that doesn’t mean it beats all the other vehicles for every category. One of its biggest competitors in the compact SUVs section of the market is the 2023 Mazda CX-5. The RAV4 from Toyota may edge out the Mazda SUV in some ways, but there is one area where it doesn’t hold a candle. 

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 isn’t as sporty as the Mazda CX-5

2023 Toyota RAV4 in blue
2023 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

The 2023 RAV4 lags a bit behind the latest Mazda CX-5 primarily because of performance. The Mazda SUV isn’t significantly more powerful than the RAV4, but its handling and precise steering help make it more accomplished in this area. According to Edmunds, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 has a 2.5-liter inline-four with a maximum output of 203 horsepower. The standard trim is front-wheel drive, and it uses an eight-speed automatic transmission. 

Regarding the 2023 Mazda CX-5, it has a 187 hp 2.5-liter inline-four engine. Unlike the RAV4, the base model is all-wheel drive and uses a six-speed automatic transmission. However, the top two trims of the CX-5 are turbocharged with a maximum output of 227 horsepower. It takes the RAV4 8.3 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from 0. The Mazda CX-5 takes 6.6 seconds for its advanced trims. The lower models of the car are in line with the RAV4 from Toyota. 

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 interior is a bit more comfortable than the inside of the RAV4

2023 Mazda CX-5 Interior
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

The 2023 RAV4 and the latest Mazda CX-5 are among the best small SUVs. However, the Mazda CX-5 interior is arguably better than that of the new RAV4. This is because the Mazda SUV has much more of an upscale look, whereas the RAV4 prioritizes practicality. In addition, the Mazda offers more comfortable front seats than the Toyota SUV. However, the RAV4 has more cargo space than the CX-5.

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 also includes a much better use of interior technology than the 2023 RAV4. The Mazda SUV has a standard 10.3-inch display with a rotary knob and a volume controller. The Toyota SUV has a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen, but the TRD Pro version has a 10.5-inch display. Both vehicles have solid car sound systems.

Both small SUVs are reliable

2023 Mazda CX-5 in red
2023 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

These are two of the best small SUVs because they are both really reliable. But, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 is predicted to be slightly more so than the RAV4 from Toyota. The Mazda SUV has a predicted reliability score of 82 from J.D. Power, but the Toyota has an 81. This is a marginal difference, but it’s a difference nonetheless for an important category. Consumer Reports believes they both will be more reliable than most other vehicles.

These two SUVs are pretty comparable regarding their price tags. The Mazda SUV starts at $26,700, while the 2023 Toyota RAV4 costs $27,575 on the base level. There’s no denying that the RAV4 is one of the trendiest SUVs on the market, but the CX-5 edges it out due to performance and arguably for a few other reasons.

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