3 Reasons to Pick the Toyota RAV4 Over the Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 is an attractive and trendy option in the compact SUV class. But even so, you may still want to go with an old favorite, like the Toyota RAV4. Here are three significant reasons to consider the RAV4 over the CX-5.

The RAV4 offers robust and efficient powertrains 

Now, the 2020-2021 CX-5 offers a variety of sporty engines that many drivers enjoy. However, if you prefer a quick ride that’s also more easygoing, you’ll gravitate toward the RAV4. The RAV4 is currently in its fifth generation that launched in 2019. RAV4s from this generation feature a 203-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission. 

The RAV4’s engine offers 16 more horses than the CX-5’s base engine. You may also be more interested in the RAV4 if fuel economy is one of your bigger priorities. The 2020 RAV4 has an EPA rating of up to 30 mpg overall; the CX-5’s is two points lower.

A red 2021 RAV4 Prime on display at the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Furthermore, the RAV4 presents two electrified options. The CX-5 doesn’t have any hybrid options and isn’t a standout for fuel economy in general. The current RAV4 Hybrid can return up to 40 mpg overall. This hybrid is also a great deal if you want standard all-wheel-drive. Additionally, there’s also the new-for-2021 RAV4 Prime. The Prime is a plug-in hybrid that has an all-electric range of 46 miles. 

More trim levels 

2020 Toyota RAV4 driving on the highway
2020 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

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In addition to being available as a hybrid and a nonhybrid, the RAV4 offers various trims that appeal to vast amounts of drivers. On the other hand, the CX-5 doesn’t offer the same variety in its trim levels. 

The entry-level LE and XLE trims come with many connectivity features, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a user-friendly touchscreen. The RAV4 also comes with a long list of advanced safety functions, including automatic emergency braking.

The Rav4 is Toyota's family crossover, with a favorable safety rating, an efficient engine, and a reasonable price, it is a major seller for the brand.
Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road | Toyota

If you want something more adventurous and upscale, you’ll want to explore the higher trims. Toyota introduced the TRD Off-Road variant for 2020, which is suitable for mild off-road excursions. The RAV4 TRD Off-Road model adds a TRD suspension, black 18-inch wheels, and all-terrain tires. 

If you like the TRD Off-Road model’s flashy looks but don’t necessarily need all of the performance enhancements, you’ll want to consider the Adventure variant. Critics like Car and Driver think the mid-level XLE Premium trim is the sweet spot on the 2020-2021 RAV4.

“[The XLE Premium] provides plenty of standard equipment that the LE and XLE don’t offer, such as 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, faux-leather upholstery, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. “

Car and Driver

The RAV4 has more interior space too

The Toyota RAV4's all-black interior.
Toyota RAV4 interior | Toyota

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While Mazda has made significant improvements to the CX-5, especially for 2021, it still has some drawbacks. One flaw that could be potentially frustrating for families is the CX-5 is below average for cargo space. The CX-5 has 59 cubic feet of total cargo space. With the RAV4, you get 69.8 cubic feet of total cargo room, which is more impressive for the class.