Mazda CX-5 vs. Honda CR-V

These two Japanese carmakers produce a lot of cars in the same class. Each brand runs sedans and SUVs and a few models in between. But which one is superior in the compact SUV segment? The Mazda CX-5 is a stylish compact SUV that now offers upgraded performance, and the CR-V is a classic Honda known for its all-around function and reliability. But how to they differ?

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The Mazda vs the Honda –– it’s bound to be a tight race. Each of these SUVs comes with about the same factory warranty coverage. Plus, they are both top safety picks earning 5 out of 5 stars. The CX-5 is modern and sleek, easily one of the most good looking compact SUVs in its class. The CR-V has utility and value on its side.

Some differences, no matter how subtle, can edge buyers in a certain direction. Let’s take a look at some of the details and compare the cars in a bit more depth.

Size matters

The CR-V is definitely the larger of the two. The Honda CRV measures longer and wider than the CX-5. While this does mean more space for a roomier interior, the Mazda CX-5 maneuvers with a bit more agility due to its smaller size and tighter turning radius.

The size of the CR-V contributes much to the comfort of its interior. The Honda CR-V offers many big SUV amenities without sacrificing on gas milage and comfort. They both offer quality and comfortable interior design, but the CR-V in all its functional glory is a bit more comfortable.

Honda CR-V boasts ample cargo

Each of these compact SUVs seats five passengers, but the CR-V offers the comfort of more leg room and loftier head room. The 2020 Honda CR-V also boasts a much larger cargo capacity than the 2020 Mazda CX-5. The CR-V has 39.2 cubic feet behind the second row while the CX-5 has 30.9 cubit feet for loading gear. Additionally, the CR-V boasts over 15 inches more cargo behind the front seats when the rear is folding down.

2020 Honda CR-V Touring interior

Technology and performance

The Mazda CX-5 beats out the Honda CR-V in terms of standard technology. Though you can opt for upgrades in the CR-V, the base model of the CX-5 offers a larger more user friendly standard infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both available as a tech upgrade option for each SUV.

In terms of performance, the 2020 Honda CR-V’s one engine option gets the job done, but without exactly making it any fun. It gets enough power to perform as expected, but it’s not showing off. The 2020 Mazda CX-5, on the other hand, offers choices.

The CX-5’s base model offers about the same engine as the Honda option, but there are two engine upgrades available, including a turbo-charged four cylinder as well as a 168-horsepower turbo diesel.

2020 Mazda CX-5

The CR-V does get better mileage by a few miles per gallon. The Honda SUV gets 28 mpg city/ 34 mpg highway, while the CX-5 gets 25 mpg city/ 31 mpg highway. The EPA hasn’t rated the turbo Diesel engine yet.


The Honda CR-V boasts the higher value, but the Mazda CX-5 offers more premium options at its most luxurious trim level. The 2020 Honda CR-V starts in the $25,050-$34,750 range, while the 2020 Mazda CX-5’s starting price is in the $25,090-$37,055 range. The CX-5 is a bit higher priced, but only by a few thousand dollars.

2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature interior

All in all these SUVs are extremely similar. If luxury and style is your thing, you’ll probably want to go with the Mazda CX-5. If you want an ultra functional vehicle with loads of cargo and a more spacious cabin or if you’re looking for a hybrid option, the Honda CR-V is your best bet.