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The 2023 Mazda CX-5 and 2023 Honda CR-V are popular midsize SUVs. For drivers needing a solid mix of reliability, utility, and comfort, either vehicle can do the job. But for many, the CX-5 may be the better pick.

Though both SUVs have ample standard equipment, the Mazda edges ahead in a few key areas. And with a lower starting price, the CX-5 adds value to the equation.

Let’s look at the reviews and see why the Mazda CX-5 takes the lead over the Honda CR-V.

Mazda CX-5 vs. Honda CR-V: what critics are saying

Comparing the two SUVs on U.S. News reveals where the 2023 Mazda CX-5 excels and why it’s a better value.

U.S. News gave the Mazda SUV an overall score of 8.7 compared to the CR-V score of 8.4, and the CX-5 outranked or equaled the CR-V in every category except the interior.

The Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V have starting prices of $26,700 and $28,410, respectively. That’s a significant difference. It might not be if the Honda had more equipment and features, but that isn’t the case.

Central to an SUV is hardy performance. Whether driving on dirt roads or through snow, a sport utility vehicle goes where normal cars can’t. And all-wheel drive systems provide the needed traction to do that. The 2023 Mazda CX-5 has standard AWD, while the Honda CR-V doesn’t.

And when it comes to comfort and convenience, the Mazda CX-5 brings luxury car amenities not found in the Honda. Examples include a Wi-Fi hotspot, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and hands-free communication.

Driver’s assistance technology helps people avoid accidents before they happen. The more features it brings, the better someone can stay safe on the road. The 2023 CX-5 has two standard driver’s assistance features not found on the Honda: a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.

Like many Mazda models, the CX-5 displays taut handling and spirited acceleration. That puts a little fun into every drive, whether on a grocery run or taking a road trip.

Still, the CR-V has its strong points, like 30 mpg combined and a comfortable interior. And with Honda’s legendary reliability, it’s built for the long haul.

It’s just not enough to overcome the CX-5’s value, standard features, and fun driving experience.

The CX-5 offers a ton of value and a fun ride


The Mazda CX-50 Clearly Isn’t Hurting the Mazda CX-5

With abundant standard features and a reasonable starting price, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 is a superb value.

While the Honda is a solid pick with a plush interior and good fuel economy, it costs nearly $2,000 more and doesn’t have all-wheel drive.

The Mazda CX-5 is the way to go for drivers who want a versatile SUV without expensive options. Instead of adding options and increasing price, CX-5 buyers can drive off in a base model without spending a bundle. That makes it an easy pick.

Add in the CX-5’s sporty handling and acceleration, and it makes a fun daily driver for almost any trip.

The Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V are great compact SUVs with plenty of utility, safety, and efficiency. But the Mazda CX-5’s combination of price and features make it a better pick for value-driven consumers. It’s a compact SUV that ticks all the boxes.