Why Would You Choose the Mazda CX-5 Over the Toyota RAV4?

More often than not, the immensely popular  Toyota RAV4 is among buyers’ first choice for a compact SUV. The RAV4 is nearly unmatched in terms of versatility and reliability. However, some reviewers specifically recommend the Mazda CX-5  over this famed Toyota. Are you the type of person who would choose the CX-5 over the RAV4?

Why critics love the Mazda CX-5

Mazda gives the 2021 CX-5 a noticeable refresh.
2021 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

The CX-5 has found itself as the top pick among many respectable critics’ lists. Car and Driver has named the CX-5 as the best in the compact SUV class. As the Car and Driver team put it, the CX-5 isn’t perfect, but it’s “more perfect than everything else its size.”

As you might have heard before, the CX-5 is ideal for those who desire a luxury driving experience but a valued cost. The CX-5’s sporty handling and refined interior make it an absolute standout in the class, even more so than the RAV4. You may be surprised to know that CX-5 can hold its own against real luxury models like the BMW X1.

The side view of a red 2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD on a rainy city street
2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD side | Matthew Skwarczek

As with the outgoing model, the 2021 CX-5 comes standard with a 187-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The base engine offers plenty of juice and contributes to an enjoyable driving experience. There’s a turbocharged version of this four-cylinder that produces 250-hp. The standard four-cylinder is better for fuel economy. But for the zippiest experience the CX-5 has to offer; you’ll want to go with the turbo-four. Additionally, there’s a turbo-diesel option you might be interested in. 

Interior elements of the CX-5

The 2021 Mazda Carbon Edition lineup – CX-5, CX-9, and Mazda6
The 2021 Mazda Carbon Edition lineup | Mazda

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Along with its sporty driving dynamics, the CX-5 also offers a remarkably quiet interior, contributing to its luxury-like qualities. In fact, if quietness is one of your top priorities, you’ll want the CX-5 over the RAV4. The RAV4’s engine is known to get loud, which can put a damper on its driving experience. 

The inside of the 2021 CX-5 offers a bold color scheme.
2021 Mazda CX-5 interior | Mazda

Like the RAV4, the CX-5 is a five-seater SUV. Base CX-5 models will have cloth upholstery. Interior upgrades include faux leather, genuine leather, and Nappa leather seats.

The biggest news for the 2021 CX-5 concerns its in-car tech. Mazda finally added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard features. The CX-5 also comes with a 10.25-inch touchscreen and a wifi hotspot; the RAV4 has standard wifi, but its screen is much smaller. Furthermore, the CX-5 has a long list of advanced safety gizmos, including blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. These features make the CX-5 more competitive with the RAV4. 

So, would you choose the CX-5 over the RAV4?

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 | Toyota

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

Even though it’s not the critics’ favorite, there’s still a lot to like about the RAV4. After all, the RAV4 is the best-selling compact SUV of the year for a reason. The RAV4 does get noisy at times, but its 203-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder, and eight-speed automatic make for a comfortable ride.

Furthermore, the RAV4 offers more adventurous trim levels than the RAV4 does. Plus, the RAV4 is available as a hybrid, while the Cx-5 is not. On the other hand, if you value a notably peaceful and agile ride, you should probably get the CX-5 over the RAV4.