2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2018 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The CX-5 has standard E911 Automatic Emergency Notification, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the CX-5 and the Rav4 Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

Engine

The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 56 more horsepower (250 vs. 194) and 104 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 206) than the Rav4 Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mazda CX-5 (base engine) is faster than the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid:

 

CX-5

Rav4 Hybrid

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

3.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

8.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16.6 sec

16.7 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CX-5 non-turbo’s fuel efficiency. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Rav4 Hybrid:

 

CX-5

CX-5 Turbo

Rav4 Hybrid

Front Rotors

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

11.1 inches

The CX-5 stops shorter than the Rav4 Hybrid:

 

CX-5

Rav4 Hybrid

 

60 to 0 MPH

133 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature has standard 19-inch wheels. The Rav4 Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The CX-5 has engine speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 1.5 inches longer than on the Rav4 Hybrid (106.2 inches vs. 104.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-5 is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Rav4 Hybrid.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Rav4 Hybrid Limited pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the CX-5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Rav4 Hybrid (7.5 vs. 7 inches), allowing the CX-5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The CX-5’s minimum ground clearance is .1 inch higher than on the Rav4 Hybrid SE (7.5 vs. 7.4 inches).

Chassis

The Mazda CX-5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 150 to 400 pounds less than the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid.

The CX-5 is 4.4 inches shorter than the Rav4 Hybrid, making the CX-5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 3.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Rav4 Hybrid (103.8 vs. 100.7).

The CX-5 has .8 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 2.4 inches more rear legroom and 6.4 inches more rear hip room than the Rav4 Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CX-5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Rav4 Hybrid’s (2000 vs. 1750 pounds).

While the Rav4 Hybrid SE is not recommended to tow, any CX-5 can tow a minimum of 2000 pounds.

Ergonomics

The CX-5 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The CX-5 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-5’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Rav4 Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the CX-5’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Rav4 Hybrid’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The CX-5’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Rav4 Hybrid’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

Both the CX-5 and the Rav4 Hybrid offer available heated front seats. The CX-5 Grand Touring also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Rav4 Hybrid.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the CX-5 (except Sport/Touring) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the CX-5 Grand Touring’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Both the CX-5 and the Rav4 Hybrid offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Model Availability

The CX-5 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CX-5 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the CX-5 will cost $420 less than the Rav4 Hybrid over a five-year period.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” in 2018. The Rav4 hasn’t been picked since 2008.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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