2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2018 Toyota Rav4

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 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 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, 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’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 11 more horsepower (187 vs. 176) and 14 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 172) than the Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 74 more horsepower (250 vs. 176) and 138 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 172) than the Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda CX-5 (base engine) is faster than the Toyota Rav4:

 

CX-5

Rav4

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

9.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-5 gets better fuel mileage than the Rav4:

 

 

CX-5

Rav4

 

2WD

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

25 city/31 hwy

23 city/30 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto LE/Adventure

 

 

n/a

23 city/29 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto SE/Limited/Platinum

4WD

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

24 city/30 hwy

22 city/28 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

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 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mazda CX-5 higher (7 out of 10) than the Toyota Rav4 (3). This means the CX-5 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Rav4 every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the CX-5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Rav4:

 

CX-5

CX-5 Turbo

Rav4 LE

Rav4 XLE/SE/Limited/Platinum

Front Rotors

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

10.8 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

11.2 inches

11.2 inches

The CX-5 stops shorter than the Rav4:

 

CX-5

Rav4

 

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

144 feet

147 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’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 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 (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.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Rav4 XLE pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Rav4 XLE (28 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 29 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the CX-5 has a 1.4 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Rav4 (7.5 vs. 6.1 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 SE/Adventure (7.5 vs. 6.5 inches).

Chassis

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

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has .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.

Cargo Capacity

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

Towing

The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Rav4’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds).

While the Rav4 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 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 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-5’s driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Rav4’s standard driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

The CX-5’s standard variable intermittent wipers have an adjustable delay to allow the driver to choose a setting that best clears the windshield during light rain or mist. The Rav4 LE’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent. 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 XLE/SE/Limited/Platinum/Adventure’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’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 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The CX-5’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Rav4’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 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.

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 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Both the CX-5 and the Rav4 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 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CX-5 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the CX-5 with a number “1” insurance rate while the Rav4 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the Rav4 because it costs $252 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-5 than the Rav4, including $81 less for a water pump, $29 less for front brake pads, $128 less for a starter, $245 less for a fuel pump and $676 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota Rav4, 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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