2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Toyota Rav4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The CX-5 has standard Whiplash-Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash-Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-5 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 45 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Rav4 was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Engine

The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 47 more horsepower (250 vs. 203) and 126 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 184) than the Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

The CX-5’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 106 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs. 184) than the Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

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

CX-5 4 cyl.

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature

Rav4

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

6.4 sec

8.8 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

14.9 sec

16.8 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CX-5 2.5 non-turbo’s fuel efficiency. The Rav4 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:

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature

Rav4

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.1 inches

The CX-5 stops much shorter than the Rav4:

CX-5

Rav4

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

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.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Rav4 Limited pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Rav4 Limited (27.8 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CX-5’s turning circle is .1 feet tighter than the Rav4 LE/XLE’s (36 feet vs. 36.1 feet). The CX-5’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s (36 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 4.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Rav4 (103.6 vs. 98.9).

The CX-5 has .2 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more front hip room, 1.8 inches more rear legroom and 7.6 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.

The CX-5’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The Rav4’s swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.

Towing

The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Rav4’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Toyota Rav4 Adventure is only 3500 pounds. The CX-5 offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The CX-5 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed 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 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.

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

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The CX-5’s headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Rav4’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

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.

Recommendations

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

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its April 2019 issue and they ranked the Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD two places higher than the Toyota Rav4 Adventure.

The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 2 of the last 2 years. The Rav4 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

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

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