2020 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid vs. 2020 Mazda CX-5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Rav4 Hybrid has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Rav4 Hybrid (except LE/XLE) offers optional Rear Cross-Traffic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The CX-5 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Rav4 Hybrid. But it costs extra on the CX-5.

The Rav4 Hybrid’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Rav4 Hybrid and the CX-5 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Rav4 Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mazda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the CX-5.

There are over 2 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Rav4 Hybrid’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 51 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

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The Rav4 Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 32 more horsepower (219 vs. 187) than the CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.

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

Rav4

CX-5

Zero to 60 MPH

7.5 sec

8.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.4 MPH

78.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Rav4 Hybrid

AWD

2.5 4-cyl. Hybrid

41 city/38 hwy

CX-5

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

AWD

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

24 city/30 hwy

2.5 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/27 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Rav4 Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Rav4 Hybrid’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-5 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid uses regular unleaded gasoline. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

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The Rav4 Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Rav4

CX-5

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.7 inches

Suspension and Handling

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For greater off-road capability the Rav4 Hybrid has a greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-5 (8.1 vs. 7.5 inches), allowing the Rav4 Hybrid to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Rav4 Hybrid uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The CX-5 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Rav4 Hybrid has .7 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-5.

Cargo Capacity

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The Rav4 Hybrid has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the CX-5 with its rear seat up (37.6 vs. 30.9 cubic feet). The Rav4 Hybrid has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-5 with its rear seat folded (69.8 vs. 59.6 cubic feet).

The Rav4 Hybrid’s cargo area is larger than the CX-5’s in almost every dimension:

Rav4

CX-5

Length

40”/n.a.

38”

Max Width

59”

57”

Min Width

39.4”

41.3”

Height

36.6”

32.4”

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Rav4 Hybrid Limited’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

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The power windows standard on both the Rav4 Hybrid and the CX-5 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Rav4 Hybrid is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-5 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

If the windows are left open on the Rav4 Hybrid the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the CX-5 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Rav4 Hybrid has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature.

Both the Rav4 Hybrid and the CX-5 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Rav4 Hybrid has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid XSE/Limited offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The CX-5 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/27

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

The Toyota Rav4 outsold the Mazda CX-5 by almost three to one during 2019.

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

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