Toyota RAV4 Vs. Mazda CX-5 Comparison: Interior, Specs, Configurations

Toyota RAV4 Vs. Mazda CX-5 
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If you’re searching for a compact crossover SUV, chances are you’ll compare the Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5. The Toyota RAV4 is an adventurous SUV with some off-road prowess while also being a civilized and smooth companion for the city. The Mazda CX-5 is similarly versatile but emphasizes on-road sportiness and luxury.

Explore our Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5 comparison guide below, and browse our inventory online or in person to find your next model.

Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5: Configurations & Specs

When comparing these two SUVs, it’s a close battle.

With the latest generation of Toyota RAV4 specs, we find a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, while AWD is available. Up to 8.6 inches of ground clearance will get you through tough terrain situations, and so will an available TRAIL drive mode.

Onto the Mazda CX-5 specs, it pulls an immediate win: standard AWD. However, like with the RAV4, Off-Road mode is an available upgrade. The RAV4 scores a point for base power, as the Mazda CX-5 has a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque.

Mazda CX-5 upgrades are more powerful, though. Its available turbo engine offers up to 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque – surpassing anything in the RAV4 lineup. However, the Mazda CX-5 offers up to 7.9 inches of ground clearance, a bit less than the RAV4.

The back-and-forth continues with the Mazda CX-5 offering standard SKYACTIV®-VEHICLE DYNAMICS With G-Vectoring Control Plus to enhance on-road handling, while the Toyota RAV4 provides a standard direct-shift eight-speed automatic transmission (vs. the Mazda CX-5 SUV’s six-speed automatic with manual shift mode).

However, Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5 towing specs involve a 3,500-pound1 maximum for the Toyota RAV4 and a 2,000-pound2 maximum for the Mazda CX-5. The base-level RAV4 only has a 1,500-pound max towing performance,1 though, whereas the Mazda CX-5 starts off with 2,000 pounds.2

Configuration options involve the Toyota RAV4 offering six trims to explore while the Mazda CX-5 has eight. The RAV4 does have a hybrid variant with 219 combined horsepower, while the Mazda CX-5 does not offer hybrid power.

2023 Toyota RAV4
2023 Toyota RAV4

Standard Engine 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower 203
Torque 184 pound-feet
Transmission Eight-speed automatic
Standard Drivetrain: FWD
Maximum Towing Capacity: 3,500 pounds1
EPA-Estimated MPG (City/Highway): 27/353
Maximum Cargo Capacity 69.8 cubic feet
Seating Capacity 5
2023 Mazda CX-5
2023 Mazda CX-5

Standard Engine 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower 187
Torque 186 pound-feet
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Standard Drivetrain: AWD
Maximum Towing Capacity: 2,000 pounds2
EPA-Estimated MPG (City/Highway): 24/304
Maximum Cargo Capacity 59.3 cubic feet
Seating Capacity 5

Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5: Fuel Economy

The Toyota RAV4 MPG ratings eclipse the Mazda CX-5.

In particular, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 delivers up to an EPA-estimated 27/35 MPG (City/Highway)3 with its pure-gasoline engine and FWD, an EPA-estimated 27/34 MPG (City/Highway)3 with its pure-gasoline engine and AWD, and up to an EPA-estimated 41/38 MPG (City/Highway)3 as a hybrid model.

Comparing the 2023 Mazda CX-5 MPG ratings, we see an EPA-estimated 24/30 MPG (City/Highway)4 with the standard engine and an EPA-estimated 22/27 MPG (City/Highway)4 with the available turbo engine.

Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5 acceleration is a wash-out in the Mazda CX-5 SUV’s favor, as it posted a Car and Driver tested 6.2-second 0-60-mph time,5 while the pure-gasoline RAV4 did the same in 8.4 seconds,6 and the RAV4 Hybrid went from 0 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds.7

If fuel efficiency takes priority, choose a new or used Toyota RAV4 for sale; if performance thrills with competitive MPGs are a more tempting proposition, the Mazda CX-5 is the SUV for you.

Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5: Interior Space & Features

The Mazda CX-5 interior dimensions offer more room in key areas; the Mazda CX-5 has 39.3 inches of front headroom, while the Toyota RAV4 interior dimensions only offer 37.7 inches of front headroom. Likewise, the Mazda CX-5 brings your rear-seat passengers 39.6 inches of legroom, while the RAV4 only has 37.8 inches of rear legroom. However, front legroom is a tie with 41 inches.

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5 comparison continues with the Toyota RAV4 cargo space measurements. They’re bigger than what the Mazda CX-5 offers, providing 37.6 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats and 69.8 cubic feet behind the front seats; the Mazda CX-5 has 30.8 and 59.3 cubic feet, respectively.

However, while the Mazda CX-5 cargo space specs are a bit smaller, the Mazda CX-5 can offer many more interior luxuries. For example, if you find a base-trim 2023 Mazda CX-5 in our selection of new or used cars for sale, you can expect these highlights as standard features:

  • 10.25-inch infotainment display
  • Leather-trimmed steering wheel
  • Six-way manual driver’s seat
  • One-touch power up/down windows
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert

Looking at Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5 standard features, while the base-trim RAV4 ties with a six-way manual driver’s seat and one-touch up/down power windows, it has a smaller 8-inch digital infotainment display and a urethane-trimmed steering wheel – and also requires an upgrade to get blind-spot monitoring.

And it’s worth noting that the 2023 Toyota RAV4 has a higher starting price than the 2023 Mazda CX-5.

Whether the adventurous, spacious, and efficient RAV4 seems right for you, or the affordable, luxurious, and high-performance Mazda CX-5 strikes your fancy, our premier car dealer in Lexington, KY, has you covered. Find your next Toyota RAV4 or Mazda CX-5 in our online inventory, and get in touch with the Quantrell Auto Group to set up a test drive in Lexington, KY.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Mazda CX-5 better than the RAV4?

The Mazda CX-5 is “better” than the RAV4 thanks to more spacious headroom and legroom, standard AWD, a higher-performance available engine, a faster 0-60-mph time, standard performance features like SKYACTIV®-VEHICLE DYNAMICS With G-Vectoring Control Plus, more upscale standard appointments like a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and standard safety features like blind-spot monitoring.

Is a Toyota RAV4 bigger than a Mazda CX-5?

The Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 are similar in size on the outside, but the Mazda CX-5 offers bigger headroom and legroom measurements once you’re inside. Specifically, the Mazda CX-5 has 39.7 inches of front headroom, 41 inches of front legroom, and 39.6 inches of rear legroom. The Toyota RAV4 has 37.7 inches, 41 inches, and 37.8 inches, respectively.

What is the ground clearance of the Mazda CX-5 compared to the Toyota RAV4?

Comparing Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5 ground clearance reveals that the Toyota RAV4 rides higher over off-road obstacles and challenging terrain. The latest-generation Mazda CX-5 has either 7.6 or 7.9 inches of ground clearance, while the latest Toyota RAV4 models offer 8.1, 8.4, or 8.6 inches of ground clearance, depending on the configuration.



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1Before towing, confirm your vehicle and trailer are compatible, hooked up and loaded properly and that you have any necessary additional equipment. Do not exceed any Weight Ratings and follow all instructions in your Owner’s Manual. The maximum you can tow depends on base curb weight plus the total weight of any cargo, occupants, and added vehicle equipment. “Added vehicle equipment” includes additional standard/optional equipment and accessories added by the manufacturer, dealers, and/or vehicle owners. The only way to be certain of your vehicle’s exact curb weight is to weigh your vehicle without passengers or cargo. [Calculated with the new SAE J2807 method.] Installation of a tow hitch receiver or other accessories located near the rear bumper or side-door kick sensors may require disabling or removing the kick sensor, and the sensor operation setting in your vehicle should be turned off. See Owner’s Manual for limitations.

2Towing capacities shown are maximums and must be reduced by the weight of any passenger, cargo hitch or optional equipment in the towing vehicle. Please refer to vehicle Owner’s Manual for details regarding towing capacities and other valuable information. Towing a trailer will have an effect on the vehicle’s handling, braking, durability, performance and driving economy. For specific information on recommended or required equipment, see your Mazda Dealer. Hitches are available through manufacturers other than Mazda.

3Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary for many reasons, including your vehicle’s condition and how/where you drive. See fueleconomy.gov.

4EPA-estimated mileage. Actual results will vary.

5This information is not verified by the official manufacturer and shall serve solely as unofficial general information. For details, visit: https://www.caranddriver.com/mazda/cx-5-2023

6This information is not verified by the official manufacturer and shall serve solely as unofficial general information. For details, visit: https://www.caranddriver.com/toyota/rav4

7This information is not verified by the official manufacturer and shall serve solely as unofficial general information. For details, visit: https://www.caranddriver.com/toyota/rav4-hybrid

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