Mid-size crossover SUVs are an excellent option when you need to take several friends along with you, or bring your kids along and yet still need to keep a tight leash on your purchase cost as well as your ongoing costs. While these smaller SUVs are definitely more expensive than a sedan, they are nowhere near the cost of the larger SUVs or vans.
The Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota RAV4 both offer great handling, with RAV4 beating the sluggish acceleration of the CX-5, whose engine can lack power when you need it. While the space inside is overall very good, the optional third row in both offerings is on the small side and the rear-mounted spare in the RAV4 makes it seem like an afterthought.
The fuel economy for the Mazda CX-5 is quite a bit higher than the RAV4, with the RAV4 only providing 22 mpg city / 28 mpg highway. The Mazda CX-5 gives 26 miles per gallon city and a whopping 35 mpg highway; almost unheard-of in its class. The much smaller fuel tank in the CX-5 at 14.8 gallons versus the 15.9 gallon RAV4 means you'll be pulling into the gas station on a regular basis - probably as much as one more time per month than if you had chosen the RAV4.
Crash Test Ratings
The CX-5 gives a slightly higher overall crash test rating, with 5 stars for nearly all of the different categories with the exception of overall rating, frontal driver and passenger barrier rating, and rollover rating. The side pole driver front seat rating for the RAV4 is dismal at only 2 stars and several other ratings areas lost stars as well. Overall, the RAV4 seems to lack the needed safety features to rate well in overall ratings.
Engine and Performance
The engine is where you really start to see the differences between the two SUVs; with the RAV4 delivering a 2.5L naturally aspirated gas inline-4 and the less-peppy Mazda CX-5 offering a 2.0L inline-4. The 4-speed automatic of the RAV4 definitely overpowers the 6-speed manual transmission of the CX-5.
Either SUV offers a variety of options for the cost-conscious crossover SUV buyer; just check out the details to be sure you're getting exactly the vehicle that you want. The Toyota will deliver the goods when it comes to acceleration for sure.