2012 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2012 Toyota RAV4: Which One Should I Buy?

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.

toyota rav4 2012
2012 Toyota RAV4

Fuel Economy

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.


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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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