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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Chris

21 years of experience
1828 reviews
Chris
21 years of experience
Chevrolet G20 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Laguna Niguel, California
We did a pre-purchase inspection and Chris was incredible. He was very thorough, was clear and vocal about all of the potential issues we'd face in buying the camper. He gave rough estimates for fixing everything and an overall recommendation for what he thought the vehicle was worth. Priceless advice for a very affordable fee.
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Eliud

22 years of experience
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Eliud
22 years of experience
BMW X5 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Loganville, Georgia
My mechanic was very knowledgeable and took the time to answer all my questions. I will definitely use again.
BMW 535d xDrive - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Loganville, Georgia
GReat service and even arrived earlier than our appointment which worked great for me. Was willing to answer all of my questions

Jason

14 years of experience
188 reviews
Jason
14 years of experience
Dodge Charger - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Carteret, New Jersey
Jason came on time, explained the procedure and immediately started the pre-purchase inspection on my 2012 Dodge Charger. Very thorough, very knowledgeable! I’ll be using YourMechanic for the suggested maintenance and repairs.
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I truly appreciate Jason’s professionalism and the fact that he was quite detailed in his inspection of my vehicle. As a result, I now feel much more confident in my purchase and will utilize Jason’s services in the future.

Pierre

8 years of experience
98 reviews
Pierre
8 years of experience
Subaru Impreza - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Revere, Massachusetts
My husband and I had Pierre take a look at a car for us before we bought it. He was super communicative with us, letting us know that he was running behind and would be a little late. When he did the inspection the guys at dealership were very impressed by Pierre and his thoroughness. After his inspection he gave us a full list of what he found and his professional opinion on the vehicle. Pierre's assessment gave us the confidence to purchase the car.
Hyundai Elantra - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Arlington, Massachusetts
Was running a bit late but called well ahead to let me know. Extremely professional, would recommend to anybody in the area. 10/10

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