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2020 Mazda CX-5 vs Honda CR-V

2020 Mazda CX-5 vs Honda CR-V

2020 CX-5 vs CR-V - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

Sport-utility vehicles have been some of the top-selling vehicles in North America for over a decade now. They offer a number of practical benefits that appeal to a diverse crowd of drivers. An SUV provides more room for both passengers and cargo. Many can also tow a boat or trailer along for the ride. But not everyone wants or needs a large vehicle. This is where crossover vehicles and compact SUVs come in.

Crossovers, like the name suggests, are a nice mix between an SUV and a standard car. They provide more seats or cargo space than your average sedan. Their smaller size makes them easier to maneuver and provides driving dynamics more akin to a car than an SUV. Crossovers and smaller SUVs have become increasingly popular in the last few years. Two excellent examples of these vehicles are the Mazda CX-5 and the Honda CR-V.

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 is an affordable, compact, crossover SUV. Honda's 2020 CR-V is a popular mid-sized SUV that falls within a similar price range. Both offer reliability and a good amount of cargo space. Both vehicles also provide great performance and fuel efficiency. We will take a look at how these two vehicles stack up against each other in several different categories.

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The Powertrain

Mazda's 2020 CX-5 comes with two different engines depending on the trim level. The base engine is a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder. It produces around 187 horsepower with 186 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 revolutions-per-minute (rpm). It's a peppy engine with great acceleration and plenty of passing power at higher speeds.

Mazda also offers a turbocharged version of this engine on their Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models. The turbocharger increases the horsepower up to a whopping 250 with 320 pounds-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm. This engine is noticeably quicker and can get you from 0 to 60 miles-per-hour in just 6.2 seconds.

Both engines come paired with a 6-speed automatic-transmission system. The transmission has a sport mode for quicker acceleration off the starting point. Drivers can also manually shift through the gears if they desire to do so. Most trim levels offer front-wheel drive or Mazda's i-ACTIV all-wheel drive. The higher trim packages automatically tack on all-wheel drive with Mazda's Off-Road Traction Assist.

The base engine with front-wheel drive should get around 25 miles-per-gallon (mpg) in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. A CX-5 equipped with all-wheel drive will see a loss of just 1 mpg in both driving categories. Turbocharged models get around 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 uses 4-wheel disc brakes and diagonal hydraulics. An anti-lock brake system is standard on all models. Every trim level will also have Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist. The brake system is smooth yet powerful. Mazda makes it easy to stop on a dime even at higher speeds.

Mazda offers good reliability. In the event of a premature breakdown, they provide decent warranty coverage. The CX-5 has basic coverage 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. The powertrain is covered for up to 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The standard 2020 Honda CR-V only has one engine type. Honda also offers a hybrid model in all of the same trim levels as the regular CR-V. The standard, gasoline engine is a 1.5-liter, inline-4-cylinder with a turbocharger. This small but powerful engine can crank out 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid models offer 212 horses under the hood with 129 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm.

Both CR-V models come equipped with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). This may feel like a different driving experience for drivers who are used to a traditional gear system. Still, the transmission works smoothly just as intended. A Sport Mode setting is available for more athletic acceleration and performance.

A Honda CR-V with a gasoline engine can be had with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Hybrid models get Honda's Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System. The standard CR-V gets around 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg during highway driving. This dips slightly in models with all-wheel drive. Hybrid CR-V models get an impressive, combined-fuel-economy rating of 38 mpg.

All models of the CR-V get strong disc brakes on all four wheels. The brakes up front are ventilated and power assisted. There are solid disc brakes in the back. Honda's warranty is the same as what Mazda has to offer. A 2020 CR-V is covered for 3 years or 36,000 miles with the powertrain covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Honda is a company that is known for reliability. Their engines, in particular, have a good reputation for durability and long life. In vehicle-longevity studies, no other brand maintained a higher percentage of vehicles on the road than Honda did between 1988 and 2012.


Mazda's CX-5 can comfortably seat up to five people. It offers around 30.9 cubic-feet of storage space behind the rear seats. When the back seats are folded down, the cargo capacity can be expanded up to 59.6 cubic feet. This SUV can tow around 2,000 pounds.

The CX-5 features a quiet interior that keeps out engine and road noise. Steering and handling are excellent, making the CX-5 enjoyable to drive. The interior is attractive with an upscale look and feel to it. A keyless-entry system and push-button start is standard on all trim levels.

The front seats are comfortable and supportive. The rear seats are less so, but still as good as anything else on the road. The base model comes with manually-adjustable seats. The top trims offer 8-way power adjustments and lumbar support. A CX-5 can also be had with heated and ventilated seats for every row.

The infotainment system is modern but easy to use. The controls are all within easy reach of the driver. Bluetooth technology allows for easy connectivity for smartphones and other devices. A 7-inch, full-color, touch-screen display is standard with an 8-inch screen available on higher trim levels. A Bose sound system with 10 speakers is also available.

Honda's CR-V can also seat up to five average-sized adults. It offers a bit more cargo space than the Mazda CX-5. Owners will get 39.2 cubic-feet with the seats in their natural positions and 75.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded back. The towing capacity is lower than the Mazda at only 1,500 pounds.

In the CR-V cabin, the seats are nicely sculpted to hug the driver and front passenger. Honda has given the interior an upscale and modern appearance. There's a lot of head, leg and elbow room at every row. This makes for comfortable rides even over long distances. The interior stays quiet, but just a bit less so than Mazda's CX-5.

There's a lot of nice touches on the higher trim levels. Some of these include faux wood trim, brushed satin and chromed finishes. The materials are all top notch and the fit and finish is excellent. Honda even includes real-leather trim for the upholstery. Heated front seats and dual-zone climate control keep everyone nice and comfortable.

The infotainment system features a 5-inch LCD screen for the base model. Higher trims get a 7-inch, touchscreen display. The audio system also depends on the trim package. At the bottom tier, you get a basic stereo and four speakers. At the top, you'll see a 330-watt system with 10 speakers and a subwoofer.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be found on both of these SUVs. Mazda has the nicer technology between the two for connectivity and hands-free use. The sound systems are about the same, though Honda wins out at the highest trim level. Honda's lower trims are kind of bare bones while Mazda provides a lot of tech at every trim level.

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, NADAguides, CarsDirect & & Motortrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.


The 2020 Mazda CX-5 comes packed with safety and security features. Best of all, most of them are standard for every trim level. You get dual front airbags. There are also front side-impact air bags. Side-impact air curtains provide even more protection. Every seating position gets 3-point seat belts.

The CX-5 comes equipped with a blind-spot monitor and a rear-view camera. Lane-keeping assist is standard on all models. This also includes Mazda's lane-departure warning system. A traction control system and dynamic-stability control keep the vehicle nice and stable. A tire-pressure monitor helps keep the tires inflated to a safe level.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named the Mazda CX-5 a Top safety Pick for 2020. It gets a "Good," rating in every category under "Crashworthiness." It's "Crash avoidance & mitigation," ratings range from "Acceptable," to "Superior." The CX-5 was engineered with ring-structure unibody design and side-impact door beams.

The 2020 Honda CR-V has the same amount of airbags, but it adds a smart-airbag system. This mitigates the chance of accidental discharges. Like the Mazda, it also offers 3-point seat belts for every occupant. It has what Honda calls an Advanced Compatibility Engineering body construction. This is comparable to the safety designs of the Mazda.

Honda equips every model with a lane-keeping assist system and a blind-spot monitor. It also gets a tire-pressure monitor and a multi-angle, rear-view camera. It has comparable stability and traction-control systems to those found on the Mazda as well. Both vehicles have standard security alarms for theft prevention.

Just like the CX-5, Honda's SUV was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It gets the same ratings under "Crashworthiness." It gets similar ratings for "Crash avoidance & mitigation," with one exceptions. The base-model's headlights are ranked lower than the Mazda's. They both become equal, however, when you move up to higher trim packages.

Which Has the Best Value?

The 2020 Honda CR-V has a starting price of $25,050. The 2020 Mazda CX-5 has a starting cost of $25,190. The small difference here is negligible. The Honda offers better fuel economy. This may make it cheaper to own and maintain in the long run. This is especially true when comparing the hybrid model to Mazda's CX-5. There's no doubt that the Honda owner will save big at the gas pump.

Another point in Honda's favor is the manufacturer's reputation for making durable vehicles. The engines are renowned for their ability to rack up the miles and just keep going. Fewer repairs and a longer-lasting vehicle may make the Honda a more economical choice.

The Mazda has a few things in its favor as well. It's packed with more comfort and convenience features at the base level. This makes it a great bargain, as one might need to move up to a higher trim level with the Honda to get what the Mazda has to offer. Mazda has the better infotainment system and driver-assist technology at every trim level. These things must also be considered when comparing the value of the two vehicles.

Which is Better?

Which vehicle is better will depend on what the driver is ultimately looking for. One really can't go wrong with either of these fine SUVs. Both seat the same number of passengers, so the size of your family may be irrelevant. The Honda offers more cargo space, though. If you're the type that needs to haul around a lot of cargo, the Honda may be your best bet.

The Honda CR-V has a lot going for it due to Honda's reputation. It's going to outlast almost everything else on the road. If you like to replace your vehicles regularly, however, this may not be a factor. If fuel economy is your priority, go with the hybrid Honda. If driving dynamics are your priority, the Mazda wins out here. Also consider that Honda's Continuously-Variable Transmission may not provide the driving feel that you're looking for.

Both vehicles are comfortable with tons of interior room. The Mazda has better technology and more comfort features and perks. This is especially true at the lower trim levels. If you plan on long road trips and lengthy commutes, you may be better off with the Mazda. It can also tow more than the Honda, making it better for bringing along the boat or trailer.

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