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2022 Toyota RAV4 vs Mazda CX-5

2022 Toyota RAV4 vs Mazda CX-5

2022 RAV4 vs CX-5 - How Do They Stack Up? Which is Better?

The RAV4 and CX-5 are both capable SUVs that have a good amount of interior space. The 2022 versions of these vehicles have modern technology and advanced safety systems. Many customers are likely to find them to be stylish and practical, with all of their amenities.

There is almost an overwhelming amount of trims choices for people to consider. The RAV4 comes in 12 trims, and that includes a number of hybrid options. There are eight versions of the CX-5. This overview should hopefully provide some use information regarding which model might be better for certain buyers.

The Powertrain

Two options are available for both the Toyota and Mazda. With the Toyota, customers have a choice of a regular engine or a hybrid one. There's also a plug-in hybrid version of the RAV4 called the RAV4 Prime, but this overview will only be going over the regular and hybrid RAV4s. The Mazda SUV has a regular engine and turbocharged engine. All of these options are solid, but obviously, some have advantages over others.

The regular RAV4 runs on a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. It's able to generate 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This amount of power is more than decent, so the average driver should be pleased with how responsive the RAV4 is. The engine is pared with an eight-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission that has a sequential shift mode.

If a hybrid RAV4 is selected, there would be an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. Sequential shift mode would be included, too. The hybrid system also uses a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, but it has the addition of a pair of electric motors. Net horsepower is 219, so the hybrid is actually more capable than its non-hybrid counterpart.

Of course, the hybrid is more efficient, too. It's able to earn up to 41 miles per gallon in the city and 38 miles per gallon on the highway. This is excellent, and it should be great news for anyone concerned about fuel consumption for financial reasons and/or environmental reasons. The regular RAV4 can earn up to 27 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway. This isn't bad, but it's not extremely impressive.

On top of this, a hybrid RAV4 comes standard with electronic on-demand all-wheel drive. Most trims of the non-hybrid RAV4 have all-wheel drive as an option. There are a few trims that come standard with that capability. The Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims are equipped with dynamic torque vectoring all-wheel drive so they can better handle rugged terrain. The TRD Off-Road has TRD-tuned suspension, making it ready for the trails.

Toyota has given its RAV4s a few driving modes. On a standard model, there are Sport, Eco, and Normal drive modes. All-wheel-drive versions have a Multi-Terrain Select program that has modes for mud and sand, rock and dirt, and snow. A hybrid model would have Sport, Eco, Normal, EV, and Trail modes. The Adventure and TRD Off-Road have an additional program called Downhill Assist Control, which limits their speed on slopes.

There isn't an option to get a CX-5 with a hybrid powertrain, at least at this time. The standard engine can earn up to 24 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway. The more powerful engine, which will be described below, can achieve an estimated 22 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway.

That more capable engine is a turbocharged one. It has a displacement of 2.5 liters, and it can make up to 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. Even an average driver would likely be able to notice a difference in its performance compared with either of the RAV4s.

Most CX-5 trims don't have turbochargers, though. Instead, they run on traditional 2.5-liter engines. One of these can make 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. A piece of great news is that Mazda has made all-wheel drive a standard component of every 2022 Mazda CX-5. Higher trims have Off-Road modes, and all use six-speed automatic transmissions with manual shift options and Sport modes.

The CX-5, even if it has the non-turbo engine, can tow more than most RAV4s can. The Mazda has a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. A regular RAV4 is rated to tow up to 1,500 pounds, with the hybrids being able to tow up to 1,750 pounds. The TRD Off-Road and Adventure trims are more powerful, capable of towing up to 3,500 pounds.


Both SUVs handle themselves just fine, even if they're faced with slippery conditions. Clearly, having all-wheel drive makes the vehicle more capable in certain situations. If anyone is going to put an SUV through a tough test, then the TRD Off-Road or the Adventure might be the better choice. Otherwise, any trim of the RAV4 and CX-5 would be a pleasure to drive, with the turbocharged CX-5 being a lot of fun to be in control of.

The size of the vehicle makes a difference in the driving experience. Neither one of these vehicles should have a problem in parking lots or more urban areas. They're pretty much the same size, with a length of around 180 inches. The RAV4 stands a bit taller, both in terms of the height of the frame and its ground clearance. It sits one inch higher off the ground than the CX-5 does. Some people may prefer this higher stance when they're behind the wheel.

Interior space is an important thing to consider when deciding on an SUV. Does a particular vehicle have enough space for five people to fit comfortably, and is there room for cargo as well? The answer to these question is yes, for both the RAV4 and CX-5.

The RAV4 has almost 38 inches of second-row leg room, which should be enough space for most adults. Its rear cargo area has a volume of 37.6 cubic feet, and that is increased to just about 70 cubic feet when the rear seats have been folded down.

Passenger space in the CX-5 is comparable. There is a bit more second-row leg room (39.6 inches) in this vehicle. When the back seats are in their upright position, cargo volume is 30.8 cubic feet. After the seatbacks have been lowered, cargo capacity expands to 59.3 cubic feet. This is a good amount of space, even if it's not quite as much as what the RAV4 offers.

Technology also has to be mentioned when discussing drivability. Modern consumers expect to find many convenient features in new vehicles, and the RAV4 and CX-5 don't disappoint.

The RAV4 comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and SiriusXM. It even has Amazon Alexa and Wi-Fi capability. The lower trims have seven-inch touchscreens, while the higher ones have nine-inch touchscreens. Select models can come with JBL sound systems with 11 speakers, and they can also have integrated navigation.

Every CX-5 has a 10.25-inch full-color display. Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are standard, but SiriusXM is not. SiriusXM is only integrated into the vehicle starting in the middle of the lineup. Plus, the Mazda doesn't have Amazon Alexa. It does have Pandora internet radio integration across the lineup. This provides many entertainment options, just like SiriusXM does. The more sophisticated CX-5s have ten Bose speakers and built-in navigation.

Keeping devices charged can be a concern on long road trips. Fortunately, automotive manufacturers have been thinking about easy solutions to this issues. All CX-5s have two USB ports in the front row, with almost all trims having an additional pair of USB ports that rear-seat passengers can access. The top two CX-5 trims have wireless charging.

Wireless charging can also be found on many trims of the Toyota RAV4. It's not a standard component, however. At least three USB ports are included with every RAV4 SUV, which means that people won't have to compete over charging access. The three standard ports are located in the front storage tray and front center console. There could be two extra ports in the back of the center console within easy reach of someone riding in the back.


It's amazing what modern vehicles can do to keep people safe. The Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 come with multiple driver-assist systems that can be pro-active whenever an issue arises. This can potentially prevent accidents from occurring, or it can at least reduce the severity of certain kinds of impacts.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is the name of the standard safety package that comes with the RAV4. It includes pre-collision braking and the corresponding alert system, lane departure alert with steering assist, and road sign assist. It also offers automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control.

Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are not part of that safety package. These two elements are available on the first two Toyota trims and are standard on all the others. Some trims have front and rear parking assist with an automatic braking function to prevent minor fender benders, and some have 360-degree cameras to provide a complete perspective of what's around them.

A difference with the CX-5 is that it does come standard with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. This is in addition to almost all of the other components that are part of Toyota's basic suite of safety features. The exception is that the CX-5 does not have road sign assist on its lower trims; only its top model has the ability to read signs and remind drivers of them. That top trim has rear parking sensors in the front and rear, and it comes with a 360-degree camera, reverse automatic braking, and a program that alerts drivers when it seems like they're not paying close attention to the roads.

Which Has the Best Value?

These vehicles are so close to each other when it comes to price. The Mazda lineup starts out with a cost of $26,250. After a series of modest increments, there's the nicest non-turbo trim, which is the Premium Plus. It costs $34,300. The Turbo and Turbo Signature are priced at $36,750 and $39,000, respectively.

The RAV4's entry-level option, the LE, costs approximately $27,000. Remember, too, that if the LE were to be equipped with all-wheel drive, it would cost a little bit more. Hybrids are priced slightly higher than their counterparts; the hybrid LE costs about $29,600. At the other end of the lineup, there are the Limited and Hybrid Limited. They come with price tags of $35,475 and $38,075.

The cost for a CX-5 and RAV4 are just about the same, and these vehicles offer very similar components as well. One thing to note is that the RAV4 doesn't have leather seats. Instead, it offers SofTex upholstery. This is a synthetic leather that looks pretty nice, but some buyers will be specifically interested in the leather or Nappa leather seats that can come with the CX-5.

Which is Better?

The matchup between the RAV4 and CX-5 is perhaps a bit too close to call. This is especially true since there really isn't any considerable price difference between the two SUVs. In the end, it will come down to a personal preference. Does someone like the streamlined, upscale look of the CX-5, or does a buyer feel like getting something that feels more durable and rugged?

The RAV4 seems like the more practical choice if people are planning on going on a lot of outdoor adventures and need vehicles that can fit their cargo and match their active lifestyles. It's available in two special trims, the Adventure and TRD Off-Road, that are designed for rugged conditions. The RAV4 is also bigger than the CX-5 is, especially in terms of maximum cargo space. Finally, there's a hybrid option of the Toyota SUV that may be too enticing to pass up.

That being said, there certainly isn't anything to find fault with on the CX-5. Its turbo engine is impressive and will be able to attract attention from performance-oriented customers, and its elegant cabin will make a lot of people happy. It feels more expensive than it really is, and it would be a wise investment as well.

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2021 Toyota RAV4 VS Mazda CX-5
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