Honda CR-V vs. Mazda CX-5

By

Automotive Editor

Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia, but now calls Detroit home. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new food, wrenching on his car, and watching movies.


, Automotive Editor - May 10, 2018

Coming off of a major revision in 2017, the Mazda CX-5 reprises its role as the most enjoyable and prettiest compact SUV on the road with even more technology for 2018. Its captivating ride and gorgeous styling aren't the only notable aspects of the CX-5, which also brings upscale features to the table. Are a pretty face and a sublime chassis enough to help the CX-5 take on the CR-V?

See a side-by-side comparison of the CR-V & CX-5 »

What the CX-5 Gets Right

The CX-5 does away with the notion that small, affordable SUVs can't have a sporty side. Forget about SUVs, the CX-5 is an enjoyable vehicle to drive, period. While the vehicle's precise steering and nimble chassis are world class, the CX-5 is also composed on a rough road, as it's one of the more better-riding SUVs in the segment.

The CX-5's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine plays a large role in the SUV's athletic character. Power is rated at 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. Those figures are marginally better than what the CR-V can muster – 184 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque.

While not a heavy-duty hauler by any means, the CX-5's towing capacity manages to one-up the CR-V's. Mazda's SUV is capable of towing up to 2,000 lbs. That may not be enough to get a lengthy boat onto the water, but it's good enough to pull a small utility trailer.

What the CR-V Gets Right

The CR-V has been the perennial leader in the segment for numerous years, as it's one of the few SUVs that offers everything owners want from a vehicle. Fuel economy is one of the CR-V's strong suits, as the vehicle is rated to get 28 mpg city, 34 mpg hwy, and 30 mpg combined. With cylinder deactivation, the MX-5 manages to get close with a rating of 25 mpg city, 31 mpg hwy, and 28 mpg combined, but the CR-V is clearly the more fuel-efficient vehicle.

For consumers that value cargo capacity and interior space, the CR-V impresses. With the Honda, cargo capacity measures in at 39.2 cubic feet behind the second row. With the second row of seats folded down, the SUV can hold up to 75.8 cubic feet. Those figures are drastically better than what the CX-5 offers – 30.9 cubic feet behind the second row and 59.6 cubic feet behind the front seats.

Interior space is also more impressive in the CR-V. The SUV has a passenger volume of 105.9 cubic feet, while the CX-5 is 2.3 cubic feet behind. To make sense of that figure, the CR-V has more front headroom, rear legroom, and rear shoulder room.

Sportiness Above All Else

The CX-5 is a great buy for drivers that enjoy taking the long way to work. Mazda has built a great all-rounder that is good at doing everything relatively well. Its athletic capability will pull at the heartstrings of drivers. The CR-V, though, is a leader because it has little to no downsides.

Verdict: Honda CR-V

The CR-V may not be as enjoyable to drive on a windy road as the CX-5, but it's better in nearly every other category. It has the cargo capacity, fuel economy, and safety features, thanks to Honda Sensing, that every SUV owner will appreciate.

Take a closer look at the Honda CR-V »

Take a closer look at the Mazda CX-5 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia, but now calls Detroit home. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new food, wrenching on his car, and watching movies.