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Mazda CX-5 vs. Honda CR-V: A Comprehensive Breakdown

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When you’re in the market for a new vehicle these days, one of the first things you’re likely to notice is how many similar types of vehicles are on the market right now. It used to be that you’d have two or three choices in any category, but not often much more than that. These days though, even in a relatively small field like the crossover SUV, there are a lot of models out there. Choosing between two of the most popular models like the CX-5 and the CR-V can be difficult, which is why we’ve put together a breakdown comparing the Mazda CX-5 vs. Honda CR-V. 

In this article, you’ll learn the core features and performance functions of both models, which is better at what, and any core differences that matter for consumers. 

We’ll also talk a little about which model will work better for which kind of consumer to help you home in on which option will work better for you and your family. 

Mazda CX-5 vs. Honda CR-V General Overview

Both of these models are crossover SUVs from Japanese manufacturers, and both are incredibly popular in the US market. Looking at the two vehicles, it can sometimes be hard to tell them apart if you don’t know what you’re looking for. 

Both models are relatively stylish, with a variety of bright colors and similar sizing and features. They even have a similar MRSP, with both vehicles selling in the range of $25k. Prices depend on market factors and trim level, of course, but there aren’t many models as similar as these two. 

Let’s take a closer look at both models and how they perform individually before we get into a head-to-head comparison. 


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Mazda CX-5 

The Mazda CX-5 is a 5-seat compact SUV with a 14.8-gallon gas tank, relatively good fuel efficiency, and relatively spacious for both passengers and cargo. 

Like the CR-V, the Mazda CX-5 has a 4-cylinder engine, but the design is a little different. The inline design and larger oil capacity are worth noting if you’re considering this model. It’s not a huge difference but may mean that oil changes are a little more expensive. 

In terms of fuel economy, the Mazda CX-5 should get about 25 MPG city driving and averages 31 MPG on the highway. A front-wheel drive train helps make this SUV highly maneuverable but also means it’s not as heavy-duty as all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive designs. 

It’s worth noting that the Mazda CX-5 is a little less fuel-efficient than some similar models, including the CR-V, with lower MPG and higher average emissions per mile. 

High safety ratings and a lot of additional comfort features make the Mazda CX-5 a great option when it comes to driving and commuting. High crash rating scores are a great sign of the overall safety of the vehicle, and it includes all the standard airbags and other safety measures you’d expect on a modern vehicle. 

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is an incredibly popular model and has consistently been one of Honda’s best performers in terms of consumer satisfaction and road performance. The CR-V might only have a 4 cylinder engine, but it’s still got plenty of “get up and go,” and the kind of acceleration performance you’d expect from a more powerful engine. 

This crossover is designed for people who want a larger or more hard-wearing vehicle but aren’t looking for the rugged performance of a true SUV or a truck. It’s highly fuel-efficient and gets an average 28 MPG city driving and 35 MPG on the highway. 

That also means slightly lower annual emissions if you’re looking for an SUV that’s a little more environmentally friendly. The hybrid version of more recent CR-V releases is also a good upgrade for people looking to save at the pump or get a greener vehicle. 

However, just because the Honda CR-V is a little more fuel-efficient doesn’t mean you won’t need to go to the pump just as often as a Mazda CX-5. That’s because the Honda CR-V has a slightly smaller fuel tank, only a flat 14 gallons instead of the Mazda’s 14.8. 

At 190 HP, the CR-V offers more impressive performance than you’d expect. That’s partially because CR-Vs come with a standard constantly-variable transmission. The transmission design means you have a little less direct control of your CR-V, but it also means that it will handle a wider variety of driving styles and terrain gracefully. 


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Model Pros and Cons

If you’re looking for a head-to-head comparison Mazda CX-5 vs. Honda CR-V, you’re in the right place. These vehicles have a lot of important similarities, but there are some critical differences in the pros and cons that might help you decide which option is best for you. 

We’re going to leave out things like safety and performance since both models are mostly similar in those respects. Instead, we’ll focus on what each model does better or worse. 

Mazda CX-5 


  • Good all-weather performance
  • Lots of features included in the basic trim level
  • Plenty of cargo space
  • Comfortable design
  • Slightly better-towing capacity


  • Fewer trim options
  • Slightly lower cruising range
  • Higher emissions and slightly lower fuel efficiency

Honda CR-V


  • High fuel efficiency for its size
  • Good acceleration and braking performance
  • Available in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive
  • Lots of trim levels to choose from
  • Advanced models have a lot of in-cabin features standard
  • Great for class maneuverability and performance


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  • Continuously variable transmission gives you less direct control
  • Slightly lower towing capacity

Which Crossover SUV is Right For You?

Choosing between two such similar models can be difficult, so hopefully, this Mazda CX-5 vs. Honda CR-V review will help give you the information you need to make the decision. 

As a note, at the same trim level, the CR-V tends to be just a little more affordable. While both models have great ratings overall, the CR-V tends to have more features on paper but performs slightly worse in professional head-to-head comparisons. 

That said, the CR-V also tends to be more popular in the US market and holds value incredibly well. The Mazda also performs well and is a reasonably popular car. But it also depends on what you’re looking for. For an environmentally friendly car, the CR-V offers slightly improved performance and even has slightly better power ratings. But the Mazda CX-5 is more heavily tested and has crash test performances the CR-V doesn’t, which might make it the safer option of the two.

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