Toyota RAV4 vs. CX-5 in 2023: The SUVs You Can’t Afford to Miss

SUVs have come a long way since their inception, from bulky gas guzzlers to sleek and stylish family cars. Among all the new models, some SUVs stand out from the crowd, offering a unique blend of style, performance, and practicality. 

In this article, we’re going to compare two of such SUVs, the Toyota RAV4 and the Mazda CX-5, and see which one offers the best value for your money.

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Quick Comparison Table

Toyota RAV4 vs. CX-5 in 2023: The SUVs You Can't Afford to Miss

Let’s take a quick look at both first.

Mazda CX-5
Toyota RAV4
Sleek, luxurious.
Rugged, aggressive.
Slightly wider.
Slightly taller.
Cargo Space
Not as much performance, but good stability.
Higher performance.
Fuel Economy
Lower gas mileage.
Higher gas mileage.
Decent off-road capabilities.
Great for off-roading.
Towing Capacity
Less towing capacity.
Higher towing capacity.
Starts at $28,000.
Starts at $29,300.

RAV4 Vs. Cx-5 2023

Now, we’ll talk about the main details.

Interior And Exterior Design

Winner: CX-5 for luxury, RAV4 for sportiness.

The CX-5’s signature trim has a luxurious interior with stylish Caturra Brown Nappa leather seats, while the RAV4’s only offers faux leather seats at most, with an otherwise pleasing interior. 

As for exterior, the CX-5 has a sleek, modern exterior with a wider overall width without mirrors. In contrast, the RAV4 has a more rugged, adventure-inspired look.

Size: Is A Toyota RAV4 Bigger Than A Mazda Cx-5?

Winner: Tie.

Yes. Despite having a similar length, the RAV4 is slightly taller and has a larger cargo capacity with all seats in place. 

However, the CX-5 has a narrower overall width with mirrors, which is better for narrower roads.

Cargo Space: Which One Is More Roomy?

Winner: RAV4

The RAV4 has a higher cargo capacity of 37.6 cu.ft. with all seats in place compared to the CX-5, which offers 30.8 cu.ft. 

Not to mention, the maximum cargo capacity of the RAV4 is also much higher. It has 69.8 cu.ft. while the CX-5 only offers 59.3 cu.ft. 

So if carrying heavy loads is your thing or you have a large family, the RAV4 will be roomier.

Performance & Engine Power: Do They Compete Equally?

Winner: RAV4

Both SUVs have similar base engine sizes and fuel efficiency, but the RAV4 has slightly higher performance and acceleration. 

The CX-5 has a more responsive and engaging driving experience, while the RAV4 offers more power and sporty performance. The RAV4 Prime’s 302 horsepower engine gives it even more oomph.

Fuel Economy: Which One Has Better Mileage?

Winner: RAV4

The RAV4 does. It offers better gas mileage both in the city and on the highway, with a combined rating of 30 MPG. The CX-5 is not too far behind, with a combined rating of 26 MPG, but it falls short of the RAV4’s impressive efficiency.

Ground Clearance

Winner: RAV4

If you plan to take your SUV off-road, then the RAV4’s ground clearance is what you need.. Depending on the trim level, it has a higher ground clearance than the CX-5, ranging from 8.1 to 8.6 inches. This gives the RAV4 an edge in off-roading, as it can handle rough terrain with greater ease.


Winner: CX-5

Both the RAV4 and the CX-5 offer all-wheel drive (AWD) and front-wheel drive (FWD) options.

However, the CX-5 offers more AWD options in its trims list.


Winner: RAV4

If you’re looking for an SUV that can handle serious off-roading, the RAV4 is the way to go. 

It offers a variety of trims, including the Adventure and TRD Off-Road, which come with features like hill descent control and higher ground clearance, making them better equipped to handle rough terrain. W

While the CX-5 offers decent off-road capabilities, it’s not designed specifically for this purpose and won’t perform as well in extreme conditions.


Winner: RAV4

If you want to save some money on gas by getting a hybrid SUV, then RAV4 is your best bet. The RAV4 has a plug-in hybrid model with an electric motor and turbocharger, while the CX-5 does not offer a hybrid option. 

Safety Features

Winner: Tie

Both SUVs have lane departure warning and pre-collision safety systems, stability control, traction control, and multiple airbags. 

The CX-5 also has a blind spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, while the RAV4 has hill descent control for better stability on steep declines. 

You can rest assured with either option that there won’t be any injury to you, your passengers or your ride.

Technology & Infotainment

Winner: RAV4

If you like bells and whistles in your car, you’ll be happy to know that both SUVs have impressive tech. 

The CX-5 has a 10.3-inch display, while the RAV4 has a larger 10.5-inch touchscreen display. 

Both have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and the RAV4 also has a JBL premium audio system. 

Towing Capacity

Winner: RAV4

If you plan on towing a trailer or boat, you’ll want the RAV4. It can tow up to 3,500 lbs, while the CX-5 has a max towing capacity of 2,000 lbs. 


Winner: Tie. Depends on needs.

In terms of utility, the Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 both offer optional features in certain trims that make them more practical and handy.

The CX-5 has trims with features like a power liftgate and a heated steering wheel. 

On the other hand, The RAV4’s Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims offer an upgraded all-wheel drive system, hill descent control, and roof rails for extra storage.


Winner: Tie. Depends on budget.

The Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 are both great value options, with the CX-5 starting at $28,000 and the RAV4 at $29,300. 

However, the CX-5’s premium options are more expensive – the highest, going up to as much as $41k. Meanwhile, the standard RAV4’s highest trim only costs $39k-$40k.

Highlights Of 2023 RAV4 Versus Cx-5

Here are the biggest differences between both SUVs:

  • CX-5 has genuine leather seats for a more luxurious interior.
  • RAV4 has larger cargo capacity for carrying heavy loads or large families.
  • CX-5 offers better handling, but not as much raw performance.
  • RAV4 is better equipped for off-roading.
  • Both SUVs have advanced technology, but RAV4 has slightly better entertainment features.

Who Should Buy RAV4 Instead of Mazda CX-5?

The Toyota RAV4 is the car for those who want to save money on gas and avoid costly repairs. It offers excellent fuel economy and top-tier performance.

Who Should Buy CX-5 Instead of Toyota RAV4?

The Mazda CX-5 is the luxury car for those who crave a relaxing driving experience. It’s great handling and responsive steering make it a joy to drive on winding roads.


Which Mazda competes with RAV4 besides CX-5?

CX-30 is another Mazda model that competes with the Toyota RAV4 in terms of features and effectiveness.

Mazda cx-5 vs Toyota RAV4 reliability: Who wins?

Both are reliable but Toyota RAV4 has a slightly better reliability rating.

RAV4 vs cx-5, which one has more resale value?

Toyota RAV4 has a higher resale value compared to Mazda CX-5.

Do the Mazda CX-5 or RAV4 require premium gas?

Neither Mazda CX-5 nor Toyota RAV4 require premium gas. They both run on regular unleaded gasoline.

RAV4 or CX-5 serves as a better family car?

Both SUVs are good family cars but Toyota RAV4 has more cargo space and a better safety rating, making it a slightly better choice for families.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a family-oriented driver looking for space and safety, or a thrill-seeker that loves speed and power, both the RAV4 and CX-5 have something up their sleeves.

So, take your time, give them a test drive and you’ll easily be able to see the differences between both and find your match. 

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Psst: Do You Know The RAV4 Hidden Menu?