The Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V are two compelling choices in compact SUVs. The Honda is the bigger seller of the two, but the Mazda has a lot going for it, making them worth cross-shopping.
Let’s take a closer look at these SUVs and find the right one for you.
2022 Mazda CX-5
The CX-5 has two engine options, and they’re both good. The base engine in most models is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-4 producing 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, and it returns 24 city/30 highway mpg. Pricing starts at $26,250.
The trims with “Turbo” in the name use a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine bringing the performance numbers up to 256 horsepower and a max 320 lb-ft of torque. The EPA rates this engine at 22 city/27 highway mpg.
Every 2022 CX-5 has a 6-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
Mazda CX-5 Highlights
Standard AWD: All-wheel drive (AWD) is optional on the CR-V, but it comes standard on every 2022 CX-5. AWD is an excellent feature for improving all-weather traction, especially if you live in a snowy climate. It also contributes to the superb handling of the CX-5, which makes it one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs in its class.
Luxurious upper trims: Mazda has been growing a solid reputation for premium interiors, and the CX-5 is an excellent example of that. Every CX-5 has an upscale interior design and fine materials, and it gets luxurious in the upper trims. For example, the Turbo Signature model benefits from Nappa leather seats, genuine layered wood trim, a 360-degree camera, and more.
Exciting turbo engine option: The available 2.5-liter turbocharged engine in the CX-5 makes it a thrill to drive. It delivers a significant boost in performance over the base engine, and it’s an excellent match for the superb handling of the CX-5. If you like the idea of a practical compact SUV with the performance of a hot hatch, this is worth a test drive.
2022 Honda CR-V
A 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 powers the Honda CR-V. It delivers similar power and torque ratings as the base engine in the CX-5, but it’s more efficient, partially thanks to the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). It’s rated at 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque and gets up to 28 city/34 highway mpg with front-wheel drive (FWD) and 27 city/32 highway mpg with AWD. Pricing starts at $26,800.
The CR-V doesn’t have a high-performance engine that can match the turbo CX-5, but it does have an economical hybrid option. The CR-V Hybrid features a gas-electric hybrid powertrain, comes standard with AWD, and returns up to 40 city/35 highway mpg. It’s also more powerful than the standard CR-V, with 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque.
Honda CR-V Highlights
Roomy interior: The CR-V has a more spacious interior than the CX-5. Both of these compact SUVs are roomy and comfortable in the front seats, but the Honda has a little more rear-seat space and much more cargo space, making it a more utilitarian choice. The CR-V has 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in place (vs. 30.8 cubic feet in the CX-5) and 75.8 cubic feet with the back seats folded down (59.3 cubic feet in the CX-5).
Great fuel economy: The CR-V is more fuel-efficient than the CX-5 by a considerable margin. According to the EPA, even with AWD, the CR-V has an estimated monthly fuel cost of about $20 less than the CX-5 with the base engine. This is part of what makes the Honda a more practical choice than the Mazda.
Hybrid option: Speaking of great fuel economy, the CR-V Hybrid gets a combined fuel economy rating of 38 mpg. That makes it much more efficient than the CX-5 with either engine, and it makes more power and torque than the base engine in the Mazda. It also comes standard with AWD. However, it still can’t match the performance of the turbocharged CX-5.
Similar starting price
Good standard safety tech features
If you’re looking for maximum practicality, the Honda CR-V is the clearer choice because of its more spacious features and fuel efficiency. However, the Mazda CX-5 has a more luxurious interior in the upper trims and an exciting turbocharged engine option with performance that the Honda can’t match. The CX-5 also has the advantages of standard AWD, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. AWD is optional on the CR-V, and base models of the Honda don’t include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The right SUV depends on your priorities, and wherever those lie, either of these vehicles can offer what you’re looking for.