2021 Toyota RAV4 vs Mazda CX5 Comparison – Which Compact SUV is Better?

mazda cx5 vs toyota rav4

Japanese carmakers have a knack for making vehicles that not only suit your budget but your soul. And continuous talk on Mazda cx 5 vs Toyota rav4 is the prime example of how Americans are hooked up by them. 

Which one is better when it comes to 2021 Toyota rav4 vs 2021 Mazda cx5? Well, this is the current comparison making its way through the American car lovers as the sport utility market gets more competitive.

We all know, how over the few years, SUVs have become prime vehicles in America. And top makers like Toyota, Mazda, Ford are providing the best of what the automobile industry has to offer.

The debate of Mazda vs Toyota is a never-ending saga, and it got even better with the new trending topic of Toyota rav4 vs Mazda cx5. So today we thought, why not finally talk about this topic and see which compact SUV holds to be better than the other.

In this article, we will talk about both the vehicles individually to explore their strengths & weaknesses and then finally compare them to see which one is a better choice for you if you decide to purchase.

So without any delays, let us get started and see which compact SUV is better.

2021 Mazda CX5

2021 mazda cx-5

Mazda CX5 is one of the best compact sport utility vehicles of 2021. Mazda is a well-known Japanese car brand that launched CX5, an exotic ride in 2012.

2021 Mazda CX5 is a prominent choice in its class due to its engaging handling, refined interior, potent turbocharged engine options, and a long list of standard features.

The high-end safety scores make it highly safe for you, your teenage kid, and your entire family.

Specs & Features

  • MPG: Up to 25 city / 31 highway
  • Horsepower: 187 to 227 hp
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain: FWD, AWD
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Seating: 5

New For Mazda CX-5 2021

The Mazda CX5 got fully redesigned in 2017, and since then, the company has enhanced it by adding new features now and then.

For 2021, the compact CX5 gets a 10.25-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay as the standard features on the ride. Also, the diesel engine is being discontinued by the makers and a brand new trim “Carbon Edition” makes its debut.

Furthermore, to ensure your safety, the features like driver attention monitoring and reverse automatic emergency braking are introduced as optional.

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Offered Trim Levels

With the 2021 Mazda CX5, the company offers seven different trim levels. Each one holds some additional standard and optional features making the base cost elevate as we move from the lowest trim to the highest one.

Sport, Touring, Carbon Edition, Grand Touring, Carbon Edition Turbo, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature are the offered trims of Mazda CX5, and you can choose anyone based on your budget and liking.

2021 Mazda CX5 Price

The latest Mazda CX5 comes with a base selling price of $25,370. However, as we move from the base level trim to the upper ones, the price keeps on increasing.

It means there is a different base price for every trim level. It is the result of the addition of more features as we go up on the trim ladder.

  • Sport– From $25,370
  • Touring– From $27,110
  • CarbonEdition– From $28,955
  • GrandTouring– From $30,560
  • CarbonEdition Turbo- From $30,760
  • Grand TouringReserve– From $35,385
  • Signature– From $37,505

Engine, Power & Performance

2021 CX5 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine paired with 6-speed automatic transmission and optional four-wheel & all-wheel drivetrain.

The vehicle comes standard with 187 horsepower and can boost up to 227 horsepower, and it can go a quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds at 94.9 mph, making it the fastest gas-based SUV out there.

Also, with this compact SUV, you can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in only 6.1 seconds.

mazda cx 5 review

Fuel Efficiency

2021 Mazda CX5 holds good fuel efficiency for a vehicle for its class. The new Mazda can go up to 25 cities and 31 highways, making it easy on your fuel expenses.

Interior & Cargo

Mazda CX5 2021 comes with an upscale interior with high-quality material. This gives CX5 a luxury ride feel. The top trim level even comes with amenities like Nappa leather upholstery & real wood trim pieces.

The SUV offers enough legroom in all two rows and gives good cargo space for the class. It holds a cargo volume of about 30.9 ft³, 59.6 ft³, including the seating area. 

You also get two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats that allow you to have child car seats.

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Just like the other features, with the 2021 Mazda CX5, you get some of the best advanced technology features. 

You get a revised infotainment system along with many driver-assist features.

  • Standard features– A 10.25-inch touch-screen, Mazda Connected Services, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, two USB ports, a four-speaker stereo, and HD Radio.
  • Available features– Navigation, a six-speaker stereo, a 10-speaker Bose sound system, satellite radio, two rear USB ports.
  • Some other available features– dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster display, a moonroof, a universal garage door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and ambient interior lighting.


The 2021 Mazda CX5 is one of the safest rides you can buy this year. This vehicle holds a five-star safety rating from NHTSA and the superior rating (equivalent to 5 stars) from IIHS.

2021 Toyota RAV4

toyota rav4 review

Toyota RAV4 is a compact sport utility vehicle introduced by the Japanese automaker Toyota in the early 90s. The vehicle has been around since and is among the most loves vehicles of America.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 comes with remarkable fuel economy, refined interior, and well-balanced performance. A long list of tech & safety features makes it ideal and worth every single penny you spend.

Toyota RAV4 is among the top choices in the compact SUVs class.

Specs & Features

  • MPG: Up to 28 city / 35 highway
  • Horsepower: 203 hp
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain: FWD, AWD
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Seating: 5

New For Toyota RAV4 2021

The Toyota RAV4 got completely redesigned for the year 2019, so there are no major changes for the model year 2021.

Like all the previous models, you get impressive gas mileage, spacious cabin space, large cargo hold, and many techs & safety features to provide you better driving experience.

Offered Trim Levels

2021 Toyota RAV4 comes with six offered trim levels. Each trim level holds a different base price and holds some more features than their former levels.

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LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, Limited, TRD Off-Road are the offered trim levels from which you can choose your next Toyota RAV4.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Price

The all-new Toyota RAV4 comes with a base market selling price of $26,350. This amount will let you buy the LX trim of the model lineup.

But you move up in the hierarchy, the initial price for each trim keeps on increasing. The price includes the addition of many advanced safety and technology features in the model.

  • LE– From $26,350
  • XLE– From $27,645
  • XLEPremium– From $30,350
  • Adventure– From $33,455
  • Limited– From $34,880
  • TRDOffRoad– From $36,080

Engine, Power & Performance

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 comes packed with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine packed with 8-speed automatic transmission and optional four-wheel & all-wheel drivetrain.

The engine can boost up to 203 horsepower, and you can achieve the top speed of 120 miles per hour and reach the acceleration of 60 miles per hour in just 5.7 seconds.

The posed handling makes your driving experience a lot better than its competitors in the class.

2021 toyota rav4 vs 2021 mazda cx5

Fuel Efficiency

Toyota RAV4 2021 holds excellent fuel efficiency for a compact sport utility vehicle. With the new launch, you can go up to 28 cities and 35 highways saving money on your regular expense of fuel.

The vehicle says to hold the best fuel economy in the compact SUV class for 2021.

Interior & Cargo

The 2021 RAV4’s cabin comes with a modern design filled with aesthetically pleasing yet good materials. 

This Toyota might not give you the all luxury vibes, but the utility, comfort, and opulence it offers cannot be neglected. But as you move up the trim lineup, you will find all the features becoming better.

2021 RAV4 holds a cargo space of 37.6 cubic feet which decreases slightly as we move up the trim levels. The rear folding seats provide you more room for the cargo, however, it still is less in comparison to its rivals like Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester in the class.


This Toyota holds many standards and advanced technology features for the users to explore. Some of the top features that you can expect are listed below:

  • Standard features– A 7-inch touch screen, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a six-speaker stereo
  • Available features- an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, wireless device charging, an 11-speaker JBL sound system, and four additional USB ports
  • Some other available features- push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, and a panoramic moonroof


2021 Toyota RAV4 holds a five-star safety rating from NHTSA and a superior rating (equivalent to 4 stars) from IIHS.

Mazda Cx 5 Vs Toyota Rav4 – Which One Is Better?

The debate on Toyota vs Mazda is never going to rest as both the automakers hold a similar origin and somehow provide the equivalent features. 

Both are automobile tycoons and hold very high praise in the American car market for their safety & reliability.

With 2021 almost through the nine months, the year has one of the best SUVs launches of the year. The popular ones are getting attention, and we have a new fight of Mazda cx 5 vs Toyota rav4.

People are asking Mazda cx-5 vs Toyota rav4 2021, which one out of the two is a better model. This debate let us write this article, and in this section, we will explore which SUV holds the upper hand in which feature, and more.

1. Price

Winner: 2021 Toyota RAV4

The first measure to determine Mazda CX 5 vs Toyota RAV4 is the price.

The Toyota RAV4 comes with six trim levels, and the base price for the model lineup is $26,250, which is slightly above average for the compact SUV class. The price elevate from the base level to the highest level trim that cost around $36,080.

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Whereas the entry-level Mazda CX5 offers seven trim levels in which the base level trim can be yours for $25,370, and the highest trim costs about $37,505. The Mazda CX5 holds one of the most expensive highest level trim in the compact SUV class, whereas the Toyota RAV4 holds the expensive base model. Even the most expensive trim of Toyota is cheaper than that of Mazda.

Thus, to sum it up, Toyota RAV4 is much affordable than the Mazda CX5.

2. Cargo Space

Winner: 2021 Toyota RAV4

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 holds good cargo space in the compact SUV class. It holds about 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space excluding the seating area which drops to 37.5 cubic feet in the XLE, XLE Premium, and Limited trims.

But if you fold the rear seats, you get a cargo hold of 69.8 cubic feet regardless of the trim level.

On the other hand, the 2021 Mazda CX5 has below-average cargo space. You get 30.9 cubic feet of cargo without a seating area, and it can be extended to a total of 59.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Thus, when it comes to cargo 2021 Toyota RAV4 has the upper hand.

3. Interior Quality

Winner: 2021 Mazda CX5

Both Mazda cx 5 vs Toyota rav4 hold attractive and functional interiors. However, Mazda holds the quality of a luxury brand in comparison to Toyota.

The Mazda CX5 is like a luxury ride. Even the lowest level trims include high-end materials that add to the interior. The simplistic design makes it an eye-pleaser. The Nappa leather upholstery & rear wood trim are the rare features that one can see in this class.

The RAV4 interior holds a modern design with extremely soft touchpoints, but it is nowhere near the CX5. Toyota RAV4 holds a more rugged look than the Mazda.

The higher trim levels of RAV4 hold better interior quality than the lowes ones, and they also include synthetic leather seats, unique stitching, and special interior accents as optional features.

So, in a nutshell, Mazda CX5 holds better interior quality than the Toyota RAV4.

4. Seating Comfort

Winner: 2021 Toyota RAV4

Both of the compact SUVs offer spacious interiors. The first row in both models possesses enough legroom and comfortable seats.

However, the Mazda CX5 has a little cramped up rear seats. The rear seats of the ride are ideal for two adults, but it is reasonable for two. The long trips can be troublesome for the person seating in the middle of the rear seat.

On the other hand, RAV4 does not have power-adjustable passenger seats but holds a taller roofline. This makes it seating the rear of this car much more comfortable. Furthermore, this Toyota is better at accommodating three adults in its rear seats.

Thus, Toyota RAV4 provides the best seating comfort out of the two.

5. Top Features

Winner: 2021 Mazda CX5

The Mazda CX5 gets some major updates for 2021. It now comes with a standard 10.25-inch touchscreen and Mazda’s latest infotainment system.

Along with this, you get other standard features like WiFi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, HD radio, and more. CX5 holds the largest standard touchscreen in the class.

However, the Toyota RAV4 comes with many good tech features, but they cannot match the standard feature list of CX5.

This SUV comes with a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, WiFi hot spot, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, and a six-speaker audio system.

Sure the RAV4 has a better standard audio system but has a smaller touch screen which is in no comparison to the CX5 infotainment system.

Both of these compact SUVs offer a premium audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, a moonroof, keyless entry (proximity), and a universal garage door opener (optional feature).

6. Top Speed & Acceleration

Winner: 2021 Mazda CX5

2021 Mazda CX5 comes with a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine capable of producing 187 horsepower. The engine is paired up with six-speed automatic transmission helping in precise shifts. It is one of the most powerful engines for the compact class.

The second engine of Mazda is another 2.5 liter one that can boast 277 horsepower. This turbocharged engine gives CX5 a much sportier outlook. 

With Mazda CX5, you can cover a quarter-mile in just 14.6 seconds at 94.9 mph speed and can accelerate to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds.

On the other hand, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 comes with a single 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 203 horsepower.

With front-wheel drive as standard, this off-road ride can attain a top speed of 120 mph and accelerate to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds.

Thus, when asked Mazda cx 5 vs Toyota rav4 which one is better at speed, MazdaCX5 is a clear winner.

7. Fuel Economy

Winner: 2021 Toyota RAV4

2021 Mazda CX5 offers decent fuel efficiency in the compact SUV class. However, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 is one of the most fuel-efficient models in its class.

Mazda CX5 gets 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Whereas, Toyota RAV4 gets 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

So when there is Mazda cx 5 vs Toyota rav4 situation in terms of fuel economy, Toyota is a clear winner.

8. Ride & Handling

Winner: 2021 Mazda CX5

Mazda holds a strong reputation for making vehicles that have exceptional athleticism, and the all-new CX5 is no exception to it. This compact SUV comes with the best handling. It offers a comfortable ride and even stays smooth over the rough pavements.

The Toyota RAV4 is a comfortable ride, and its suspension does a fine job of absorbing bumps. However, RAV4 lacks the athleticism of CX5 to a big extent.

9. Towing

Winner: 2021 Mazda CX5

Both the SUVs are not heavy-duty compact SUVs which means they are only capable of towing small things. The CX5 can tow up to 2,000 pounds, while the RAV4 can tow up to 1,500 pounds.

The difference is that all the offered trims of CX5 can tow 2,000 pounds, whereas the Adventure & TRD Off-Road trims of RAV4 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

But the standard towing capacity of Mazda holds better than RAV4, and Mazda wins easily.

10. Safety

Winner: 2021 Mazda CX5

2021 Mazda CX5 holds a five-star rating from both NHTSA and IIHS. However, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 holds a five-star rating from NHTSA and a star rating from IIHS.

Both the SUVs come with the standard advanced safety and driver assistance aids. They come standard with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and more.

When we talk about 2021 Mazda cx 5 vs 2021 Toyota rav4, CX5 offers more thus, beating RAV4 on this account.

11. Final Verdict

Winner: 2021 Mazda CX5

The winner of the Mazda cx 5 vs Toyota rav4 debate is the 2021 Mazda CX5. Both the SUVs offer well and perform accordingly in the compact SUV class, but the Mazda offers more than Toyota.

Mazda holds better speed, safety features, acceleration, interior quality & features, and more. There are some specs in which RAV4 takes over the CX5, but overall, the 2021 Mazda CX5 is a better choice.

Top FAQs About 2021 toyota rav4 vs 2021 mazda cx5

How does the Mazda CX-5 vs Toyota RAV4 comparison look like?

When we compare the Mazda CX5 to Toyota RAV4, both the compact SUVs turn out to be among the best in their class.

Toyota beat Mazda in terms of the base selling price, size, cargo space, whereas Mazda takes lead in terms of tech & safety features, interior quality, engine performance, and speed.

Thus, to sum it all up, the 2021 Mazda CX5 holds an upper hand in comparison to the 2021 Toyota RAV4.

As of 2021, Mazda is the topmost reliable automobile brand in the world. Toyota sure has the reputation of being a reliable brand, but this time Mazda outrun it.

One should not be shocked as both these brands are of Japanese origin, and the Japanese automobile industry is well known for their safe & reliable vehicles.

Mazda brand is more reliable than Toyota at present. However, when it comes down to the individual models, the CX5 holds a 4.5-star reliability rating making it number one in the midsize SUV class.

But when you consider the severity and frequency of repairs, RAV4 has the lowest possibility for both thus, making it one of the most reliable vehicles you can buy this year.

CX5 is 4550mm long, 1680mm tall, and 1840mm wide making it slightly shorter than the RAV4 and other compact SUVs like Hyundai Tucson, Nissan X-Trail, etc.

But in its class, Mazda CX5 had a 2700mm wheelbase which is larger than most of its peers.


The above article describes well what the 2021 Toyota RAV4 and 2021 Mazda CX5 are made of and what they offer.

With the detailed discussion, we ended the debate of Mazda cx 5 vs Toyota rav4 with 2021 Mazda CX5 as the winner. We hope you enjoy reading this and do tell you which compact SUV impressed you the most.

Dylan Miller

I am a Chicago native and regular contributor to "Locar Deals". I have a master's degree in English, am an automobile content creation specialist, and have written professionally for a variety of automotive companies over the past few years. I write on a variety of vehicles, from high-end luxury cars to ten-year-old gas guzzlers and everything in between. And I love sharing valuable car buying tips with consumers from all walks of life.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Vivian Valencia

    Great reviews!! Amazed at MAZDA and this just made what I though true! Toyota is really nice, but Mazda is better, I just found this out just recently when my own daughter purchased a Mazda Cx-5, I was really blown away. Never knew how great Mazda truly is. You were very neutral on your review! Loved that!!

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