2021 CX-5 vs Rav4

2021 CX-5 vs. 2021 RAV4

Mazda’s CX-5 and Toyota’s RAV4 are two of the most popular compact crossover SUVs on the mainstream auto market. As two of the most high-performing vehicles in the current trendiest vehicle segment in the auto industry, the CX-5 vs. RAV4 is a hot competition. 

These two compact crossover SUVs are both made by reputable automakers, they are both two-row crossover models that seat 5 passengers, and they are both renowned for their impressive performance on the road. 

If you’re in the market for a compact crossover SUV like so many other drivers are, it can be difficult to make a choice between the CX-5 and the RAV4. Here’s how the 2021 Mazda CX-5 and the 2021 Toyota RAV4 measure up to each other in some of the most important areas. 

Drive Performance 

The Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota RAV4 offer similar levels of top-quality drive performance on the road. Both the 2021 CX-5 and the 2021 RAV4 come equipped with a 2.5-L inline-four base engine; the base engine of the CX-5 delivers 187 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque, and that of the RAV4 delivers 203 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. 

The CX-5 comes equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission and the RV4’s engine pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is also available for both the 2021 CX-5 and the 2021 RAV4 models. 

Both the CX-5 and the RAV4 are available with multiple engine options for the 2021 model year. The 2021 CX-5 is available with a 2.5-L turbocharged inline-four engine that delivers an impressive 250 horsepower on the road. The 2021 RAV4 is available in a hybrid model, which comes equipped with a 2.5-L four-cylinder engine that pairs with two electric motors to offer 219 horsepower combined. 

In-Cabin Space 

In terms of passenger room, the 2021 CX-5 and the 2021 RAV4 offer comparable headroom in both their front and rear rows and similar legroom in their front rows.

2021 CX-5 vs Rav4 cabin space

However, the CX-5 offers almost two more inches of legroom than the RAV4 in its rear row. 

As far as available cargo space, the RAV4 beats the CX-5. The 2021 CX-5 offers just 59.6 cubic feet of cargo volume, whereas the 2021 RAV4 has 69.8 cubic feet of space available for cargo. 

Fuel Efficiency 

In terms of fuel efficiency, the 2021 RAV4 beats the 2021 CX-5 by several MPG. A 2021 CX-5 model equipped with its base engine and front-wheel drive gets up to 25 MPG on city streets and 31 MPG on the highway for a combined average fuel efficiency of approximately 28 MPG. 

A base-model, front-wheel-drive-equipped RAV4, on the other hand, can reach up to 27 MPG on city streets and up to 35 MPG on the highway—its combined average fuel efficiency is 31 MPG. 

Plus, the 2021 RAV4 hybrid model offers a much more impressive fuel economy, reaching up to 41 MPG in the city and up to 38 MPG on the highway with a combined average gas mileage of 39-40 MPG. 

Special Features 

Both the 2021 CX-5 and the 2021 RAV4 are available with special and unique features that set them apart from each other. These special features are difficult to directly compare between the two models, but the unique features available for both the CX-5 and the RAV4 may be tie-breaking features for many drivers. 

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 offers more agile acceleration and a sportier feel on the road than Toyota’s 2021 RAV4. The CX-5 also has a more stand-out style both inside and out. Its exterior features a bold S-curve that helps give it a more elegant look and sets it apart from other compact SUVs on the road, whereas the RAV4 has a more traditional appearance. Its interior also has a more upscale look and feel than the cabin of the RAV4. 

The 2021 Toyota RAV4, on the other hand, offers higher reliability than the CX-5. It is also available with special off-roading features in certain trim levels, whereas the CX-5 is not as well-equipped for adventuring over rougher terrains. The 2021 RAV4 can also tow up to 3,500 lbs and the 2021 CX-5 has a maximum towing capacity of just 2,000 pounds. 


The 2021 Mazda CX-5 and the 2021 Toyota RAV4 have similar pricing models. The base-model 2021 CX-5 has a starting price of $26,545, while the base-model 2021 RAV4’s starting price is only slightly higher at $27,325. 

Interestingly, the 2021 CX-5 and the 2021 RAV4 switch places in terms of which one is pricier when it comes to the top-tier trim levels of each of these models. The top-tier CX-5 Signature model has a starting price of $38,680, whereas the top-tier TRD Off-Road trim level of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 is available starting at a slightly lower price of $37,055. 

If you’re in the market for a compact crossover SUV, you can’t really go wrong with either the 2021 Mazda CX-5 or the 2021 Toyota RAV4. Both of these compact crossover models are high-performing, stylish, and efficient models that are equipped with the latest high-tech infotainment and advanced safety features. The right model for you depends on your own unique driving preferences and priorities.