Honda CR-V vs. Mazda CX-5 vs. Toyota RAV4: 2019 Compact-SUV Comparison Test
Outside. Of pickup trucks small. Crossover, SUVs, are the most popular, class of vehicles, considering. How versatile, convenient. And easy to drive they are it's really no surprise. Last year we pitted our favorites at the Honda CRV and Mazda, cx-5 against, the sales leading, Toyota, rav4 but, that really wasn't such a fair fight considering, the rav4 was just about to be redesigned, this. Year the rav4 is the new kid on the block while. The Mazda hond have gotten some key updates that means this, battle should be closer than ever before as always. You can get more information and great. Deals on these three vehicles and all of their competitors at, edmunds.com. Also. We've got more comparison, videos coming up so make sure to subscribe but. Back to these three we've, got the Toyota the Mazda and the Honda all have, an MSRP, between, 35, and $38,000. All, three, seat five offer all-wheel. Drive and come with a full suite of active, driver safety aides but which one does it best let's, meet our fighters. This. Is the Honda CRV in touring trim it's friendly, and predictable, but is it stellar or a sneeze, err oh, wait. I forgot to tell you what's new on the Honda it now comes with a volume. The. Last time we ran this test the mazda cx5 got big points for performance, and refinement. This, time around it gets a new turbocharged. Engine, as well as a tough signature, trim those. Promised more power and luxury, than ever before. Well. Brace yourselves, because this is the 2019. Toyota, rav4, limited, all-wheel, drive, for 2019. Toyota, completely, redesigned, the rav4 from, the ground up it's more powerful has, more technology, and more off-road, capability. But, more than that it's got way more attitude, both, inside, and out. Still. The old rav4, lost. The comparison, test last time around does this redesign give the rav4 the edge it needs to win let's, find out, when. It comes to bragging rights the Mazda cx-5 is the most powerful in the bunch with 250. Horsepower the. Toyota rav4 is next with 203, horses and the CRV is third with only 190, but. What's in a number when. We tested the car zero to sixty times at the Edmunds track the cx-5 was quickest that's no surprise but the rav4 took, a whopping 8.9 seconds, to hit 60 well the CRV did it in only 7.9. Power. Isn't, everything obviously, the numbers don't, tell the whole story to find out how these cars stack up we're gonna have to drive them in their natural habitats, this. Suburbs, let's, hit the road. We'll, Ilana. This. Is the Mazda cx-5 which I consider the prettiest, the, best driving of the bunch for, a number, of reasons it's got more power and, I, think. The suspension, is just tuned a little more sporty, do, you think that the, sportiness and the power makes you feel more like a dad or more like you're on a road trip with your super, attractive, and fun friends I don't, know how to answer number. Two, yeah. It does, it doesn't feel like I'm, sacrificing. Driving.
Engagement For. The convenience of driving an SUV how. Do you feel about that upgraded, engine though do you think that's worth the extra money it's a pretty big price bump I don't see, a big enough difference between, that and the base engine the, base engine already has plenty of punch I think, feels like they have aimed for. Luxury. A little more than sport, like a premium, feel the engine just doesn't, have a, very, sporty, response, even though it's strong the, Mazda is fast. But. It, really wants you to know that it's working hard for it like it's like I am going to be very loud about this it doesn't sound terrible. Though it almost has that weird, Subaru, flutter here, we go. Right, it doesn't sound like you're hurting the engine that sounds decent it's almost at the point where it encourage you to drive just, a little bit harder but, it does sort, of sound like it's going like wow. This. Is a nice looking interior, you, are paying. More for it in this car Mazda. Is making this push to be more, of an entry-level luxury brand, and you know what the materials, quality I think is better than the other two I like. The design it's less cluttered, you know are you gonna buy this against an Audi probably, not so. I have two USBs, under, my elbow hey, Alana how many USBs do you have back there I don't. See any trick. It's. Behind you it's in that center. Armrest you have to flip it down and, that's. Also where the seat heater, controls, are which seems like a really bad place for both you. Aren't lying all, right good. How's. Comfort. Wise back there if we were going a long distance I would prefer to be on one of the side seats because there's a big hump in the floor here and it. Makes it sort of awkward there's nobody else in here so it's fine right now but I wouldn't want to be in here with, other people or with car, seats how's the comfort up there well. You're pretty particular about seat comfort look I am they're pretty supportive they're, a little narrower than they need to be a little more sport. Oriented but, the, support is good and the cushioning is pretty good I mean I like. Sitting in the Mazda it's one I can sit in every day it. Really does feel like more of a four passenger vehicle. Though with the placement, of the seat heaters and USB ports and sort, of the narrowness of that back seat just, doesn't feel like it's meant to carry five people, which might be a reason why I like it I like smaller, cars I like cars that feel like it's wrapping around you're, almost wearing them and this, certainly has that feel. Three cars in this test this is the one I would take if I was going on a road trip with my friends it, just feels like most adult, fun car yeah, this is also the car with the best stereo, in the group which, means that when I get sick of listening to you guys talk I can just drown you out. Yeah. We're, in the Honda CRV and mark before we started this test you told me that I was gonna be surprised by the Honda yes you, were right everything. About it is better than I expected it to be the performance the, comfort even the styling, outside and inside is, just not, as soul-sucking. As I associate, with small, SUVs and we. Have this conversation marriage, so you can keep tabs on the Rugrats in the back that's, good I need supervision stop, that. The, biggest surprise for me though was. It, actually moves out I mean I'm, not gonna look crazy I'm not gonna say it's fast but, it is considerably. Faster than I was expecting it to be but it's only a second. Slower to 60 than the much more powerful cx-5. And it. Has a CVT, which generally. Have a tendency, to suck, the life out of any car it's. Impressive how they tuned it how they engineered it it just works I think, that if you put somebody in this car and you had them guess the powertrain they would never say 1.5. Liter turbo, 4 with a CVT but, handling, wise I mean not, that it's a priority, for a lot of people how does it feel behind the wheel it's. Certainly not scary, I mean you're not gonna worry about driving. On a twisty, roads like oh man I've got to slow down to like 30 miles an hour and you know everyone behind me is gonna be mad as, far as right quality though I really, like it it's smooth it's got the right amount of compliance to soak.
Up All the bumps this, is just a much nicer ride quality, oh yeah I mean comfort. Is probably the first word I would think of to describe this the seats, are big and plush they're, supportive. Enough, I, really. Think SUV, manufacturers. Tend to err on the side of making the seats like really stiff like oh man everybody wants to be in a sports car and it's like nope nope I want to feel like I'm in a recliner I want. The car to be quiet and, I want everything to be soft and gentle speaking, of quiet the floor. Yeah, it doesn't sound bad it does not as nice and engine note as the cx-5, but, it, doesn't sound like you're hurt in the car I also, don't think it's very loud I mean, that was floored and if I have music on I don't even think he'd hear it okay, well how's the back seat the back, seat in here is I mean there's a lot of space back here I actually, think the side seats are really comfortable the. Center seat is wide. Enough, I actually think you could fit, three people across, here especially if, you're dealing with kids, this, is actually, a five, person SUV, for a family. Among. The many things that are easy in the Honda visibility. Is one there's plenty of room to see around the front pillars the, rear window is big and you could see out even if there were three people in the back seat talking. About surprises in the CRV I expected, it to cost, more than it does I did. Too and this is the top trim and it comes in just a few hundred dollars under the rav4 which means both of them are, a couple thousand, dollars less than the Mazda it's impressive you get a lot for that money yeah, and I mean it's really practical, there's, a lot of smart, solutions, and and thoughtful, design it's a car, that does. Everything you need it to it really helps you get, everything that you need to do done, but, it actually goes a little bit above and beyond that mission, it's it's a little nicer than just practical, yeah it solves, all of your problems and, it's a little bit fun. Welcome. To the rav4, this. Is completely. Redesigned, for 2019. So it's the newest vehicle in the bunch it's, also in some ways the oldest, the rav4 was, really the vehicle that started. This small SUV, craze it's. Clearly, changed, a lot since then for starters, it is much. Bigger in here it's huge in here actually I mean I know you meant that the whole car was bigger but it. Is, impossible for a front seat to be too big like I feel like I'm bouncing around, I actually. Am totally, fine back here I've got a ton of room, underneath the seat I my, knees aren't banging, into, anything and Alana's, seat has actually moved further, back than what she normally needs, I. Totally. Fine back here but that said I didn't, go on the Rav 48, tour so, I'm probably, not the best person to talk about long, distance comfort, yes. Ilana and I each, took a turn driving, a RAV 48, across, all 48 contiguous states, in just seven days which. Meant we spent a lot of uninterrupted, time sitting, in these seats a, lot, of the things that came up are still. Things that are coming up. Yeah. I mean obviously the. Weazy engine, you know and I actually, had issues with seat, comfort in this car on a long drive, I found the front passenger seat just a little uncomfortable these, headrests, are sort of aggressive from, the three cars we have here today this, has got to be my least favorite to sit in for a long time one of the things that, going on a long road trip in winter meant for testing this car is that we got to see what it was like in snow and ice, yeah, I mean it handled all of that stuff fine you know the vehicle sort of is the only one of this group that makes any, even, nod towards, being off-road, capable, even in this street. Oriented. Feature. Filled, version, you get a terrain. Select, knob you have a button specifically. For a snow, mode in the car and, it handles those things perfectly. Fine but. We're talking really, light off-roading, do you feel like the big weakness is brown clearance, or do you feel like the big weakness, is the fact that it can barely make it up a paved hill.
The. Fact that you get all that torque way up high in the rev range and there's, no low-range. Gearbox in, here means this is not. At all a serious off-road er let's. See what happens when you actually stand on this car. And. You can. You, can hear, and feel, the, shifts, are just sort of slow, and a little slushy it's not the best transmission. I feel. Bad I feel bad for this car I think it's embarrassed, there is a solution. To, the problem of this engine fortunately, for about 800, bucks over a regular all-wheel drive model you can get the rav4 hybrid, which makes a bunch more torque and the electric motor is actually fill, in some of that low-end, torque that you miss and. You get 40 miles to the gallon it, is an amazing, deal and I, think if you were gonna buy one of these that's. The one that you get of. Course most people want. One. Nice thing about the rav4 it actually has the best visibility of all three, the pillars are relatively, narrow and they're places that they don't, get in the way of your view has, nice big mirrors, it's got a big view out the back it, even has in this, trim a camera, mirror, just, in case you've packed, the back up with so much stuff that the regular mirror won't work I. Definitely. Think the rav4 is one of those vehicles where, it. Was first, to the market it has a great reputation people, still, believe, in that great reputation, and when you actually get in the new one. Got. Laurels they're being rested on. The, Mazda cx-5 is, gorgeous. On the outside but it's also really, nice on the inside too it's. My choice as far as refinement. In luxury go if you look at the design it's, simple. But elegant it, also gets my vote for the best infotainment, system, and I use those quite a bit sure. Apple, carplay evens, the playing field some but this. Is the only one when these knobs here that we've become accustomed to from BMW Audi and, Mercedes but. It's also a touchscreen and that's, great because apple.
Carplay It lends itself to being a touchscreen, technology. Is also well represented because, it has a head-up display that, makes it unique among this. Group it allows. You to keep, your eyes on the road but still see all the vital information you, need including, navigation. Turn-by-turn, prompts, speed, limit signs it, all puts, it right there right in front of your view. Materials. Quality is excellent. Throughout. It, fights. Well above its weight class, when it comes to the interior everything. That you touch is nice. Soft touch material, and it's well grained and it has excellent, stitching, throughout with Mazda eyeing the entry-level, luxury market. This, is a really, promising, start. When. It comes to interior storage however it's. Not at the top of its game I actually think the rav4 and CRV. Beat it but I do, have more, than enough space for my, stuff if I, had a car, full of people that, might be a little challenging, there. Isn't a wireless, charging pad unfortunately. You have two USB ports under, here to. Moderate, release size cup holders and the. Bins, and the doors you. Can put a decent size water ball in there but not, much else when. It comes to visibility, the cx-5 is a little, bit challenged, this. Roof, pillar here in front is pretty, thick, that, means in a really sharp left turn you kind of have to Bob your head back, and forth to see past it another. Bright spot in technology. Is the, driver assistance, features that, the cx-5, has it. Doesn't have more than the others but I can, ten that it's better tune I didn't. Get any false alarms, for, a frontal collision or for lane keep assist and, the. Other assistance, like the adaptive, cruise control is full, range all the way down to a stop. Even. Better it, reacts, more, like I Drive, it just drives nice and smooth in a. Logical, manner that the, rav4 seems, to be challenged, by even, more. Toyota. Definitely, gave the, interior, of the rav4 an, upgrade, in terms of design, personality. And material. Quality everywhere. You look the design is solid, there's some, contrasting. Colors and textures, most. Of what you touch is soft. Touch padded. Materials, there are definitely. Still hard plastics, around to bump into but. It's. Not that objectionable, in this class it's, also nice they've added some rubberized. Knobs these, chunky. Climate, control knobs and the the chunky grab handles, on the door, interior. Storage space is. Interesting. It's, not as, good as the CRV, it's a little better than the, cx-5. You, get a big, tray for your cell phone on higher trim levels it's a wireless charging pad which some people really like the. Center console box is relatively, small but to make up for that you have these nice, little shelves, that, are placed around the cabin that neither of the other vehicles, have they're big, enough for a cell phone they're pretty useful something.
Else I'd point out that I like in this, vehicle versus, the other two is the really, big sunroof. There's a lot of light that comes in through that this. Is a top, trim vehicle. So you'd expect all, the goodies on this and it has stuff like dual zone climate control, with. A separate, cutoff for the backseat, you have heated, seats and of course the technology features, one. Thing you don't get is a heated steering wheel you also don't, get ventilated. Seats which you can get on that cx-5, even, on the base trim you get a pretty good set of active, safety features this. Car has the whole package it has adaptive, cruise control and lane keep assist, those. Features work ok if, at speed, but once you get into stop and go traffic it, just doesn't know how to behave it, wants to leave a lot of room between the. Rav4 and the vehicle in front overall. It doesn't, behave, the way that you'd want, when you're in stop-and-go traffic one. Thing this vehicle offers that, the other two don't is Lane centering, now what that does is it tries to keep you centered. In the lane rather than sort of ping-ponging. Back and forth between the lane markers, like with regular lane keep assist, it's. A system that works well at speed but when I'm driving around town or on my commute I just, want it turned off because. It is always, beeping. At you loses. Track of the right lane it beeps at you it drops out of lane centering too regularly and keep it beeps at you it goes back it beeps at you loses, track to the left lane it beeps, at you you drift a little too far it beeps at you every once in a while it gets you a false positive and beeps, at you it just, is always making. Noise. It's. One of those things that's kind of nice to have on a long freeway, cruise but, when I'm driving around the, city or when I'm on my commute I just, want it turned off, Toyota. Gave this a pretty big infotainment, screen you get a volume, knob and a tuning knob unlike, the CRV, you, get hard buttons so it's easy to navigate, between the different menus that you want to use. Unfortunately. It's just not the easiest system overall, it, doesn't look fantastic the. The graphics, look a little low resolution, and dated and some. Of the functions, are a little harder to access, than I'd like it took me a little while to figure out how to pair bluetooth on my phone and sadly. The rav4 only. Offers, apple, carplay and not Android, auto which, means about 50% of smartphone users are, out, in the cold you can download the, Entune, connected, app that, gives you a little, bit more, functionality. But it's not, the easiest thing to use I would, rather just use. Bluetooth, and then I guess. Rely, on the kind, of lame nav in this car they. Came to this generation, after the, CRV, and cx-5. So they had an opportunity to leapfrog them, and instead, what they've done is make something that's fine. It gets the job done it does, things you need to do there, one, or two nice things it's a little bit more rugged and off-road e you can get the hybrid version beyond. That what you have here is a vehicle that just doesn't. Seem to offer as much as its competitors the. SI, rvs biggest strength in its interior is the, use of space there's so much of it the, console is really low so it doesn't get in your upper body area lots, of room for your elbows lots of room for your passenger, the, console doesn't come out too far so it doesn't hit your knees just. In general the driving position is comfortable and it gives you a lot of room all around you the materials. Are a mix of soft coverings, and hard, plastics, which, is pretty much to be expected in a car at this price range everywhere. You're actually touching. It's. Pretty nice and squishy the. Thing Honda has going for it is not just that there's a lot of space but it makes smart use of it the console, is divided into specific and convenient, little cubbies including. A sliding tray that you can put your phone on or, you can tuck it away where the USB ports are even. Though I like the design of the center stack I think Honda made some weird choices about where it put some of the controls like the economy button, is huge, and over here and, the. Other driving, buttons. Like the things for your, lane watch and. The. Emergency, braking morning, that's over here it seems like all those driving things should be in the same place there's. Also this. Big screen but, only like this much of it is being, used I don't understand, that decision, I do love the fact that they added in a volume knob I mean we joke about it but this.
Is A really valuable thing I. Like. The layout of the dash on the CRV, it, has this cool design for, the fuel, gauge and for, the temperature although, it's, not super legible, so definitely, sacrificing. Style Plus, even though it has a digital dash in the middle they, got really stingy on the controls for cycling. Through that menu and, you have to switch it using this information button to say whether you're want to control the center menu or you want to control the menu on the screen it's, very confusing and. Awesome to do while you're driving the, CRV, has adaptive, cruise control and it works really well you can set it even at a very low speed you. Can change the speed that you want it to go at and I, felt like overall, the, car does a good job of, controlling, its, speed on the freeway depending. On the traffic but. It's. A very, very, small icon, on the dash that tells you when it's on and because, it's very easy to turn it off by like tapping the brake or something I feel. Like it's dangerous to not have it be more obvious I know Honda can make a really obvious warning because, when the emergency braking warning, is on it's like this big and bright orange and flashing, they, should do the same thing for when the adaptive cruise control is on, one. Of the big reasons people choose SUVs. Over sedans is how much cargo, space they offer so. Let's see how these three stack up this, CRV, easily. Fit all of our very precious, cargo and it actually could have taken more we, had the floor in the higher position, and it can be lowered a bit the. Rav4 looks, like it took almost as much but what you can't see is how much more time we spent trying to make, everything fit, the, CRV. Was just a lot easier and obviously. The, cx-5 comes, in last behind the rear seat it's more than 20%, smaller than, the CRV, and you can really see the difference. Hey. We. Have tested, them on the track and we have driven them in the suburbs I think we're ready to declare a winner well, do you want us. Well the 2019. Rav4, it's been completely redesigned and it's definitely got more attitude, and more personality, it's also the most rugged of this bunch but. It's been slipping, in terms of performance. And value and for, that reason it's both fallen down our rankings, at Edmunds and it, comes in third in this test the cx-5, remains, my choice for the power of the performance, and the luxury, but, I realize. It does have some shortcomings so, I yield, to, the CRV, way, to ruin my surprise I, mean nobody, knew what was coming next, the. CRV is good, at everything and bad at nothing so it's the big dog in our small SUV comparison, undisputed. Winner number one for, more information, on all three of these SUVs as well as its competition head, on over to edmunds.com, to, see more videos like this hit subscribe. And. Follow us on Facebook Instagram and Twitter and MySpace and. Livejournal. And you might come visit.