2020 Honda CR-V vs 2020 Mazda CX-5
  • Comparisons

2020 Honda CR-V vs 2020 Mazda CX-5

By Autolist Staff | September 14 2020

2020 Honda CR-V

2020 Mazda CX-5

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2020 Honda CR-V score: 8/10

Highlights:
  • Standard Honda Sensing, combined with stellar safety ratings make the CR-V one of the safest crossovers on the market.
  • Legroom, headroom, cargo space, and interior practicality are class-leading.
  • Stellar fuel-efficiency and a hybrid option.
  • A great overall combination of quality materials, driving comfort, fuel-efficiency, practicality, available features, and good pricing means that the CR-V continues to shine in the value department.

2020 Mazda CX-5 score: 8/10

Highlights:
  • Among the most stylish in its class, inside and out.
  • Better driving dynamics than most compact crossovers.
  • Lots of driver assistance safety features come standard.
  • The infotainment system is confusing and behind the times.

How they stack up:

Safety Features:

Honda CR-V: 9/10

  • A variety of standard safety equipment on the CR-V includes lane-keeping assist, road departure mitigation, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control, all of which give it some of the highest ratings in crash avoidance. Additional equipment such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beam headlights further enhance its ability to deliver any customer to their destination safely.

  • As great as the standard Honda Sensing systems are in the CR-V, the vehicle itself is also engineered to offer class-leading safety. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have awarded the CR-V with some of the highest crash ratings available, making it one of the safest vehicle purchase options available today.

Mazda CX-5: 8/10

  • Every Mazda CX-5 gets a raft of standard driver assistance features that’s among the best for compact SUVs. All models get automatic emergency braking and forward collision alert, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic high beams, just to name a few things. While the CX-5 isn’t the only compact SUV to include these systems as standard, most vehicles in this class make some or all of these features optional – or unavailable on less expensive variants.

  • The CX-5 also received top marks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), ranking among the safest vehicles in crash testing, crash avoidance, and headlight testing.

Value:

Honda CR-V: 9/10

  • The CR-V is an easy choice for those looking to get the most bang for their buck. It is not the least inexpensive compact SUV, but it will also not break the bank for most average buyers, even when fully-equipped. Chief rivals like the Toyota Rav4 and Mazda CX-5 both start at higher price points with the Mazda costing much more than the CR-V in its highest trim levels. Even at its lower price point, reviewers favor the larger interior dimensions, more comfortable ride, and overall practicality the CR-V has to offer compared to most other rivals.

  • Competing SUVs like the Ford Escape and Subaru Forester undercut the CR-V’s starting price, but most do not offer the ride quality, material quality, and fuel efficiency the CR-V has to offer. A hybrid powertrain adds one more consumer option to the lineup, and even though it is not as efficient as the Ford Escape or Toyota Rav4, it is less expensive than both.

Mazda CX-5: 8/10

  • The CX-5 largely matches its main rivals on price with similar equipment. Some rivals are larger than the Mazda in terms of rear seat and cargo space, but the CX-5’s interior quality mitigates that. Every model comes relatively well equipped, but some niceties like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a power driver’s seat, aren’t available on the base model.

  • As you walk up the trim levels, the more powerful CX-5 models can get expensive, but they could be perceived as rivals to upscale compact SUVs from companies such as Audi and Volvo. Compared to vehicles such as the Q3 and XC40, the Mazda CX-5 is larger, better equipped, and still less expensive.

Efficiency:

Honda CR-V: 8/10

  • The 2020 Honda CR-V leads the compact SUV segment when it comes to efficiency. Its standard 1.5-liter gasoline engine produces a combined 30 miles per gallon with its standard front-wheel-drive layout. Even opting for the all-wheel-drive option only brings the combined fuel economy down by one mile per gallon.

  • The CR-V’s hybrid powertrain brings its efficiency score down by just a touch. A larger 2.0-liter gasoline engine combined with two electric motors produce a combined 38 miles per gallon. This puts the CR-V behind its chief rival, the Toyota Rav4. But, its price point is also lower than that of other hybrid SUVs, including the RAV4. Bolstering its stellar efficiency regardless of powertrain or trim is the CR-V’s standard continuously variable transmission.

Mazda CX-5: 6/10

  • Front-wheel-drive CX-5 models get up to 31 mpg highway, falling just one mpg with the addition of all-wheel-drive. While not class-leading, the CX-5 is relatively efficient for its class. The turbocharged models, which come standard with all-wheel-drive, fall to a 22/27 rating. That’s significantly worse than similarly powerful vehicles of this size.

  • However, the CX-5 lacks a gas-electric hybrid powertrain option. That means it trails models such as the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4 for outright efficiency.

Driving Experience:

Honda CR-V: 6/10

  • A 1.5-liter engine offers efficiency and performance in equal parts by producing a reasonable 190 horsepower. The hybrid powertrain feels livelier due to its increased torque and power numbers from the electric motors, but the hybrid also causes the engine to drone on at freeway speeds, which gets annoying after a while.

  • But, where the CR-V may lack in sheer sportiness, it more than makes up for in ride comfort easy driving. The spacious interior, supple suspension, even acceleration, and solid brake feel all contribute to a rather pleasant, if not mundane driving experience. Road noise is kept to a minimum as well, but reviewers note that the continuously variable transmission can be slightly noisy when a large amount of throttle is necessary.

Mazda CX-5: 9

  • Ride and handling are among the CX-5’s biggest advantages over its rivals. Steering is unusually precise for a vehicle like this, and the handling is responsive in a way that would shame some sedans. Unlike some SUVs, the CX-5 feels smaller than it really is, and more like a compact hatchback. Few vehicles at this price can touch it.

  • Even base model CX-5s have sufficient power and feel a little more lively than rivals with similar horsepower. But the turbocharged versions are noticeably quicker and responsive. Not all rivals offer an uplevel engine option, either. And it gives the Mazda another way to compete with premium SUVs with similar power, and that cost significantly more.

Tech Features:

Honda CR-V: 6/10

  • Honda delivers the most basic standard tech features to make the CR-V competitive. Automatic climate control, a five-inch infotainment screen, Bluetooth, and a USB port all come as standard equipment.

  • Even though additional cash is needed to add more features, opting for a higher trim level adds much more equipment and competes better with others in the segment.

  • An average infotainment system prevents the CR-V from outshining the competition. Notable standard feature omissions include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, putting Honda farther behind the segment leaders, though these features are standard on most trims.

Mazda CX-5: 7/10

  • The CX-5 comes standard with a seven-inch infotainment screen, while more expensive models get an eight-inch version. All but the base model have two USB ports and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Built-in navigation is only standard on the most expensive version, though. While comprehensive, the CX-5 doesn’t boast anything rivals don’t.

  • More troubling is the way it all works. While it has touchscreen capabilities, the infotainment system is mostly operated through a rotary knob and a series of complicated menus. Also, the system is laggy and has weak graphics, especially for maps. The CX-5 is beat here by nearly all of its rivals and even some other Mazda vehicles. Techies should look elsewhere.

Style & Design:

Honda CR-V: 8/10

  • While the Mazda CX-5 is usually considered the style frontrunner in the segment, the Honda CR-V is not necessarily a slouch. It is a sleek, handsome, well-designed SUV that combines a slightly sporty look with a touch of luxury, especially with its slightly refreshed design for the 2020 model year.

  • The CR-V’s interior spells out much of the same story as the exterior. It is not as edgy as some of the exterior lines, but the cabin is well thought out, contains quality materials, and has a refined, if not simple, look and feel. Most reviewers agree that interior quality and style are better than most in the class.

Mazda CX-5: 8/10

  • With subtly refined details and expensive-looking materials, the CX-5 stands out from the mainstream crossover. Its exterior is more distinctive than many of its rivals, with all models receiving alloy wheels and metal exterior details.

-Inside, quality is generally higher than most. High-end versions get real leather upholstery and wood inserts, while there are also features such as ventilated front seats – all unusual for a vehicle at this price. Most controls, apart from the audio, are intuitive, as well.

  • Despite the more adventurous styling, visibility doesn’t suffer too much. The CX-5 is about as easy to see out of as any good compact SUV, and better than several

Practicality:

Honda CR-V: 9/10

  • Like most other Honda models, the CR-V is incredibly practical. It can do just about everything exceptionally well, a difficult feat for any vehicle manufacturer without some serious sacrifices. Perhaps where it shines the most is its use of interior space. Cargo room is class-leading with the CR-V besting its chief rival – the Toyota Rav4 – by two cubic feet with the rear seats in their upright position and six cubic feet with the seats folded down.

  • For additional practicality, the CR-V is offered with all-wheel-drive, 1500 pounds of total towing capacity, an optional hands-free tailgate, and a roof rail system for additional storage. Serious off-road capability and outdoors adventuring may be off the table for the CR-V, but most buyers will use its utility features more for daily commuting and family hauling, all of which are adequate for the everyday urban adventurer.

Mazda CX-5: 7/10

  • While it’s not cramped, passenger space is only average for the class. However, cargo room takes a hit compared to models such as the CR-V and Nissan Rogue. That’s where the CX-5’s smaller external size hinders it against the competition, and some models even offer a third-row seat, where the Mazda is a strict two-row vehicle. However, it’s still more spacious inside than premium rivals such as an Audi Q3 or Volvo XC40.

  • The cargo area is at least flexible, with standard 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats. The maximum towing capacity is rated at just 2,000 pounds, however.

  • All-wheel-drive is available on models with the 2.5-liter engine, standard on turbocharged versions.

Cost of Ownership

2020 Honda CR-V

2020 Mazda CX-5

Annual Fuel Costs

$1,121
15k miles at $2.168/gal
$1,355
15k miles at $2.168/gal
Fuel Economy

27 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
22 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
32 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway
27 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway

Safety

2020 Honda CR-V

2020 Mazda CX-5

NHTSA Crash Test Results

Overall
Overall
Safety Features

Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert

Interior

2020 Honda CR-V

2020 Mazda CX-5

Interior Features

Standard
Leather
Standard
Leather
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Climate Control
Standard
Climate Control
Technology

Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Navigation System
Standard
Navigation System

Under the Hood

2020 Honda CR-V

2020 Mazda CX-5

Powertrain

Transmission
Transmission
FWD
Drivetrain
FWD
Drivetrain
Drivetrain

N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Torque
N/A
Torque
N/A
Cylinders
N/A
Cylinders