|190||Starting Horsepower (HP)||187|
|28/34 2||Max Fuel Economy (MPG)||25/31|
|75.8||Max Cargo Space (cu.ft.)||59.6|
When it comes to sporty and versatile compact SUVs, there are only two options to compare: the 2020 Honda CR-V vs 2020 Mazda CX-5. While the compact SUV market is flooded with offerings from every manufacturer, Honda and Mazda have long reputations for producing reliable and fun vehicles. However, choosing between their two excellent SUVs may be difficult as, at first glance, they are relatively similar vehicles. Both of them are roughly the same size with similar engine outputs and a lot of the same features. So what sets them apart? And which one is right for you?
One of the most significant differences is simply size. Despite having similar external dimensions, the Honda CR-V offers noticeably more interior space for both passengers and cargo. Another key difference comes with their engines. While the total outputs of their base engines are close, the Honda CR-V has a more efficient turbocharged engine, as well as an eco-friendly hybrid option. While the 2020 Mazda CX-5 is an excellent vehicle, and in its top trim has a powerful engine and a few more features, overall the 2020 Honda CR-V is the more versatile, more efficient, and more affordable of these two compact SUVs.
Both the 2020 Mazda CX-5 and the 2020 Honda CR-V come with two engine options. However, the two manufacturers chose different strategies. While the CX-5 offers a base engine and a more powerful turbocharged version of the same engine, the CR-V provides the choice between either sporty turbo or a fuel-efficient hybrid. But no matter which vehicle or engine you choose, you will have the option for all-wheel drive for improved traction in adverse conditions.
Comparing the base engines on the two vehicles, you will find that the Mazda CX-5 has a 2.5L four-cylinder with 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. With its older six-speed automatic transmission, this engine burns 28 MPG in combined driving (25 city/31 highway). In contrast, starting with the 2020 model year, the Honda CR-V now comes standard with a 1.6L turbo producing 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a smooth, continuously variable transmission, this engine is rated for 30 MPG combined (28 city/24 highway).2 And while the peak torque figure of the Honda’s engine is a touch lower than that of the Mazda’s, the turbocharger means that the CR-V reaches its peak torque at a much lower and more accessible 2000 rpm instead of the 4000 rpm of the Mazda.
The upgraded engine on the top Grand Touring Reserve trim of the CX-5 is a turbocharged 2.5L producing 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. Although if you choose to run standard, 87 octane gasoline instead of premium 93 octane fuel, those figures drop to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is also significantly lower at 24 MPG combined. However, if you can live with these higher costs, then this engine is a fairly enjoyable option.
But if you prefer to save fuel, then the optional hybrid system on the CR-V and its 38 MPG2 combined fuel economy may be the right choice for you. This is especially true if you often find yourself in stop and go city driving where the hybrid can take advantage of regenerative braking to achieve 40 MPG.2 And despite its eco-friendly nature, this system actually produces a remarkable 212 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque, making it noticeably more powerful than the base CR-V engine.
There is no doubt that the interior of a vehicle plays a vital role in choosing the right one. The amount of space for passengers and cargo, along with other creature comfort features, can entirely impact your driving experience. Of course, SUVs are naturally roomy vehicles, but some much more than others. And not all vehicles offer the same luxury details either. So let's look at how these two compare.
First and foremost, the Honda is noticeably the larger and roomier SUV. This fact may not be readily apparent from looking at the two vehicles from the outside since the CR-V is only 3 inches longer and less than an inch taller. But on climbing into the two vehicles, you will discover that the CR-V does offer a bit more headroom and legroom than the CX-5.
More importantly, the Honda has significantly more cargo space than the Mazda. With the rear seat in place, the 2020 CR-V has 39.2 cu.ft. of cargo space with its gasoline engine or 33.2 cu.ft. in its hybrid configuration, while the 2020 CX-5 only has 30.9 cu.ft. of cargo space. This already colossal difference only grows when the rear seats are folded down. When this is done, the standard Honda has a cavernous 75.8 cu.ft. of cargo space, and the hybrid Honda is not far behind at 68.7 cu.ft. Meanwhile, the Mazda maxes out at just 59.6 cu.ft. of cargo space. This almost 20 cu.ft. difference can mean leaving lots of stuff home when you are traveling or taking more than one trip when you are moving stuff around.
When it comes to interior comforts, the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 both share almost all of their primary features. However, there are some noticeable differences in what features are available on what trim. Comparing the base CR-V LX and CX-5 Sport trims, you will find that while the Mazda comes with a leather steering wheel and gear shifter, the Honda has a convenient automatic climate control system as well as keyless entry and push-button start on its hybrid version.
Moving up to the CR-V EX and CX-5 Touring, both SUVs receive standard keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, and a power driver’s seat. But the Honda has a twelve-position driver’s seat with power lumbar against the eight-position seat in the Mazda. Further, the CR-V EX comes with a standard power moonroof to let in the good weather and LED fog lights to combat the bad weather - two valuable features that the CX-5 does not receive until its higher Grand Touring trim.
But if you are looking at the top trims of these two vehicles, there is little to differentiate them in terms of features. Both of them offer incredibly comfortable top trims that check all of the boxes expected of a modern vehicle and have luxury features ranging from heated steering wheels to hands-free power liftgates. Really, what this part of the comparison comes down to is what you are looking for inside a vehicle and what price you want to pay for it.
When it comes to comparing the infotainment systems of the 2020 Honda CR-V and the 2020 Mazda CX-5, the two SUVs are rather close. The base trims of both vehicles have fairly basic infotainment systems and minimalist four-speaker sound systems. While the CX-5 Sport does have a larger 7” touch screen instead of the 5” screen in the CR-V LX, this extra screen space is somewhat wasted given that the simple infotainment systems on these low trims lack any advanced features to take advantage of it.
Moving up the trims to the CR-V EX and CX-5 Touring, both vehicles receive far more capable infotainment systems with 7” touch screens, six-speaker audio systems, and smartphone support through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, the CR-V EX also adds SiriusXM satellite radio for over a hundred channels of uninterrupted entertainment as well as a compass to help you navigate on your adventures.
In the top infotainment configurations for the two vehicles, the Mazda does pull slightly ahead with the 8” touch screen and ten-speaker sound system, while the Honda tops out with a 7” touch screen and nine-speaker audio. However, this package is the most expensive, and the top trim CR-V does have the advantage of a wireless phone charger in addition to its four USB ports. So, this comes down to what you are looking for as a driver.
The advanced active safety suites on both the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are also top-notch, and the two manufacturers included all the most important modern safety features standard on all trims of their SUVs.
On the Honda, you will find a collision mitigation braking system and road departure mitigation system standard on all trims. At the same time, on the Mazda, you will see smart city brake support and a lane departure warning system. However, these are just different names for the same ideas. Both vehicles also have a standard advanced cruise control system that will automatically adjust your speed to match that of the vehicle in front of you. Additionally, they have blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts to let you know if there is a nearby vehicle that you cannot see when changing lanes or backing out of a parking spot. Overall, they are both very safe vehicles with tons of features to assist drivers.