2021 Toyota RAV4 Vs. Mazda CX-5

2021 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2021 Mazda CX-5 at Stampede Toyota in Calgary, Alberta

As one of the best-looking, most versatile SUVs on the market, it’s no surprise that the 2021 Toyota RAV4 has a number of competitors trying to supplant it as the top choice. We’ve already looked at how it stacks up against the Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage, but today we’ll take a peek at how it fares against the 2021 Mazda CX-5. Read on to see which of these two competing SUVs takes the crown when it comes to design, performance, and safety, or learn more about the RAV4 by clicking the Model Research button below.


Toyota RAV4 Design

We’ve touched on this before, but the 2021 Toyota RAV4 is a remarkably handsome SUV. From its LED daytime lamps and integrated grille to the available recessed fog lamps, the front fascia is one of a kind. LED taillights jut out from the rear, on either side of the available power rear door, adding to the safety and convenience of this ruggedly stylish SUV.

The interior of the 2021 RAV4 adds even more convenience into the picture, along with spacious front and back seating, while there are a ton of luxurious upgrades to be had at a wallet-friendly price. The XLE Premium package, for example, adds a one-touch power moonroof, SofTex leather seating, and an upgrade to an 8.0-inch full colour touchscreen, among other options. More than just good looks, the long wheelbase and wide track of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 add to its stellar driving dynamics, providing a smooth and comfortable ride on any terrain.

Mazda CX-5 Design

Perhaps the only SUV that comes close to the stylish design of the RAV4, the 2021 Mazda CX-5 definitely adds a bit more of a rugged appeal than the majority of the bland compact SUV offerings. A more interesting front fascia immediately catches your attention, though it lacks the strong, angular lines of the RAV4. Moving along the CX-5, it starts to fall in line with the competition a bit more, with a slightly curved rear that doesn’t offer a lot in terms of visual excitement.

Inside, the 2021 CX-5 provides a refined look similar to that of the RAV4, and features available leather-trimmed upholstery options with wood trim. One area where the Mazda CX-5 takes a clear lead is their 10.25-inch full-colour centre display, though the 7- and 8-inch varieties in the RAV4 are more than large enough to use with ease. Considering the trade-off when it comes to exterior styling, we’d choose to have those on the outside captivated by the Toyota RAV4’s sleek style.

Specifications:2021 Toyota RAV4 LE AWD2021 Mazda CX-5 GX AWD
Length 4,596 mm 4,550 mm
Width 1,854 mm 1,842 mm
Height 1,702 mm 1,680 mm
Wheelbase 2,690 mm 2,698 mm


A pair of 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder DOHC (Dual Overhead Cam) engines grace the 2021 RAV4 and CX-5, though Toyota manages to get a bit more out of their offering. With 203 horsepower compared to 187 in the 2021 XC-5, the Toyota engine takes the lead and refuses to relinquish it. Beyond pure horsepower, the RAV4 is matched to Toyota’s Direct Shift 8-speed automatic transmission while the Mazda works through a 6-speed Skyactiv-Drive transmission. And while two gears might not seem like much, it gives the 2021 Toyota RAV4 a distinct edge in terms of fuel economy—and that’s not even factoring in the RAV4 Hybrid or RAV4 Prime, both offering battery-powered hybrid performance for more power on less fuel!


The 2021 Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 are quite evenly matched when it comes to safety and driver assistance features, with both offering an array of standard equipment across their trim lines. Mazda presents their i-Activsense safety system, with features like Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go functions, Smart Brake Support Front, Distance Recognition Support System, Lane Departure Warning System, and Lane-keep Assist System. Almost completely parallel to these features, the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 system found on the RAV4 features Full Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-collision Safety System with Daytime Cyclist Detection and Enhanced Low Light Pedestrian Detection, and Lane Tracing Assist—meaning when it comes to advanced safety systems between these two SUVs it’s essentially a wash.

Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5 Verdict

Both the 2021 Toyota RAV4 and 2021 Mazda CX-5 present themselves as exceptionally capable and versatile compact SUVs, with both featuring exceptional safety and driver assistance technology. However, the added horsepower and improved efficiency found in the RAV4 and its 8-speed automatic transmission give it the nod when it comes to on-road performance. In terms of design, the CX-5 is the closest vehicle we’ve looked at when it comes to matching the style of the RAV4, but it still falls short in a category where the 2021 RAV4 blows past the competition.

While it provided a closer match to the RAV4 than most, the 2021 Mazda CX-5 just can’t quite hang with Toyota’s flagship compact SUV. To learn more about the 2021 Toyota RAV4, or any of the other vehicles in our model lineup, simply fill out the form below and we can book you in for a test drive or help answer any questions you may have. Thanks to our exceptional inventory of new and pre-owned vehicles, along with our experienced finance, service, and parts departments, Stampede Toyota is the premier destination for all things Toyota in Calgary—and all of Alberta!

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