Compared: 2023 Honda CR-V vs. 2023 Mazda CX-5

Both brand bestsellers, the CR-V champions efficiency while the CX-5 prizes performance.

Red 2023 Honda CR-V EX-L and 2022 Mazda CX-5Honda | Mazda

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The 2023 Mazda CX-5, with standard all-wheel drive and low cost of entry, is a compelling option in the compact-crossover market. But many consumers may prefer the 2023 Honda CR-V, given its better fuel economy and more spacious interior. Here we explore how the two models differ in price, equipment, and efficiency.

CX-5 Pricing Starts Low and Ends Higher Based On Trim Choice

In base form, with a 190-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder and front-wheel drive, the 2023 Honda CR-V starts at about $30,000. That's a notable difference from the base 2023 Mazda CX-5, which costs right around $28,000 and features a 187-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder and standard all-wheel drive.

Both models offer an alternate powertrain. The CR-V is available with a 204-hp hybrid, providing improved fuel economy. It will set you back at least $34,000 (or $35,000 if you want all-wheel drive). The CX-5's optional engine — a turbocharged version of the base 2.5-liter — sacrifices some efficiency for additional power. It makes 227 horsepower on regular gasoline and 256 horses on premium. Buyers can get it for around $39,000.

2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 Turbo Signature front cabinMazda

CR-V and CX-5 Go Head-To-Head in Features

When it comes to passenger volume, it's basically a tie, with the 2023 Honda CR-V offering 104 cubic-feet and the 2023 Mazda CX-5 103 cu-ft. In the back, though, the CR-V — boasting 39 cu-ft of cargo space with the rear seats up and 77 cu-ft with them down — has significantly more storage room than the CX-5, which has 29 cu-ft with rear seats up and 58 cu-ft of cargo space with the seats down.

The Mazda wins back a few points for providing more standard equipment. For instance, every CX-5 comes with rain-sensing wipers and blind-spot monitoring, whereas Honda doesn't offer the first and charges extra for the second in most trim levels. You can also tow more with the CX-5 than the CR-V.

CX-5 buyers will need to use a control dial in the center console to make selections on the 10.3-inch infotainment display, while CR-V owners can use their fingers to move between apps on the 7.0-inch touchscreen. Want something a little bigger? Honda provides a 9.0-inch display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the top two trims, whereas all CX-5s require a cable for smartphone mirroring.

Lastly, while you can find heated seats, leather upholstery, a power liftgate, and front and rear parking sensors in both lineups, only the CX-5 offers a head-up display, a 360-degree camera, and ventilated front seats.

2023 Honda CR-V EX-L open cargo space with back seats downHonda

CR-V Beats CX-5 in Fuel Efficiency

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 with the standard 2.5-liter engine averages 26 mpg. That figure drops a bit, to 24 mpg, for the turbocharged model.

Both of those ratings fall short of the 2023 Honda CR-V's. Even with all-wheel drive, this Honda crossover manages 29 mpg. With front-wheel drive, it sees 30 mpg. Choosing the hybrid powertrain significantly boosts the model's fuel-economy estimates, to 37 and 40 mpg, respectively.

All vehicle pricing includes MSRP plus destination charges (set at the time of publication), and will be rounded to the nearest thousand.

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Chris Tonn
Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared on numerous online sites.