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Borgman Head To Head: Mazda CX-5 vs. Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV-4, and Subaru Forester SUVs

October 17th, 2018


Compare The 2018 Mazda CX-5 with Other Crossovers in West Michigan

Borgman Mazda is your home for the New 2018 Mazda CX-5 in Grand Rapids. The Mazda CX-5 belongs to a segment that has seen enormous growth and competition in the last 10 years, and that’s the small SUV segment, or as they’re colloquially-known, “crossovers.”

People in West Michigan shopping for crossovers are generally looking for increased ride height, extra capability during the winter, and most of all, available options. Today, we’re going to compare four different vehicles that share the crossover segment with the Mazda CX-5, and see how it stacks up in terms of engine power, towing capacity, cargo space, interior amenities, and more.

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 has been popular with automotive journalists for a variety of reasons. It appeals to the tastes of more performance-oriented drivers and those reviewing comfort and amenities. Stephen Ottley from was comparing the Mazda CX-5 with the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV-4, and Subaru Forester. Here’s what he had to say:

Where the CX-5 stands out from its competitors is its refinement. It feels the quietest and most upmarket of this quartet.
– Stephen Ottley,

Other pundits like Eric Stafford at Car & Driver laud the CX-5 for its balance of spirited performance and handling with it’s dignified, luxurious ride:

…its precise steering and composed cornering make for one helluva Sunday cruise. But it also soaks up rough roads without commotion and has the ride quality of crossovers that cost twice as much. This harmonious interplay of dynamics is unrivaled by competitors in this class.
– Eric Stafford, Car & Driver

The best way to know if the Mazda CX-5 is the crossover for you is to stop in and test drive one. Below, we’ve rounded up some highlights of the CX-5 and compared them to three popular competitors: the Honda CR-V, the Toyota RAV-4, and the Subaru Forester. See how it stacks up below!

The Mazda CX-5

In this growing and highly-competitive segment, there are a few key areas where the Mazda CX-5 truly shines. The first of which is the responsive 2.5L SKYACTIV engine, coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission and capable of producing 187 horsepower and 186 lb/ft. of torque. Pair this with the dialed-in suspension and handling Mazda is known for and you have a crossover that makes every drive just a little more exciting.

The interior is flush with features, including Mazda’s unique approach to controlling the infotainment system: the Commander Control Knob. Though it takes a little getting used to, its controls are ergonomic and designed to let you interact with the CX-5’s large, full-color LCD with minimal distraction from the road.

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 also features 30.9 cu/ft. of cargo space, and can tow up to 2,000 lbs. Mazda has again delivered on that “something extra” quality they pour into all of their vehicles. The way Mazdas handle, accelerate, and the layout of the cabin are all taken into consideration – making the brand a popular choice for enthusiasts who want a little more excitement from their daily driver. The 2018 Mazda CX-5 starts at $24,150 and is the most affordable of the 4 SUVs we’re looking at today.

The Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V was recently redesigned in 2017 and remains a serious contender in the Japanese SUV import market. The 2.4L 4-cylinder engine produces a respectable 184 horsepower and 180 lbs/ft. of torque, and is capable of towing up to 1,500 pounds. The power is transmitted through a CVT, and All-Wheel is available. It averages 26/32 mpg city and highway fuel economy numbers respectively.

The Honda CR-V features 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space, making it one of the roomiest crossovers of the bunch. The interior amenities are pretty nice too – especially the seamless infotainment screen and bold, easy-to-read gauge cluster.

The 2018 Honda CR-V starts at $24,250, but you’ll be able to drive home a late-model pre-owned one for much less than that at the Borgman Pre-Owned Vehicle Center. Check our Honda Used Inventory or visit us today.

The Toyota RAV-4

Toyota makes some of the most reliable vehicles in the world, and the RAV-4 reflects that dedication to quality. The 2018 Toyota RAV-4 makes 176 horsepower and 172 lbs/ft. of torque, and is capable of towing 1,500 pounds. The RAV-4 also affords the choice of a 6-speed automatic or a CVT, accommodating both drivers who value performance or efficiency. On average, the Toyota RAV-4 achieves fuel-efficiency numbers of 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, though CVT models do slightly better.

Toyota put some work into the interiors of their vehicles over the last few years, and it shows on the 2018 RAV-4. The infotainment system works well and intuitively, and the gauge cluster is readable and familiar. What looks really nice, however, is the use of an accent color throughout the cabin to create visual interest. Now the open design speaks to the rugged, “go-anywhere-ness” of the vehicle and makes the 38.4 cu/ft. of cargo space feel a little bigger.

The 2018 Toyota RAV-4 retails for $24,660. If you’re looking for a great deal, keep an eye open for a late-model used Toyota RAV-4 at Borgman’s used lot.

The Subaru Forester

Ever-popular among different groups of drivers for different reasons, Subaru has cultivated these followings though one key common denominator: impressive build quality. The 2018 Subaru Forester is no exception. Under the hood, you’ll find Subaru’s 2.5L flat-four Boxter engine connected to their own tweaked-and-tuned version of a CVT transmission – complete with selectable “gear” ratios.

The 2018 Subaru Forester interior looks nice and neat, with plenty of space inside for passengers or cargo. Behind the seats is 34.4 cu/ft. of space, and we will note that the display above the infotainment screen is a nice touch. This allows them to keep less-salient-to-driving information like average mpg and outside temperature out of the gauge cluster but still visible to the driver.

The 2018 Subaru Forester can tow up to 1,500 pounds, which is about par for the segment. The engine produces 170 horsepower and 174 lbs/ft. of torque and all-wheel drive is standard. The 2018 Subaru Forester starts at $22,795 MSRP. If you see a late-model Subaru Forester in our Subaru Used Inventory, be sure to click the “Schedule Test Drive” button if you’re interested. They don’t last long on our lot due to their high demand, our great deals, and our B-Protected Warranty.

All Four Crossover SUVs At A Glance:

2018 Mazda CX-5 2018 Honda CR-V 2018 Toyota RAV-4 2018 Subaru Forester
Engine 2.5L I4 2.4L I4 2.5 I4 2.5L Flat 4
Power (hp/lb-ft) 187/186 184/180 176/172 170/174
Transmission 6-Speed Auto CVT 6-Speed or CVT CVT
AWD Available? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fuel Econ. (city/hwy mpg) 25/31 26/32 23/30 26/32
Tow Rating 2,000 lbs. 1,500 lbs. 1,500 lbs. 1,500 lbs.
Cargo Vol. (cu/ft.) 30.9 39.2 38.4 34.4
NHTSA Rating 4 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars
IIHS Pick Top Safety Pick Plus Top Safety Pick Top Safety Pick Top Safety Pick
Base Price $24,150 $24,250 $24,660 $22,795

Why Doesn’t Mazda Use CVT Transmissions?

You may notice that all of the above vehicles include a Continuously-Variable Transmission or CVT except for the Mazda CX-5. Though CVTs do make for a smoother ride and provide a small boost in fuel economy, Mazda has pursued a different path to achieving these goals for their SKYACTIV-DRIVE Transmissions. CVTs have their benefits but they often have drawbacks too, and the biggest one is delayed response time. A Mazda with a CVT, at least in this current paradigm, simply wouldn’t “feel like a Mazda” anymore.

Mazda engineers developed a 6-speed automatic that brings all of the benefits of a CVT but without the sacrifices; preserving the thrilling driving dynamics Mazda is famous for. If you’d like to learn more about SKYACTIV-DRIVE Transmission, visit Borgman Mazda and talk with one of our friendly staff members.

Find Your Next Crossover SUV at Borgman Mazda in Grand Rapids, MI

For price-point, performance, and ride quality, we feel the Mazda CX-5 lands at the top of its class. With Borgman’s Exclusive 20-Year 200,000 Mile Warranty, it simply can’t be beat. Take a look at our selection of New Mazda CX-5 SUVs and stop by to test drive one today.

However, style is a very personal thing. If you’re looking for a late-model Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV-4, or Subaru Forester, check out one of Grand Rapids’ largest selections of used cars and read about our B-Protected Warranty. Our staff is here to help – we’ll make sure all of your questions are answered but will never pressure you into a sale. Come see why Borgman is the Best in the West, and why we’re West Michigan’s Exclusive Mazda Dealer!


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