2020 Toyota RAV4 vs Honda CR-V vs Mazda CX-5 – Which one should you buy?

Eric/Jun 19, 2020 10:38 AM

UMW Toyota Motor has just introduced the all-new 2020 Toyota RAV4 in Malaysia. The new model competes against the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 in the C-segment SUV market.

Powertrain – Can the Dynamic Force engine compete against its turbocharged rivals?

From now till 31-December, these are updated prices for the Honda CR-V:

  • CR-V 2.0 2WD: RM 144,629.66
  • CR-V 1.5 TC 2WD: RM 157,243.00
  • CR-V 1.5 TC AWD: RM 162,871.46
  • CR-V 1.5 TC-P 2WD: RM 168,465.73

As for the Mazda CX-5, these are the updated prices:

  • CX-5 2.0G 2WD Mid: RM 132,403.80
  • CX-5 2.0G 2WD High: RM 148,563.70
  • CX-5 2.5G 2WD High: RM 161,103.50
  • CX-5 2.2D 2WD High: RM 167,274.70
  • CX-5 2.5T 4WD High: RM 174,852.10

For the first-time ever, the Dynamic Force line of powertrains is offered on a Toyota model. 

The all-new RAV4 2.5 gets a 2.5-litre A25A-FKS four-cylinder petrol engine which does 207 PS at 6,600 rpm and 243 Nm at 5,000 rpm, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The RAV4 is a front-wheel drive-only model.

Despite being a naturally-aspirated engine, the RAV4 2.5’s power output is able to match the Honda CR-V 1.5 TC-P (193 PS, 243 Nm), but pales in comparison to the Mazda CX-5 2.5T (230 PS, 420 Nm).  

Transmission-wise, the all-new RAV4 has the most forward ratios (8-speed), while the CX-5 gets a 6-speed unit. The Honda CR-V, on the other hand, gets a CVT-type automatic transmission. 

Out of this trio, the CR-V and RAV4 are equipped with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The most powerful one here, the CX-5, isn't equipped with paddle shifters.

Interior – Mazda wins in terms of quality, but the RAV4 has some aces

Typical of most modern Toyotas, the all-new RAV4’s interior is a pleasant place to be in – material selection is good and the interior is well put together.

The Honda CR-V has a number of storage spaces

But practicality-wise, the Honda CR-V remains as the long-standing champion as it offers the most practical cabin in its segment. Nothing else can come close to the CR-V’s practical cabin.

Then there’s the Mazda CX-5, which offers one of the most upmarket cabin in the segment - surpassing most of its Japanese rivals.

Although all three manufacturers take a different approach with their respective SUVs, all three rivals feature a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Mazda and Toyota’s displays feature a floating-style design, while the Honda’s infotainment display is in the dashboard.

Separating the all-new RAV4 from its key rivals is the inclusion of a Qi wireless charging pad, ventilated front seats, and built-in front and rear DVRs.

While the Honda may be the king in terms of interior practicality, the all-new RAV4 claws back with the largest boot space in the segment, coming in at 580 litres (CR-V: 522 litres, CX-5: 442 litres). 

Ride comfort – Toyota’s TNGA platform is a gem

Here’s where the all-new Toyota RAV4 shines.

Thanks to its TNGA-K platform, the RAV4 is able to strike a fine balance between ride comfort and handling.

Never mind the poor-riding Honda CR-V, the all-new Toyota RAV4 is in a league of its own when it comes to filtering out road irregularities.

As confident as the all-new RAV4 is in the corners, it lacks the agility of the Mazda CX-5. GVC Plus does help the CX-5 tackle corners better, but its agility is also its biggest enemy. The Mazda’s more communicative steering means that it can get more tiring on long distance straight roads - something that isn’t an issue on the RAV4.

Safety features – Comprehensive ADAS suite for Honda and Toyota

Starting with the Toyota Vios, UMWT has done a swell job speccing its models and the all-new RAV4 is no different.

Both variants of the all-new RAV4 get the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) ADAS suite that encompasses:

  • Pre-Collision System (PCS)
  • Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist and Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), all speeds
  • Automatic High Beam (AHB)

The all-new RAV4 also includes Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

As for the Honda CR-V 1.5 TC-P, it offers: 

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Lane Keep Assist (LKA)
  • Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)
  • Low Speed Follow (LSF)
  • LaneWatch camera

The Mazda CX-5 2.5T includes Mazda’s i-ActivSense ADAS suite, which offers:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front and Rear)
  • Blind Spot Monitor (BSM)
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH)
  • Driver Attention Alert (DAA)
  • Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)
  • Lane-keep Assist System (LAS)

That being said, the Kulim-built SUV lacks Adaptive Cruise Control - something which the other two rivals offer. 

Price – Here’s where it gets tough

As impressive as the all-new Toyota RAV4 is, its RM 200k price is the stumbling block for many potential buyers.

Keep in mind that both the prices of the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 do not breach the RM 190k mark, while the RAV4 tops out at RM 220k, a hefty RM 30k premium.

With SST in place, the all-new RAV4 retails for RM 203,880 (2.0L) to RM 223,880 (2.5L).

Then again, much of the price premium is due to taxes. Without taxes in place, the made-in-Japan RAV4 is actually cheaper than the made-in-Melaka Honda CR-V.