Choosing a vehicle in the compact crossover segment can be tiring especially for those who are not into cars because almost all vehicles in this particular class are similar. However, two cars are rather different, but both of them are leaders in what they do – the 2017 Honda CR-V and 2017 Mazda CX-5. Several other models such as Jeep Compass, Cherokee or even a Subaru Forester are alternatives based on price or off-road capabilities.
The Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring and the Honda CR-V Touring trims have been tested, and they have been driven on the same roads. Even though this is not a typical comparison between the two, there is enough information we can use to draw some conclusions. In layman’s terms, the CR-V is the best for all the passengers except the driver, while the CX-5 is ideal for the driver. This doesn’t mean that they are poor in other aspects and on the contrary, the CR-V drives impressively while you can fit a whole family into Mazda easily. What is clear is that their approach different and they target distinctive buyers.
For starters, the 2017 Mazda CX-5 is a great chose for people who plan to replace their agile car with a family hauler. The steering and throttle response of this Japanese vehicle is spot-on, and its six-speed automatic gearbox puts performance forward, while fuel economy is in the second place. With these dynamic elements, Mazda feels like the right move for those ditching a sporting non-family vehicles.
The interior of the new CX-5 is upscale while high-quality materials complement the cabin which is arguably the prettiest in the crowded segment. The new model has a sleek exterior, and now the premium vibe coming from inside is exactly what Mazda has hoped to achieve. On the other hand, the Honda CR-V looks less cardboard than before, but it is hard to like its design more than the design of the CX-5. However, Honda has an advantage when it comes to carrying things in the trunk, and its maximum cargo capacity is 75.8 cubic feet compared to Mazda’s 59 cubic feet. Furthermore, Honda has a low load floor, which means that you won’t have any difficulties loading the heavy suitcase inside.
Speaking of the backseat space, Honda improved it by adding two inches of rear legroom for the 2017 model and this may not seem too important a decision, but now the adults will be able to sit comfortably and enjoy coziness in the back. The driver can even push his seat all the way back, and there will remain enough space for your legs. It is a different story in the CX-5, and if you are taller than average, you might find it difficult to sit in the back as your knees may be leaned against the back side of the front seats. The 2017 Honda CR-V is once again better when it comes to space for smaller items in the front where you can find two large cupholders and gigantic purse-friendly bin, which you can partition with a movable tray.
Equipment is a mixed blessing for both cars. The CR-V’s touchscreen has been finally improved, and a real volume knob and extra touch operated menu shortcut buttons have been added, but it is still slow, which is really frustrating. Also, the navigation system feels rudimentary. The Mazda CX-5 comes with a standard system that sports a dash-mounted screen and a controller located on the console – something similar you might find in an Audi. Unlike the Honda’s system, this one is fast, but if you want to use the audio system, it does take time since there are too much (unnecessary) steps. Plus, the controller is too far rearward, and it may be hard for shorter people to reach it. The downside is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not offered, but according to Mazda, they will arrive eventually.
The CX-5 is equipped with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4 unit that delivers 187 hp, while the CR-V comes with a 1.5-liter turbo four rated at 190 hp. These are the base engines, and the Mazda’s is more responsive, while the one powering the Honda is smoother and quieter. It is hard to say which engine is better because both of them offer good acceleration and admiring fuel efficiency.