2023 Honda CR-V vs 2023 Mazda CX-5

A grey 2023 Honda CR-V is angled left and a grey 2023 Mazda CX-5 is angled right.

Mazda’s success in blending luxury and athleticism to deliver value-laden models leads many customers to the brand and might have inspired your search for the perfect compact SUV. However, Mazda lacks something integral in the automotive landscape––a solid foundation of success defined by ingenuity and a no-compromise approach to giving drivers tangible value. This is everything Honda stands for, and it’s apparent when comparing the 2023 Honda CR-V vs 2023 Mazda CX-5.

The 2023 CX-5 is unarguably more affordable at $26,700, but the adage “you get what you pay for” applies here. Spending slightly more means investing in the Honda name and the CR-V that helped launch the compact SUV segment in the late 1990s. The CR-V was so revolutionary that no one knew what to call it because it wasn’t a sedan or a traditional SUV. Honda dubbed it a “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle,” marketing the CR-V as a versatile SUV that offered sedan-like agility and efficiency with the versatility and spaciousness of an SUV.

The first CR-V proved drivers could have it all, and the 2023 CR-V continues that tradition. It carries Honda’s reputation for building vehicles that can easily log thousands of miles. Mazda entices you with the CX-5’s athleticism and turbocharged engine. In contrast, Honda appeals to your practicality with the CR-V’s hybrid powertrain that ensures you keep more money in your wallet without compromising performance. Which will you choose? While you may initially be drawn to the 2023 CX-5, you might be surprised at where your search ends. Here’s how the models compare and why the 2023 Honda CR-V wins the race against the 2023 Mazda CX-5.

2023 Honda CR-V VS 2023 Mazda CX-5
$28,410[a] MSRP $26,700
40[b] Fuel Economy (MPG) 26
76.5 Cargo Space (cu.ft.) 59.6
41 Rear Legroom (in) 39.6

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A blue 2023 Honda CR-V is shown from the front at an angle during a 2023 Honda CR-V vs. 2023 Mazda CX-5 comparison.

Standard Features

The 2023 Mazda CX-5 is appealing because you can get behind the wheel of an all-wheel drive SUV for $26,700. But while that is lower than the 2023 Honda CR-V’s starting price of $28,410, consider the value behind what you’re getting.[a] The best way to gauge this is by looking at the base trims, which set the standard across the lineups.

The CX-5 2.5 S is the first in the fleet, rolling off the factory floor with Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G 2.5L four-cylinder engine and SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission. The combination is impressive, especially with i-ACTIV all-wheel drive offering all-season confidence and features like Dynamic Stability Control with Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist, and G-Vectoring Control Plus that optimize how the SUV responds in certain conditions. But how does the 2023 CR-V compare?

Honda gives drivers a choice between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, recognizing that not all drivers want or need the latter. Regardless of the drivetrain, the CR-V offers driver-selectable modes that let you harness the SUV’s turbocharged power. Normal, ECON, and Snow modes come standard, but Honda adds Sport Mode to hybrid models, giving the SUV a sportier driving style and enhanced responsiveness. The breadth of capability these modes offer gives the CR-V a notable advantage since the CX-5 only features available Sport and Off-Road modes.

Other Options

At first glance, the CX-5 seems to have a few other advantages because of its available 2.5L turbocharged powerplant and 10.25-inch center display. The CR-V’s 190-hp 1.5L turbocharged engine pales compared to the CX-5’s 256-hp turbo, but the CX-5 discounts what so many drivers want––a hybrid option. The CR-V delivers with its 2.0L hybrid powertrain producing 204 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Its unique layout guarantees seamless shifting and modest fuel consumption, with the hybrid getting an EPA-estimated 43 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway.[b] That’s nearly twice as efficient as the CX-5, which gets 24 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway at best.

But what about the CX-5’s expansive 10.25-inch center display? The display is home to the Mazda Connect infotainment system and is larger than the CR-V’s standard seven-inch display. However, that’s the only advantage. The CX-5’s display is not a touchscreen, meaning navigating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a chore compared to the intuitive layout found on the CR-V.


The steering wheel and dashboard in a 2023 Honda CR-V.

Dimensional Differences

The 2023 CX-5 and 2023 CR-V share many similarities as compact SUVs. For example, they both offer seating for five and use their compact footprints to their advantage. As a result, they’re agile, fun to drive, versatile, and functional. However, Honda achieves this balance better than Mazda, and it shows when you look at how the interiors compare in terms of passengers and cargo.

For 2023, Honda stretched the wheelbase of the CR-V by 1.5 inches, making it a tenth of an inch longer than the 2023 CX-5. Honda also widened the CR-V’s front and rear tracks, stiffened the SUV’s body construction, and enhanced the overall build. These improvements make a world of difference in how the CR-V handles, but they also give it another lead over the CX-5.

Interior Room

The CR-V is 184.8 inches overall, making it longer than the 180.1-inch CX-5. The Honda is also slightly wider at 73.5 inches, with the Mazda measuring 72.6 inches, but the heights are comparable at 66.5 inches and 66.3 inches, respectively. Passenger volume is also remarkably similar, with both models offering over 103 cu.ft. of space. However, Honda does a better job of ensuring the CR-V’s second row is just as comfortable as the first row and that its SUV can adequately accommodate larger items.

The CX-5 gives the driver 39.7 inches of headroom and 41 inches of legroom, similar to the CR-V at 40 inches and 41.3 inches. However, your backseat passengers will appreciate the CR-V’s more spacious second row, which offers 41 inches of legroom compared to the 39.6 inches of room in the CX-5. Moreover, the CR-V’s functional interior also lends to a larger cargo capacity at 39.3 cu.ft. behind the second row and 76.5 cu.ft. with the second row folded. The CX-5 forces drivers to rearrange their cargo or travel with less since it only offers 29.1 cu.ft. behind the second row and 59.3 cu.ft. total. Are you willing to leave a piece of luggage behind or cut down on grocery shopping to ensure everything fits?


A gray 2023 Honda CR-V is shown from the rear at an angle parked near a lake.

Driver-Assist Technology

There’s no question that safety is a priority for Honda and Mazda because the 2023 CR-V and 2023 CX-5 are laden with advanced safety and driver-assist technologies. These features continuously monitor the front, rear, and sides of the SUVs to enhance your situational awareness. While many of these features are industry standard and comparable across the segment, there are a few subtle differences, with Honda adding to the CR-V’s value and making it more comprehensive in terms of safety.

The 2023 CX-5 is no slouch when it comes to your safety. Every trim has Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a Lane Departure Warning System with Lane Keep Assist, Advanced Smart City Brake Support with Pedestrian Detection, and Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go. These features are integral to your experience in the driver’s seat, making it easier to change lanes, navigate the SUV in reverse, and stay aware of other vehicles and pedestrians.

Honda Goes the Extra Mile

While impressive, the CX-5’s standard safety features leave much to be desired when you look at everything the 2023 CR-V offers. The Honda Sensing suite is standard across the trim lineup and outfits this compact SUV with a Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, a Road Departure Mitigation System, Lane Departure Warning, a multi-angle rearview camera, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, Traffic Sign Recognition, and a Lane-Keeping Assist System. The key difference here is Honda’s introduction of an all-new Traffic Sign Recognition System that automatically recognizes speed limit signs and displays the data on the digital display behind the steering wheel, eliminating any question of how fast you can travel.

Honda also goes the extra mile by offering more advanced technologies. For example, Traffic Jam Assist is all-new for 2023 and works with Adaptive Cruise Control and the Lane Keeping Assist System to help you manage the CR-V at speeds under 45 mph. The technology makes navigating rush-hour traffic a breeze. Moreover, features like Low-Speed Braking Control add to your experience, significantly reducing the risk of low-speed collisions.

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Welcome to Klein Honda

Our commitment to delivering a unique customer experience extends beyond our laid-back environment and values of integrity and transparency. We want our customers to experience tangible value, which is the inspiration behind the Klein Advantage. This program helps you celebrate your purchase and includes the Klein Honda Lifetime Limited Powertrain Warranty and a Honda Service Pass that covers oil changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections for the first two years or 24,000 miles. You’ll also receive a one-year membership to the Washington Trails Association, the leading resource for adventurers throughout Washington.

The Klein Advantage includes many other benefits, like our long-term commitment to exceeding your expectations. We make buying an SUV like the 2023 CR-V exciting, but our work doesn’t stop there. Instead, we promise to oversee all your automotive needs from the convenience of our state-of-the-art facility. With Klein Honda, you gain an automotive partner for life. Visit us today to find your SUV!

[a]MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $1,295 destination charge, and accessories. Dealer prices may vary. MSRP does not include $395 premium color charge for 2022 vehicles or $455 premium color charge for 2023 vehicles.
[b]MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $1,295 destination charge, and accessories. Dealer prices may vary. MSRP does not include $395 premium color charge for 2022 vehicles or $455 premium color charge for 2023 vehicles.