It's time to revisit our compact-SUV comparison test to see if changes to the 2019 Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 mean they can unseat our current champion, the Honda CR-V. Last year, the Honda CR-V took the crown, but the Toyota RAV4 has been totally redesigned, and the Mazda CX-5 has a new engine and a new luxurious top trim level. We test all three crossovers at the track, drive them in the suburbs, load them full of cargo, and figure out what all the buttons do so that we can pick a winner. Which small SUV is the best? Watch our triple test to find out.
2019 Mazda CX-5 Review
Sharp style and sporting performance remain hallmarks of the 2019 Mazda CX-5, a small crossover SUV designed for those who enjoy a spirited drive. Excellent handling and a high-quality interior also help make it one of our top picks for a small SUV.
For 2019, the CX-5 is available in two new trim levels, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature. Both offer a broader list of premium features and conveniences this year and come with a new turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This engine, which is lifted from the three-row CX-9, generates up to 250 horsepower and a stout 310 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, these upgrades don't fix the CX-5's weakness: limited cabin and cargo space compared to rivals.
Overall, however, the CX-5 is a standout. It provides an excellent balance of sportiness, comfort and practicality, and its upscale interior conveys a sense of richness that you don't find in rivals. It's a smart choice.
Read more about the 2019 Mazda CX-5:
Watch our Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring Review video:
The Mazda CX-5 was picked as one of Edmunds' Best Family SUVs:
2019 Honda CR-V Review
The 2019 CR-V checks virtually every box on car shoppers' lists in the compact SUV segment. It makes family life easier with a cavernous cargo area, abundant backseat room, easily accessed car seat anchors, and more clever storage solutions than an Ikea. It will also keep you safe. Crash test ratings are flawless, and accident avoidance technologies are standard on all but the base trim. The comfortable ride and efficient and responsive engine wrap up the excellent value proposition.
Quite simply, the CR-V makes a ton of sense. If anything, its greatest flaw might be that it makes too much sense. Some rivals offer more memorable styling and personality, such as the Mazda CX-5 and the new Toyota RAV4. Technophiles may also find Honda's touchscreen to be frustratingly behind the times. Yet those are minor quibbles. In general, joining the CR-V-owning masses would be a pretty good idea.
Read more about the 2019 Honda CR-V:
The Honda CR-V got the Edmunds Editors' Choice for the Best SUV for 2019:
2019 Toyota RAV4 Review
Redesigned for 2019, the Toyota RAV4 receives a variety of updates, including a stylish new look, a new engine, and added safety and technology features. No doubt they will contribute to the RAV4's status as the best-selling small crossover SUV on the market. But is it the ideal pick for you?
The 2019 RAV4 gets a 2.5-liter engine that produces 203 horsepower, which is 27 hp more than last year's model. And it's not just more powerful, it's more efficient, returning an EPA-estimated 30 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway). And if you want the ultimate in efficiency, the RAV4 Hybrid returns 40 mpg combined.
The new RAV4 keeps the strengths of the old model ― including an easy-to-use interior, big back seat, comfortable freeway ride ― and adds more off-road capability along with standard tech and safety features. It also gets an added helping of personality.
Even with the new engine, acceleration lags behind competitors. And while the updated infotainment interface is a significant improvement compared to last year, it can be difficult to learn and use. If these are deal-breakers for you, take a look at the impressively well-rounded Honda CR-V or the stylish Mazda CX-5.
Read more about the 2019 Toyota RAV4:
Watch us drive the 2019 Toyota RAV4 through 48 states in a week:
Watch our 2019 Toyota RAV4 Review video:
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