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Published January 31, 2023

SUVs we love: Honda CR-V vs. Mazda CX-5

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A composite image including a red Mazda CX-5 parked outside a city storefront and a red Honda CR-V parked on concrete in front of city office building.

Remember Valentine’s Day in elementary school, when you made that cute heart-shaped pocket for your desk to hold all those little V-Day cards you got from your classmates?

And remember there were always those classmates who got more Valentines than anyone else? (No, just me? OK. Read on).

If compact crossover SUVs received cute little cards with hearts and kittens on them for Valentine’s Day, then the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 would be the popular kids in class, their construction-paper pockets at their desks bursting at the seams with punny valentines.

The U.S. loves its SUVs for sure and these two compact crossovers rank among the top 25 best-selling vehicles for 2022. The Mazda CX-5 sold 151,594 units, for a ranking of 21. The ever-popular CR-V ranked No. 8, with 399,941 units sold (that’s a lot of valentines!)

How do these two popular SUVs compete for your attention? Let’s take a closer look.

Honda CR-V: top of my class

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A composite image including a red Mazda CX-5 parked outside a city storefront and a red Honda CR-V parked on concrete in front of city office building.
Honda CR-V

About me: I’m not much of an athlete, but I’m usually never picked last, thanks to my ride comfort, spacious cargo hold, good safety scores, upscale cabin and excellent fuel economy. Not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty well-rounded for a compact crossover SUV.

Likes: Road trips. Let’s stash our gear in the 75.8 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats folded down (fyi, that’s more than some midsize SUVs). Lots of cubbies to store those must-have trip necessities like snacks and small electronics. I love kids too, so let’s pack up for a long weekend. There’s room for everyone, with more legroom in the back seat than my competitors, including the one – ahem – in this article. All-wheel drive is available – who’s ready for a snow day?

Dislikes: gas stations. Good thing my 190-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine sips gas, getting 28 mpg city/34 mph highway. Estimates for my 212-horsepower hybrid version are 40 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.

Faults: Keep looking. Haha, just kidding. Car and Driver says my touch screen is “frustrating” and I don’t include a lot of standard infotainment features. A 5-inch display, a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and a USB port are standard for 2021 models, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto only optional, according to U.S. News. Also, deep secret, but my towing capacity doesn’t amount to much – 1,500 pounds, tops. But did I mention the size of my cargo hold?

Mazda CX-5: not just an athlete

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A composite image including a red Mazda CX-5 parked outside a city storefront and a red Honda CR-V parked on concrete in front of city office building.
Mazda CX-5

About me: Sporty and fun to drive, that’s so on brand for me. I’m good looking inside and out, giving off luxury vibes without the price tag to match. If you like your agility with a side of refinement, I’m your compact crossover SUV.

But I’m not just another pretty athlete. I have my ‘smart’ side too. My infotainment system got an upgrade for 2021, growing the 7-inch touchscreen to 10.3 inches and now features a Wi-Fi hotspot and remote access to my features through an app. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard in 2021 models and beyond.

Likes: Sunday drives. I love me some curves, and handle all the twists and turns in the road with responsive steering. My standard 187-horsepower 4-cylinder is peppy enough, but for a real good time, add the 250-horsepower turbocharged 4-cyl. All-wheel drive is an option (for 2021 models; it became standard in 2022), so rainy days never get me down.

Faults: What faults? The critics love me. But if I’m being self-aware, my cargo area is on the smaller side and you might feel a little cramped in the back seat for longer road trips. (*Whispers* And no hybrid option is available). But who cares, when I’m so good-looking and a thrill to drive? (wink)

Find true love with a used compact SUV from EchoPark

Our Experience Guides love playing matchmaker, and will help you every step of the way when it comes to picking out the used SUV that gets your heart pumping and lands the most Valentine’s cards. Find an EchoPark near you and schedule a meet and greet (oops, test drive) today, or start browsing for The One online.

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