So, what does the new boy offer and how does the veteran still compete? Let's find out by watching a comparison between the 2017 model year RAV4 and CX-5.
Recognizing how important its crossover was, Mazda refreshed it far sooner than its other models. This second-generation car is based on the old one's platform but moves to address some of its flaws. For example, the soundproofing has been stepped up a notch, and all but the basic trim level comes with active safety systems.
The killer new interior uses the same quality leather you'd find in the bigger CX-9. A new infotainment system is perched on top of the dash and can be controlled using an iDrive-like dial or as a touchscreen when the car is stopped. However, Mazda is still not offering Android Auto. The head-up display is another useful feature that you wouldn't expect to find at this price point.
The RAV4, meanwhile, is designed for less-than-ideal circumstances. Real children aren't impressed with what they see out the windows, like in the commercials; they like to spill stuff and fight over everything. So Toyota made the cabin utilitarian and hard-wearing. All the same safety systems, including lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring, are there. But the Mazda offers more customization. Android Auto and Apple Carplay are also missing, which is why the Honda CR-V should also be on your shopping list.
The 6-speed auto in the RAV4 is smoother and quicker to change gears, but the CX-5 is more economical by using the longest gear possible. So which one should you buy? I guess that depends on your lifestyle, but I couldn't live with myself knowing I missed out on that cool design and premium interior. So it's Mazda all the way!