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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

2019 Honda CR-V SX Diesel AWD vs 2019 Mazda CX-5 AWD Skyactiv-D

It’s a rare treat to be able to drive two vehicles of the same class for a classic head-to-head comparo. Thanks to the popularity of mid-sized SUVs, the Honda CR-V and the Mazda CX-5 both are leftfield choices for buyers who prefer comfort and refinement above all else. With both of these choices equipped with a diesel powertrain and all-wheel drive, can Honda, the childhood favorite successfully take on Mazda, one of the segment’s best? Read on.


The CR-V’s design has evolved over the years, coming a long way from the boxy look of the first-generation. It’s become softer, rounder, and more refined over the decades. That said, its functional aesthetic borders on the fussy and lacks the minimalist modernity—often a barometer for premiumness that’s the fashion trend today.

With that, the Mazda wins this round. The long hood, clean lines, and sleek curvature make the CX-5 look more premium than its price suggests. The second-generation model, with that large wing grille and slim, sinewy headlines give it a fascia that’s classic yet sporty.

Winner: Mazda CX-5


The two stack up very close together on this one, but in the end, the Mazda CX-5 wins by a slight margin. Both being the top-of-the-line variants, there are no qualms with either when it comes to interior finishing. Both have ergonomically-sound and plush leather seats, and a pleasing instrument panel that’s easy to understand and use.

What made the CX-5 come out on top through is that the cabin definitely feels more premium. Like its exterior, Mazda has done their job in making the interior look and feel a class above. It’s made even more obvious when you start poking around like how the buttons feel crisper and the metallic accents feel much more convincing.

Winner: Mazda CX-5

Space and Practicality

This is where Honda wins by a landslide. If there’s one thing that Honda’s gotten right over the years, it’s that they are able to maximize vehicle space; the CR-V is no different. There’s wealth of space in every row, even down to the cargo hold. What’s even better is that the CR-V converts to a 7-seater for quick commutes, increasing its practicality over the 5-seater CX-5.

More than just its abundance of space, the CR-V also offers better overall visibility over the CX-5. While Mazda has opted to cocoon its drivers thanks to a high beltline, the CR-V has done the opposite. This makes it a much better choice for families who might have kids who’re claustrophobic.

Winner: Honda CR-V

Performance and Fuel Economy

With a sizeable engine advantage, the CX-5 once again trumps over the CR-V. Without a back-to-back drive, the CR-V’s 120-horsepower output may feel adequate, but once you get to try the 175-horsepower Skyactiv-D, the tables are turned.

There’s just an immediacy to the Mazda that the Honda can’t match. At every acceleration attempt, the CR-V will pause for a split-second before the power comes in, as if deciding whether or not to respond to the driver’s throttle input. On the other hand, the CX-5 comes with a continuous surge.

In addition, the CX-5 is definitely the quieter of the two. Both of these have that telltale diesel clatter, but on the Honda, it’s gruffer, sometimes even overpowering the radio in the process. By comparison, the Mazda remains hushed with just a lowkey rumble that’s largely unobtrusive.

In terms of ride and handling, the CR-V is definitely the cushier of the two with a softly sprung suspension. This results in great low-speed ride, but can feel somewhat detached at higher speed. On the other hand, the CX-5 may have a firmer suspension, but it’s neutral, responsive, and definitely more refined at any speed.

Winner: Mazda CX-5 

Value for Money

With a price spread of just P 105,000 between them, the cheaper CR-V is the more bang-for-the-buck choice, especially if one were to judge it completely on the spec sheet. The ace up its sleeve is definitely Honda SENSING that integrates things like Forward Collision Mitigation and Adaptive Cruise Control—stuff you don’t get in the CX-5. Then there’s the larger two-panel moonroof and seven seats as well.

On the other hand, the CX-5 counters that, but mostly on the luxury front. It’s the one with a Bose sound system, powered front seats (the CR-V only has electric adjustment for the driver), and blind spot indicators (the CR-V does have Honda’s Lane Watch camera). And while these features are great for those seeking the finer things in life, for the regular Filipino buyer, these may see frivolous features.

Winner: Honda CR-V


Choosing the outright winner here is incredibly tough. Both of these compact crossovers represent the best that the segment has to offer, but on two different fronts.

On one hand, there’s the Mazda CX-5 that offers a truly class-above look and feel with the driving dynamics to match. On the other, there’s the Honda CR-V which may not be as refined or plush, but scores high in terms of practicality.

After all’s said and done, while a true enthusiast will long for the CX-5, the typical Filipino buyer would appreciate the CR-V much more. The Honda doesn’t send hearts aflutter as much as the Mazda, but it ticks off what matters to the regular SUV buyer: safe and predictable handling, generous space, and bang-for-the-buck features. In this comparo, the mind rules in favor of the Honda CR-V.

Winner: Honda CR-V

Words and Photos by Gen Tiu

2019 Honda CR-V SX Diesel AWD vs 2019 Mazda CX-5 AWD Sport D
Ownership 2019 Honda CR-V 1.6 SX Diesel AWD 2019 Mazda CX-5 AWD Sport D
Year Introduced 2017 2017
Vehicle Classification Compact Crossover Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV 5-door SUV
Seating 5 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.6 2.2
Aspiration Turbocharged Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Common Rail Direct Injection Common Rail Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4 I4
BHP @ rpm 120 @ 4,000 175 @ 4,500
Nm @ rpm 300 @ 2,000 420 @ 2,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel Diesel
Transmission 9 AT 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive w/ Low Speed Follow Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 11.26 km/L @ 13 km/h 9.29 km/L @ 14 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,571 4,550
Width (mm) 1,855 1,840
Height (mm) 1,667 1,680
Wheelbase (mm) 2,660 2,700
Curb Weight (kg) 1,732 1,668
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc Disc
Tires Michelin Primacy 3 ST
235/60 R 18 H (f & r)
Toyo Proxes R46 A
225/55 R 19 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes Yes
Front Seatbelt 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Traction / Stability Control 3-pt ELR x 3 (2nd row),
3-pt ELR x 2 (3rd row)
3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front and Rear, w/ Camera Yes, Front and Rear, w/ Camera
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Lane Keep Assist
Lane Departure Warning
Road Departure Mitigation
Front Collision Warning
Collision Mitigation Braking
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Driver Attention Monitor
Hill Hold Assist
Blindspot Monitoring System
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Keep Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights LED LED, Active
Fog Lamps Yes, Front (LED) Yes, Front (LED)
Auto Lights Yes Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) 6-way Electric (driver) 6-way Electric, w/ Memory
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual 4-way Electric
Seating Surface Leather Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40 (2nd row),
50/50 (3rd row)
Yes, 40/20/40
On-Board Computer Yes Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes Yes
Power Door Locks Yes Yes
Power Windows Yes Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Automatic, Dual (Front),
Manual with Vents (Rear)
Automatic, Dual
w/ Rear Vents
Proximity Key Yes Yes
Audio System Stereo
Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 8 10, Bose
Steering Controls Yes Yes


  1. yup, i want the CX-5 but i need the CRV

  2. Ive heard a lot of positive reviews on the cx5, mazda6, mazda3 but.... honda is still my preferred brand. Crv over cx5, accord over 6, civic over 3. Maybe im prejudiced??

  3. We bought Mazda CX5 Signature a couple of months ago and we did not compare it with RAV4 or CRV, to be honest. After seeing the Signature line's premium interior and its exceptional driving experience, we actually compared it to premium SUVs like BMW X1 and Volvo XC40. But the additional €15k for the BMW or Volvo badge (it matters to some people!) Fir the full features that I could already get in the CX5 Signature did not make sense. We also tried out the Jaguar EPace and Mercedes Benz CLA shooting brake 2019 for their looks (heart, as you mentioned) but was disappointed with Jag's stiff handling and Merc's cramped passenger space (GLA looks ugly and GLC way over our budget!), so it did not justify for us to buy them at the baseline price either. So mind AND heart: Mazda CX5 Signature in soul crystal red.

    I enjoyed reading your review. I was interested to see how Mazda fares in Asia. I am based in Switzerland where BMW, Volvo and Benz SUVs flourish the highway, so if you see a red CX-5 on the road, it's a head turner! Unfortunately, RAV4, CRV, Forester and XTrail will not give you that. Jag FPace, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, and Mercedes GLC are major headturners but at a hefty price! Mazda-CX5 is the cheaper option for premium quality.


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