The 2024 Mazda CX-50 and 2024 Toyota RAV4 are compact SUVs with room for five and enviable reputations for delivering a lot of value for your car shopping budget. First introduced for the 2023 model year, the handsome Mazda CX-50 comes standard with all-wheel drive (AWD) and offers a choice of two engines. It can be thought of as a slightly larger, more off-road-themed version of Mazda’s CX-5 sport-ute.

As for the Toyota RAV4, it really needs no introduction. Having been introduced in the 1990s, the RAV4 has become one of the most popular SUVs available today. Known for its roomy cabin, reputation for reliability, and strong resale value, this Toyota SUV is a go-to choice for many. 

But does the sleek and sophisticated CX-50 have what it takes to unseat this long-standing benchmark among compact SUVs?  

Let’s take a closer look at the highlights of the Mazda CX-50 and Toyota RAV4 to find out.

2024 Mazda CX-50

The 2024 CX-50 starts at $31,675, including factory-to-dealer destination charges. Offered in no less than eight trim levels, the standard powertrain consists of a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine coupled to a 6-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. 

Having AWD as standard is a definite bonus, particularly for SUV shoppers living in snowy climates. Optional is a 227-hp version of this same 4-cylinder engine. Output jumps to 256 hp when running on premium-grade gasoline. A CX-50 equipped with this more robust turbocharged engine starts at approximately $39,000. 

Mazda CX-50 Highlights 

Optional turbocharged engine: Having spent many miles behind the wheel of the CX-50, we assure you the standard 187-hp 4-cylinder is an excellent choice. It’s plenty powerful for day-to-day driving needs and returns an EPA-rated 27 mpg average in a mix of city and highway driving. Then again, the available turbocharged engine gives the CX-50 a significant boost, pun intended. It makes this already refined SUV feel that much more special in how it gets down the road.

Mi-Drive: This system allows the driver to toggle between various drive modes, such as Normal, Sport, and Off-Road. This provides extra go-anywhere capability for SUV owners who want to venture off paved roads. And when toggled into Sport, Mi-Drive further sharpens the CX-50’s already finely-honed driving dynamics.

Steering responses: Mazda has a great habit of instilling sharp steering responses into its lineup of sedans, sports cars, and, yes, even practical SUVs. The CX-50 is no exception. It has a degree of agility that makes it easy to maneuver and a whole lot of fun to drive. 

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the CX-50 models for sale near you. 

2024 Toyota RAV4

2024 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE in blue near a bridge.

The 2024 RAV4 has a starting price of $30,025, including destination fee, and is offered in six main trims: LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, Limited, and TRD Off-Road. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. 

Under the hood of every (non-hybrid) RAV4 is a 203-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. During many thousands of miles behind the wheel of various RAV4s, we’ve routinely come away impressed by its relaxed driving manners and a commanding view of the road. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are available, but we’re focusing on the non-hybrid RAV4 for this comparison.

Toyota RAV4 Highlights

Cargo space: Few compact SUVs can outshine the RAV4 regarding cargo volume. Behind its split-folding second row, you’ll find 37.6 cubic feet of space. This is more than what you get in the CX-50, not to mention several other SUV rivals. 

Safety features: Toyota knows SUV shoppers enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having a long lineup of driver aids as standard. This is why every RAV4 comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and automatic high beams.

TRD model: With a starting price of around $39,000, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road model is the one to choose for drivers who like venturing off the beaten path. This all-terrain variant includes a more rugged suspension, underbody skid plate, 18-inch alloy wheels, and standard AWD. 

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the RAV4 models for sale near you. 


The CX-50 and RAV4 are very evenly matched in terms of feature content and the room available for both passengers and cargo. They have plenty of adult-friendly passenger space, and each is comfortable if long commutes or extended highway journeys are part of your daily driving routine.  


The good news is there’s no wrong decision to be made when choosing between the Mazda CX-50 and Toyota RAV4. We’d love to say that one of the two delivers a knock-out punch, making it the obviously better pick. Sorry, no can do. 

Working to the advantage of the CX-50 is its quick steering, elegant interior, and that extra performance afforded by the optional turbocharged engine. The RAV4 counters with outstanding resale value, more cargo space, and slightly better fuel economy. 

Yet, considering how close this contest proved to be, we suggest taking both for a test drive to see which is the better fit.

  2024 Mazda CX-50  2024 Toyota RAV4
Starting Price  $31,675 $30,025
Popular Powertrains      
Engine  2.5-liter 4-cylinder 2.5-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower  187 hp @ 6,000 rpm 203 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Torque  185 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 184 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission  6-speed automatic   8-speed automatic 
Fuel economy MPG 24 city/30 highway/27 combined 27 city/35 highway/30 combined 
Also Available  Turbo 2.5-liter 4-cylinder AWD; hybrid; plug-in hybrid
Basic Warranty  3 years/36,000 miles  3 years/36,000 miles 
Powertrain Warranty  5 years/60,000 miles  5 years/60,000 miles 
NHTSA Overall Safety  NA  5-Star
Max Seating Capacity 
Wheelbase  110.8 inches  105.9 inches 
Overall Length  185.8 inches  180.9 inches 
Width  75.6 inches  73.0 inches 
Height  63.5 inches  67.0 inches 
Turning Diameter  36.0 feet  36.1 feet 
Headroom, Front  39.1 inches 39.5 inches 
Headroom, 2nd Row  38.6 inches  39.5 inches 
Legroom, Front  41.7 inches  41.0 inches 
Legroom, 2nd Row  39.8 inches  37.8 inches
Shoulder Room, Front  55.9 inches  57.8 inches 
Shoulder Room, 2nd Row  53.6 inches 56.4 inches
Cargo Volume seats up/down 31.4/56.3 cubic feet   37.6/69.8 cubic feet 

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