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2017 Honda CR-V vs 2017 Mazda CX-5: Hard to Choose?

Canadian consumers in search of an affordable compact SUV have a surplus of choices in front of them. In fact, just in the past year several of the category’s top models have been redesigned and upgraded.

For 2017, there are remodeled editions of the Ford Escape, Jeep Compass and Kia Sportage/Niro. This is before you consider the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox and 2018 GMC Terrain (the former is already available) as well as the upcoming Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan. Also worth mentioning are the revised Rogue from Nissan and the modernized 2017 Subaru Forester, chosen Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.

Two other highly popular compact SUV models have come forth with next-generation editions this year – the 2017 Honda CR-V and the 2017 Mazda CX-5. As we’ve already reviewed both of them, the team at figured a quick comparative review would be a helpful exercise for undecided consumers.

2017 Honda CR-V – Technical specificationsReviewPhoto gallery

- LX-2WD: $26,890
- LX: $29,690
- EX: $33,190
- EX-L: $35,490
- Touring: $38,290

Strong points

  1. Only one available engine, but it’s a feisty 190-hp turbo
  2. Most generous cargo capacity in the segment
  3. Touchscreen display compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  4. Honda Sensing safety systems in all CRVs with all-wheel drive
  5. Honda’s reputation and reliability
  6. Vehicle well adapted to Canadian roads and families

Weak points

  1. New look, which was needed, but not quite as successful as the CX-5
  2. Slightly higher price point than the CX-5 (and the old CR-V)
  3. Overly sensitive lane-departure warning and prevention systems
  4. Smooth and quiet ride, but less sporty than the Mazda
  5. One CVT only, and the noise it produces ends up being grating
  6. Towing capacity limited to 1,500 lbs

2017 Mazda CX-5 – Technical specificationsFeatureReviewPhoto gallery

- GX FWD manual: $24,900
- GX FWD automatic: $26,300
- GX AWD: $28,300
- GS FWD: $29,100
- GS AWD: $31,100
- GT AWD: $34,700

Strong points

  1. High-end look and personality
  2. Great attention to detail and refinement
  3. Excellent road handling, sportier than the CR-V
  4. Turbo-diesel engine to be available as of fall 2017
  5. Manual transmission option (for that sports-car feeling when driving!)
  6. Superior all-wheel drive with G-Vectoring Control

Weak points

  1. Base-model engine produces only 155 hp
  2. Higher fuel consumption rating than the CR-V despite the SKYACTIV system
  3. No Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility for the moment
  4. Less interior space despite very similar exterior dimensions (particularly in the rear and in the trunk)
  5. Centre touchscreen is somewhat out of reach

By the numbers...

   2017 Honda CR-V  2017 Mazda CX-5
   Power (hp)  190  155/187
   Torque (lb-ft)  179  150/185
   Transmission  CVT  6-speed man./auto.
   L/100km, FWD  8.4 city – 7.0 highway  9.8 city – 7.7 highway
   L/100km, AWD  8.7 city – 7.2 highway  10.2 city – 8.3 highway
   Trunk (L)  1,110 – 2,146  875 – 1,687
   Towing (lb)  1,500  2,000
   Wheels (in)  17 or 18  17 or 19
   Warranty  5 yrs/100,000 km  3 yrs/unlimited km