2021 Mazda CX-5 vs. Volvo XC40: The Better Value Is Clear

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Mazda and Volvo aren’t known for playing on the same field. While the Japanese brand focuses on value with style, the Swedish automaker aims itself toward audiences looking for luxury, safety, and performance. But that doesn’t mean their markets don’t have any crossover.
For one thing, Volvo’s done a pretty good job of creating a sleek, sophisticated lineup of SUVs and sedans. On top of that, Mazda’s 2021 lineup performs better than you’d expect from vehicles starting under $30,000, and its safety ratings score similar points to its Swedish competitor.
To get a better picture, take a close look at how the 2021 Mazda CX-5 compares to Volvo’s XC40. If you’re focused on getting the most bang for your buck, you’ll quickly realize that the CX-5 is your choice. But for those with some extra money to spend, the Volvo just might be the balance between form and function you’re looking for.
A gray 2021 Mazda CX-5 on display
The 2021 Mazda CX-5 has gotten a lot of love from both critics and consumers.

2021 Mazda CX-5 vs 2021 Volvo XC40: the similarities

Both of these compact SUV crossovers are attractive options. Even their curb-appeal will have your neighbors giving you a double-take the first day you roll one or the other into the garage.
A look under the hood probably won’t make your decision any easier. The two engine options in both the CX-5 and XC40 offer almost the exact same power and fuel efficiency, with Volvo having the slightest of advantages in terms of power and Mazda taking the win for fuel economy by one mile to the gallon.
Inside, safety and infotainment features are also nearly the same. Both driver-assistance systems are standard and include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist.
The Mazda CX-5 also includes adaptive cruise control, but Volvo’s semi-autonomous driving system is one of the best in the business.

What sets the 2021 Mazda CX-5 and Volvo XC40 apart?

While the CX-5 and the XC40 match each other in almost every aspect, there are a few key differences in what the two SUVs offer.
As a luxury brand, Volvo steps a few features up to justify the higher price tag. Car and Driver says leather upholstery comes standard in all three trim levels, the infotainment touchscreen has two inches on the 10.3-inch one in the CX-5, and, starting at $55,000, the Recharge model is available for anyone wanting to join the electric revolution.
Unsurprisingly, the main thing Mazda can hold over Volvo here is value. According to Kelley Blue Book, the CX-5 starts a full $8,000 cheaper than the XC40.
Its top trims are a little closer (if you don’t count the Recharge), with the CX-5 Signature at $38,700 and the XC40 Inscription available for about $40,500. But with seven trim levels, you can add a lot to your Mazda before you reach that price.

Cost of ownership, compared

Obviously, looking at the price tags at the dealership, you can save a lot of money by choosing Mazda’s 2021 CX-5 over Volvo’s XC40. But do those savings carry over once you drive your new SUV off the lot?
According to CarEdge, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Depreciation, interest, fuel, maintenance, and car insurance all cost less on average for the Mazda.
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