Looking to buy a Toyota RAV4 but wondering if it can handle all the demands of your everyday life? The only way to get to know your dream car is to compare it to its competition. And when it comes to the compact SUV segment, the path often leads to just either of the two superlative bestsellers: the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V.
Both SUVs have proven popular for various reasons, and in many ways, you’ll find that they are quite similar. They both have an elevated ride height and can both fit five people and still carry a lot of cargo. All-wheel drive is also an option for both!
But how do they differ in the way they go about their business? We partnered with Car Expert to take a closer look at the latest generations of these vehicles and see how the SUVs stack up in this Toyota RAV4 vs Honda CR-V comparison. At the end of the day, we hope you figure out which SUV is the better choice for you.
If you’re buying an SUV for your family adventures, then you probably want one that can give you the ultimate entertainment during long drives. Luckily, the Toyota RAV4 comes standard with an infotainment system, which includes a 7-inch touch screen display, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Conversely, the Honda CR-V only includes a 5-inch display, Bluetooth, and a USB port. If you want to upgrade your car with the same features that the RAV4 comes with, you’ll need to shell more money out of your pocket, which you probably don’t like, right?
So you’re going on a weeklong trip with your family and you need ample space for all your stuff. Does your SUV have enough cargo space to accommodate all that? Well, both the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V offer above-average cargo space, but the latter takes the win here. The Honda CR-V comes with 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind its second row and 75.8 cubic feet with its rear seats folded down, making it far more spacious than the Toyota RAV4 that only offers 37.6 cubic feet and 69.8 cubic feet of cargo space, respectively.
We’re pretty sure that fuel economy plays a huge factor in your buying decision, and in this match, we must say it’s really close call. But while the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V both have great fuel economy for their segment, the Toyota RAV4 edges out its competition. The SUV is rated for 28 mpg city and 35 highway, whereas the CR-V is rated for 28 mpg city and 34 highway. You may think that’s only one mpg short on the highway rating, but hey, one mpg is still one mpg.
You’re probably willing to trade all the other fantastic features of your SUV for safety. Unfortunately though, we can’t declare a winner in this aspect just yet because the Honda CR-V has yet to secure an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) scoring, which the Toyota RAV4 effortlessly aced by the way. However, we can assure you that both vehicles have good safety credentials, with both the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V having a five-star overall crash testing rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2021 RAV4 also earned the top rating of Good in all of the IIHS’s crashworthiness tests. Will the Honda CR-V keep up? We’ll find that out soon.
Ride and Handling
We must say this is another close call, but it’s the Honda CR-V that takes the win. If you drive them both, you’ll find that both are capable of providing smooth rides, but the RAV4’s ride feels a bit firmer so the match ends in Honda CR-V’s favor. You’ll be glad to know though that the RAV4 is also available in a TRD off-road trim, so it’s a trusty SUV to go for if you’re looking for one that can work well across all types of terrain.
Since you’re buying an SUV, you might also want to know the time it takes for the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V to achieve your desired speed. Well, both SUVs come with just one engine but one of them can deliver a more decent performance than the other in terms of horsepower rating. The Toyota RAV4’s 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine is rated for 203 horsepower, making it a real winner when we talk about acceleration. Its competition, on the other hand, features a 1.5-liter turbo-four that’s rated for 190 horsepower. Not bad for an SUV, but still a long way to go to keep up with the RAV4.
Now let’s talk about the price. While both are slightly expensive for the class in their base trims, the Honda CR-V undercuts its Toyota counterpart across the board with its cheaper price tag. The top-tier Toyota RAV-4 Limited can reach up to $35,780, while Honda CR-V’s loaded Touring is only pegged at $33,650.
Honda CR-V Summary
Some of our key takeaways of the Honda CR-V…
- Spacious and comfortable – perfect for the family
- Easy to drive
- Affordable option – great value
- Lacks safety technology of the RAV4
Toyota RAV4 Summary
Some of our key takeaways of the RAV4…
- Five star safety and driver assistance features
- Plenty of storage, with easy to fold seats – perfect for creating extra space at the last minute
- Excellent fuel economy
- The more pricey option – but we think the extra dollars are money well spent!
Since both SUVs are good and no slouch, the answer to the question of which between the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V is better comes down to your personal needs and preferences. With more wins overall, however, we can say that the Toyota RAV4 is an excellent choice for an outdoor-ready, off-road vehicle for your family—but only if you’re ready to spend a little bit more on your vehicle. But as you can see above both are an excellent choice.