Honda CR-V vs. Toyota RAV4

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - May 23, 2018

The small crossover class is just about as competitive as it gets in the automotive space these days, as automakers jockey for positioning in buyers’ minds. The Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 have been rivals for nearly as long as the compact crossover has been a thing, and they continue battling it out to this day. Both models do certain things great: the RAV4 has its thrifty hybrid model, and the CR-V has its cavernous cabin. Which one is superior in a head-to-head competition? Continue reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the CR-V & RAV4 »

What the CR-V Gets Right

With a starting price of $25,245 (destination fees included) for 2018 models, the CR-V is just a hair cheaper than the 2018 RAV4 – $260 cheaper, to be precise. No, this won’t free up much room to buy any options, but in a close competition, every little bit counts. The CR-V also boasts a newer look that fits the times better than the pointed nose of the RAV4. This also translates to the cabin, as the CR-V’s interior feels more upscale and delivers a quieter ride.

While inside the CR-V’s quieter cabin, the front passenger can also feel a bit safer, as the IIHS rated the Honda “Good” in its passenger-side small-overlap test, whereas the RAV4 got a scary “Poor” rating. Passengers will also feel a little less congested thanks to the CR-V’s impressive 40.4 inches of rear leg room. On top of that, its up to 75.8 cubic feet of cargo room bests the RAV4.

Under its hood, the CR-V’s base 2.4-liter engine injects 184 horsepower and its optional 1.5-liter turbo churns out 190 hp. What’s more, the latter gets 27 miles per gallon combined without the aid of an electric motor.

What the RAV4 Gets Right

The RAV4’s cabin, while not as upscale feeling as the CR-V’s, does come well equipped with features, even in its base level. In base LE trim, it includes a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a USB port, and even smartphone-linked navigation. Plus, for buyers who want more ruggedness, the RAV4 also has the Adventure Package, which adds a higher ride height, a center stripe, more aggressive wheels and tires, and more.

While the standard RAV4 powertrain cannot hang with the CR-V, the RAV4 Hybrid’s 194 hp outmuscles all CR-V engine options. What’s more, the RAV4 Hybrid delivers up to 34 mpg city, 30 highway, and 32 combined. Also, the hybrid includes standard all-wheel drive and an affordable starting price of $28,230 (destination fees included).

Going Green? Go Toyota

The Toyota RAV4 exchanges blows well with the CR-V, but it can’t quite pull out the “W.” Where it does win is its green-friendly hybrid model, which may be the best buy for buyers with fuel economy near the top of their list of needs.

Verdict: Honda CR-V

There are few vehicles as closely matched as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. In this bout, they exchanged body blows like two heavyweights, but the CR-V came out on top with its roomy, modern, and quiet cabin that the RAV4 can't quite match.

Take a closer look at the Honda CR-V »

Take a closer look at the Toyota RAV4 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website