Honda CR-V vs. Toyota RAV4: Which One Is Better?

Honda CR-V vs. Toyota RAV4: Which One Is Better?

Compact SUVs are some of the most popular vehicles on the domestic market. Within that SUV category, the top contenders for “new car purchase” are the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4.

As a pair of Japanese automakers with a long history of making quality rides, Honda and Toyota have been heating up the SUV arena in recent years, with the CR-V and the RAV4 in their fifth generation of design. Both brands have had time to expand, refine, and adapt the current models, which means you can expect quality styling and specs across the board. 

However, if you had to choose between the two, which is better, Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4? Well, we’ll dive into the specifics and explain which option will suit your needs right here.

Honda CR-V vs. Toyota RAV4: Engine and Fuel Efficiency

When it comes to engine performance and fuel economy, neither the RAV4 nor the CR-V are slouches. That said, you’ll find slight differences between the two.

For the 2021 Toyota RAV4, expect a standard 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with 203 horsepower and 8-speed automatic transmission. You can choose between front- or all-wheel drive, and if you want to save on gas, you can also opt for the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. The hybrid is equipped with front-wheel drive as standard, too. 

With the 2.5-liter RAV4, you’ll see up to 27 mpg in cities and 35 mpg on the highway while in front-wheel drive and slightly lower when in all-wheel drive. Older RAV4 models weren’t too shabby, either, with the 2019 model receiving 26 mpg in cities and 35 mpg on the highway when in front-wheel drive. Switching to all-wheel drive allows for 25/33-mpg, while the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid gets you 41/38 mpg.

Honda CR-Vs also have decent engine stats, although the hybrid model of this SUV wasn’t introduced until 2020, giving Toyota a slight leg up. 

On the base model CR-V, you’ll find a 1.5-liter, 190-horsepower four-cylinder engine coupled with the continuously variable transmission. Altogether, you’ll receive 28/34 mpg when paired with front-wheel drive for the current model. If you opt for all-wheel drive, it changes to 27/32 mpg. 

For 2019, the Honda CR-V came with a 2.4-liter, 184-horsepower four-cylinder engine but no hybrid options. 

Both the CR-V and the RAV4’s all-wheel-drivetrain make them some of the best vehicles for camping.

Seats, Storage, and Infotainment Options

Both the RAV4 and the CR-V have been delivering casual comfort and easy-to-use infotainment for years. Because of this, you can expect yourself and all your passengers to be well-accommodated.

For seating and storage, specifically:

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 seats five occupants in total, and cloth seats are standard. If you opt for a higher trim, you can upgrade to leather seating and heated front seats. The back seats of the RAV4 also fold down, allowing your cargo space to jump from 37.6 cubic-69.8 cubic feet in the current model. In earlier RAV4 models, the SUV seated five as well, and the option to upgrade to leather seats was available. 

With the Honda CR-V, you can fit five occupants in total, just like the Toyota. In 2021 models, cloth seats are standard, while leather and heated seats are optional upgrades. Cargo space is king with Honda, so the CR-V holds 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the back seats up. That space jumps to 75.8 cubic feet with the back seats down, making it slightly larger than the RAV4. 

Older models are equally spacious, with the 2018 year sporting identical cargo stats.

Finally, when we compare Honda CR-V to Toyota RAV4 in the tech department:

Again, both vehicles excel in this area. For the current CR-V, you’ll get Bluetooth connectivity and a 5-inch infotainment display as standard. If you upgrade your trim, your vehicle will also feature HondaLink, which syncs with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio, among a few other device options. 

In the RAV4, expect a slightly more upscale entertainment system. In the base trim, you’ll find Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, a 7-inch touchscreen, and sync with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. One slight downside: In earlier models, Android Auto was not available for the RAV4.

2017 Honda CR-V LX (from $20,950)

2017 Honda CR-V LX (from $20,950)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test DrivesButton Text
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Honda CR-V
2017 Honda CR-V LX (from $20,950)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Honda CR-V

Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V: Which Is Safer?

With any vehicle, safe handling is going to be one of your top concerns. Fortunately, secure handling is another area where the CR-V and the RAV4 excel.

For the RAV4, expect a dependable, smooth ride that is easy to navigate around twisting roads. With an all-wheel-drive system attached, it can handle acclimate weather conditions like rain and snow, too. This easy handling is not a fluke, either, as Toyota makes some of the most reliable vehicles you can buy.

In addition to this reliable handling, Toyota equipped the RAV4 with standard safety features like emergency braking, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control. In 2021, the RAV4 also won a perfect five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, along with a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Additionally, 2020, 2019, and 2018 were excellent years for safety, according to IIHS.

In the Honda CR-V, expect a vehicle that is nimble in its handling, one that gets up to speed quickly, too. The CR-V's all-wheel-drive options make it well-suited for stormy weather, like the RAV4. 

The CR-V's standard safety features mirror the Toyota RAV4's. In 2021, like the RAV4, the Honda CR-V also won a five-star rating by the NHTSA and was also an IIHS top safety pick.

No items found.

RAV4 vs. CR-V? The Final Verdict

To sum up, both the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4 are excellent vehicles. They’re safe to handle, comfortable to sit in, and have many tech features to keep your devices charged. In both SUVs, you’ll also get plenty of cargo space, making these vehicles perfect for weekend camping trips. Additionally, a decent fuel economy will help you save at the gas pumps. 

When it comes down to the line, you can’t go wrong whichever way you turn, and the perfect car for you will depend on your specific driving needs. Do you like more standard tech features? The Toyota RAV4 gives you slightly more options. Do you prefer longer weekend trips? The CR-V has more cargo space.

Best of all, both of these compact SUVs have remained consistent in their quality over the years, so you can safely shop for an earlier model. In fact, you can shop for one of these cars online. At Shift, you’re offered fair, no-haggle prices driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data. This way, you’ll know that whichever car you bought, it’s the best one available.

If you want to see how Honda and Toyota stack up in other categories, check out this comparison on the Honda Accord versus the Toyota Camry.

2019 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium (from $31,700)

2019 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium (from $31,700)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day returns
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used 2019 Toyota RAV4
2019 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium (from $31,700)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used 2019 Toyota RAV4

No items found.

No items found.

No items found.

Author
Shift Editorial Team