If you’re trying to choose an SUV and the decision comes down to the Honda CR-V versus Toyota RAV4, you’re not alone. These are two of the most popular choices on the market. These two crossovers are among the best-selling compact SUVs in America, month after month and year after year.
To help you make your decision, we’ve gathered all the relevant data into one place. Read on to find out which of these market-winning SUVs is right for you. And for more comparisons and information on how to make them, check out our article on finding the perfect car for you.
- About the Honda CR-V
- About the Toyota RAV4
- Honda CR-V versus Toyota RAV4: What has Better Interior Quality, Space, and Comfort?
- Honda CR-V versus Toyota RAV4: What has Better Safety Equipment and Ratings?
- Honda CR-V versus Toyota RAV4: What has Better Technology?
- Honda CR-V versus Toyota RAV4: Which is Better to Drive?
- Honda CR-V versus Toyota RAV4: Which Car is Priced Better?
- Honda CR-V versus Toyota RAV4: Which Car Should I Buy?
The Honda CR-V is a compact crossover SUV with four doors plus a rear hatch. The CR-V seats up to five passengers in two rows. The CR-V was most recently redesigned for the 2017 model year. Changes have been modest since that time. The CR-V comes in four trim levels, ranging from the economical LX to the luxury Touring grade.
U.S. News & World Report named Honda the best SUV brand for 2019 and the CR-V the “Best Compact SUV for the Money.” Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com rated the 2019 CR-V a 2019 Best Buy. Industry critics Edmunds.com and Motor Trend both chose the CR-V as the best SUV in its class. The Honda CR-V is produced in Ohio, Indiana, and Ontario, Canada for the North American market.
The Toyota RAV4 is also a compact crossover SUV with four doors and a rear hatch. The RAV4 provides space for five passengers in two rows. The RAV4 is brand new for the 2019 model year and is available with a conventional gasoline engine or as a hybrid.
There are five RAV4 trim levels, ranging from the basic LE to the luxurious Limited. Every trim except Adventure is available with the hybrid drivetrain.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is made in Aichi, Japan and in Ontario, Canada.
Interior quality is comparable between the RAV4 and the CR-V. Both SUVs offer about the same standard feature sets. Basic trims offer cloth upholstery, while upgrade trims offer real leather. Heated seats are available on both models. Finally, both automakers are known for quality and longevity.
One key difference between the two SUVs is the placement of the center touchscreen. In the CR-V, the screen is located in the dashboard, underneath the climate control vents. The RAV4 places the screen higher up, standing on top of the dash. Buyers may prefer one location or the other, but placing the screen up high allows the driver to see the screen without taking eyes off the road.
Honda offers substantially more rear legroom in the CR-V, with 40.4 inches, compare to the RAV4 with 37.8 inches. If you plan to carry adults in the back seat, this could be an important factor. General cargo volume also favors the Honda with up to 75.8 cubic feet behind the front seats, compared to 69.8 cubic feet in the RAV4.
Toyota has raised the bar for safety recently. Toyota provides the advanced Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 package as standard equipment in most models, including the 2019 RAV4. This package includes these high-tech features:
- Adaptive cruise control that follows the prevailing traffic speed.
- Road sign recognition and driver notification.
- Lane tracing assistance to keep the RAV4 centered in its lane.
- Pre-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection.
- Lane keeping assistance with road edge detection.
- Automatic high beams.
These features are standard equipment on all RAV4 trims. Additionally, the RAV4 comes with a full set of standard safety features. Optional extras include blind spot and rear cross-traffic monitors, and vehicle clearance alerts.
Honda also takes safety seriously, outfitting most CR-V trims with the Honda Sensing system. This package includes:
- Automatic collision mitigation braking.
- Road departure mitigation.
- Adaptive cruise control with low-speed following capability.
- Lane keeping assistance.
The base CR-V LX trim does not include Honda Sensing, but it is included on all other trims. In addition to Honda Sensing, the CR-V comes with a full set of standard safety features.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives both the RAV4 and the CR-V good crash test ratings across the board. IIHS gave the CR-V the coveted Top Safety Pick designation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awards the RAV4 a complete five stars for crash safety. The CR-V received four stars from NHTSA.
Most CR-V trims include a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with support for a variety of inputs. The Honda system includes support for standard and satellite radio as well as Bluetooth, USB, and Internet apps. The HondaLink system supports its own apps as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The base trim CR-V offers a 5.0-inch LCD screen with Bluetooth support. All CR-V trims include a multi-view backup camera with moving guidelines. Onboard GPS navigation is included in the top Touring trim.
Every RAV4 comes with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. The LE and XLE trims include a 7.0-inch touchscreen, while higher trims upgrade to an 8.0-inch system. Entune supports Apple CarPlay, but not Android Auto, a potential game changer for some buyers. Onboard GPS navigation is supported in the top trims, along with Qi wireless charging.
Between the two, Honda offers the more complete technology package, provided you upgrade from the base trim. The lack of Android Auto may factor into your choice of vehicle as well.
The Honda CR-V comes with two engine choices. The base LX trim includes a 2.4-liter engine with 184 horsepower. With this engine, the CR-V returns up to 26 MPG city and 32 MPG highway. All upgrade trims receive Honda’s 1.5-liter turbocharged Earth Dreams engine with 190 horsepower. This engine returns up to 28 MPG city and 34 MPG highway. All Honda CR-V models come with a continuously variable transmission. Buyers may choose front-wheel or all-wheel-drive.
The standard RAV4 competes with a 2.5-liter engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission across the model range. This engine produces 203 horsepower and returns up to 26 MPG city and 35 MPG on the highway. The RAV4 hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission and offers 219 net system horsepower and up to 41 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway. All-wheel-drive is optional on gas-powered RAV4 trims, and standard on the hybrid.
Toyota’s hybrid system is the best choice among all these. The extra power is only part of the reason. The RAV4 Hybrid implements its all-wheel-drive with electric motors to help drive the rear wheels, so there’s no fuel economy penalty. This system delivers great handling and winter traction, all for a price that’s barely higher than the standard RAV4.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 LE starts at $25,500 before fees. If you upgrade to the LE Hybrid, the price is $27,700, which is still lower than many competing SUVs. Most RAV4 purchases center around the mid-grade XLE trim at $27,300, and the XLE Hybrid comes in at $29,500. If you want off-road styling, the RAV4 Adventure trim comes with a little more panache for $32,900. The absolute top Limited trim costs $33,500, and the Limited Hybrid sells for $35,700.
The 2019 Honda CR-V starts a little cheaper at $24,350 for the LX trim. The volume EX and EX-L trims keep pace with the RAV4 at $27,250 and $29,750 respectively. The top Touring trim starts at $32,750, undercutting the top RAV4 trim price.
It’s hard to pick a winner between the Honda CR-V versus Toyota RAV4 on the list of features. Each one wins on some points, but in an era of rising gasoline prices the extra fuel economy and performance of the RAV4 Hybrid is compelling. When spread out over the life of the vehicle, the extra cost of the hybrid isn’t much. That’s why the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is our choice