Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, which of these two mighty mites win when they battle it out for supremacy in the tiny sized SUV market? I am almost completely divided when it comes to these perfect little SUV’s.
In my personal experience when comparing the Honda CR-V with the Toyota RAV4, there are many strong similarities that can make it very difficult to say which one is the clear winner in the decision which is the best. For many of us this decision is based on a hundred little things, all coming down to personal preference.
Each of these are very reliable SUV’s which offer extremely high quality builds, and each has a plethora of little touches that make them drive and handle well in all weather conditions. The one deciding factor for me could come down to the cargo space and horsepower. If you look at them very closely the amazing thing you will notice about these two vehicles is how very similar they are to each other. They are about the same size height and weight, and they sell for about the same amount, plus they offer very similar fuel economy.
Comparing the base model of each vehicle lets you get a feel for what these cars have to offer even the most frugal consumers. This price range also limits the add ons which are not completely necessary when you want to compare two vehicles in their purest form. Since each of these cars been around for well over a decade, they have both evolved into very stout little SUV’s. The creature comforts are world class, and the fuel economy of each is really quite impressive for non Hybrid vehicles.
My friend Lori drove a 2000 RAV4 up until she bought a 2010 RAV4, and the improvements made on this model are really obvious when you see the two cars side by side. I will say that she is one very happy Toyota RAV4 customer. Another friend drives a 2006 Honda CR-V, and she claims this is the best car she has ever owned, and she will be buying another when it comes time. The point of this discussion is that each of these cars have a very loyal following, and it is not too hard to see why!
I have been in each and have worked on older models of both the RAV4 and also the CR-V, and I can say for certain that both are well engineered vehicles with every square inch of space accounted for, especially under the hood. This can be good from the final weight and factory assembly perspectives, but it can really hinder your efforts when it comes time to repair these cars. However, the fact that you almost never have to work on either the RAV4 or the CR-V counts well in their favor.
When you view their specifications the strong similarities become more obvious, for example note the RAV4 weighs 3360 pounds, and the CR-V weighs 3386 pounds, which is only a 26 pound difference. The 2010 RAV4 with 36.4 cubic feet has more a tad more luggage room than the CR-V at 35.7 cubic feet. Also the CR-V has slightly more horsepower than the RAV4 beating it by just one meager horsepower. Another comparison that is significant to me is the CR-V has lower engine torque rating at 161 foot pounds and the RAV4 comes in with 172 foot pounds of torque.
With an economical 2.5 Liter 4 cylinder 16 valve DOHC 179 horsepower engine, stomping out 172 foot pounds of torque. with a ground clearance of an impressive 7.5 inches, and riding on 16 inch tires, this car could ride even better on 17 inch tires but that is an upgrade which will cost you. The RAV4 seats five with front bucket seats, and the specs claim it can seat seven which is two more than the CR-V. MSRP for the base model is $21,675. Fuel economy is 22 mpg city driving, and 28 mpg highway.
Using their time tested 2.4 Liter 4 cylinder 16 valve DOHC 180 horsepower engine, generating a respectable 161 foot pounds of torque. Ground clearance of 6.7 inches, and rolling on 17 inch tires, this car has a very smooth highway ride. The CR-V seats five with front captains chairs. MSRP for the base model is $21,545. Fuel economy is 21 mpg city driving, and 28 mpg highway.
Overall I would give the edge to the Toyota RAV4, even though it is probably the thinnest edge of victory that I can imagine. The points I would make for the Toyota RAV4 over the CR-V would be the higher torque in the RAV4, the higher ground clearance, the slightly larger luggage space, the very slight fuel economy advantage in the city, and the third row seating availability with room for up to seven passengers in the RAV4.
So with all important things considered, I feel that someone in the market for a small SUV could do a lot worse buying something other than one of these vehicles. Finally in my humble opinion the Toyota RAV4 is only very slightly better than the CR-V.
Personal experience working on each model, and visiting each dealership.
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