When you look at a Honda CRV and then look at a Toyota Rav4, you don’t see a lot of difference. The outside looks a little sleeker for the Honda CRV, but the Toyota Rav4 is nothing to sneeze at either. Both come in comparable colors for body and trim. Exterior mirrors for passenger and driver fold in for tight fitting parking spots. Alloy wheels, available four wheel drive and an overall sleek appearance, for both.
I will be up front and state, brand loyalty is hard to part with, so I wanted to give both SUV’s a fair shake. I prefer Honda products. But when I started to compare the two, well here are my findings:
The interiors for both the Honda CRV and the Toyota Rav4 are almost identical as well. You could almost say they had a mind meld when both companies drafted their 2011 models. But the Honda CRV seats only five comfortably with a half seat available in between the two regular seats in the back, whereas the Toyota Rav4 can seat six comfortably adding a third row in the back. Although both SUV’s you do not want to put a person with a long inseam in the back seats. I take their comfortable statement with a large grain of salt. I am only around 5’8″, not super tall, but I have a long inseam and it would be a stretch for me to sit back there for a long period of time in either vehicle.
Sound systems are almost identical, Blue tooth is available for both the Honda CRV and Toyota Rav4, and Navigation is also an option for both. Although the Honda CRV has satellite-linked navigation and the Toyota Rav4 is DVD driven and requires updates.
Mileage is comparable for both the Honda CRV and the Toyota Rav4. The CRV two wheel drive ranks 21/28/24 for City/Highway/Combined driving, while the Toyota Rav4 reports in with 22/28 City/Highway. Of course this is based on how an individual’s driving habits play into the estimated mileage values.
Pricing on both the Honda CRV and the Toyota Rav4 are comparable as well. The Honda CRV base is $21,695 while the Toyota Rav4’s base price is $21,925. So not much difference.
So what are the differences that can be identified? I took the two vehicles out for test drives.
In the driver’s seat of the Toyota Rav4, I felt confined and limited as I sat behind the wheel. I also felt a bit off for looking around the car as if I was driving, looking for potential traffic hazards. Both the Toyota Rav4 and the Honda CRV have small blind spots over your right shoulder, but in the Honda CRV I had a bit easier time seeing around the blind spot then the Toyota Rav4.
The Honda CRV felt a bit less restrictive when I was behind the driver’s seat. Even though the dimensions of both SUV’s are almost identical, a fraction of an inch was all that mattered to me.
On the road the Toyota Rav4 has a tinny sound, it wasn’t bad mind you, but the Honda CRV did not sound like I was driving in a tin can. In defense of the Toyota Rav4 the Honda CRV has special dampening techniques for noise, vibration and harshness sounds. I didn’t find that anywhere for the Toyota Rav4, I even asked about it.
Both SUV’s tracked nicely on the streets and highways for the test drive although in some situations I felt the Toyota Rav4 was a bit light and could be tipsy if you had to swerve quickly, whereas the Honda CRV seemed tight to the road. And to be fair I didn’t not have exactly the same road stretches to test drive both in.
One of the things I test when looking at new cars is braking, where I live you need a reliable brake system. The Honda CRV seemed to brake like a compact car, which is acceptable and good to know up front. But the Toyota Rav4 seemed a bit soft and mushy and not have the same smoothness for stopping at the same speeds.
As I thought over the two vehicles, a nagging thought came back to me about Toyota’s track record for repairs in the past couple years. Unfortunately the press didn’t help much, so I researched it and found that both the Honda CRV and the Toyota Rav4 were low in repairs if taken care of properly. So that was good news for the Toyota Rav4.
My last thoughts for investigating a new car purchase, is safety. For safety I turn to the IIHS (Institute of Highway Safety) and look at the ratings for front, side and rear impacts. The Honda CRV has a five star rating compared to Toyota Rav4’s four star rating making the Honda CRV a better choice.
Overall, after city and highway road tests, there isn’t a lot of difference between the Honda CRV and the Toyota Rav4, just little differences. Personally, I would purchase the Honda CRV because of the looks, the feel, the price, the repair record, but also the Safety rating. And that little nagging thought about recalls for Toyota as an overall company and their vehicles, keeps coming back. Even though their ratings are good and their attention is set on making the better car and being a leader in the automobile industry again the recent two year history that does have an effect on your thoughts when looking for a new vehicle.
So even though my choice would be a Honda CRV, do the research yourself, test drive both and come to your own conclusions.