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2021 RAV4 vs. CR-V Comparison

The RAV4 and CR-V are two small SUVs that helped change the market after their debuts and have withstood the test of time. Over the years, both vehicles have adapted to an evolving market including adding options for hybrid powertrains and incorporating advanced safety features. For its part, the RAV4 has added several configurations to choose from, including the go-anywhere RAV4 Adventure grade and the rugged RAV4 TRD Off-Road.

Although the RAV4 LE FWD has a slightly higher starting MSRP of $26,250, it has more multimedia options like Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. The CR-V LX MSRP starts at $25,350 and has Pandora® compatibility but lacks Amazon Alexa and other convenience touches.

Read on to see why the RAV4 brings huge value with impressive standard features across categories like performance, safety, and multimedia features standard.

Published Date: 03/19/2021

Family and dog getting out of the 2021 RAV4

Safety

  • The RAV4 comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) which has a lot of active safety features, like Road Sign Assist (RSA).
  • The CR-V comes with Honda Sensing® Safety & Driver-Assistive Technologies which misses out on some comparable features to TSS 2.0.
  • Both the RAV4 XLE and the CR-V EX have Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) standard, but the RAV4 has a slightly lower MSRP.

While safety is an important part of any car, vehicles like the 2021 RAV4 and CR-V wouldn't be the fan favorites they are without leading the segment in terms of standard safety offerings. That's why both Toyota and Honda have done a lot to ensure these small SUVs come stacked with advanced safety features.

Standard Safety Features

For its part, the 2021 RAV4 comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) which has a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), and Road Sign Assist (RSA).

The CR-V comes with Honda Sensing® Safety & Driver-Assistive Technologies which includes Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Auto High-Beam Headlights, and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). However, it misses out on Pedestrian Detection and Road Sign Assist technology.

The RAV4 XLE also comes standard with Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) which is only standard on the CR-V EX. The CR-V EX has a slightly higher starting MSRP of $27,860 compared to the RAV4 XLE FWD with a starting MSRP of $27,545. Plus, you can add Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) to the base model RAV4 LE FWD for an additional $590 on top of the base MSRP of $26,250.

You also get more airbag coverage with the RAV4 which has additional driver's knee and front passenger seat cushion airbags which the CR-V does not have on any trim.

2021 RAV4 driving on a windy dirt road

Performance

  • While both the RAV4 and the CR-V offer hybrid models, the RAV4 Hybrid can't be beat in fuel economy estimates.
  • The RAV4 also revs up its power with impressive horsepower that outpaces the CR-V.
  • Multi-LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) come standard on the RAV4 LE. To get the comparable LED Headlights with Auto-On/Off on the CR-V you'd need to spring for the Touring model or the hybrid trims.

Safety helps ensure you'll be secure on your adventures, but stout performance is what turns your trip into a thrilling adventure.

Fuel Economy

The RAV4 and CR-V are close competitors when it comes to fuel economy. The RAV4 LE FWD has an EPA-estimated 27/35/30 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating and the CR-V 2WD has an EPA-estimated 28/34/30 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating. They both also offer hybrid engines. The RAV4 LE Hybrid has an EPA-estimated 41/38/40 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating compared to the CR-V Hybrids' EPA-estimated 40/35/38 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating.

For more power under the hood, the 2021 RAV4's 2.5-Liter Dynamic Force 4-Cylinder engine produces 203 horsepower. The CR-V has a 1.5L In-Line 4-Cylinder engine with Turbocharger which has 190 horsepower.

The RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road can seamlessly transition from on-road driving to off-roading with a standard Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) dial with MUD & SAND, ROCK & DIRT, SNOW, and NORMAL drive modes. These models also include Downhill Assist Control (DAC) for steep descents. The CR-V gas models have an available Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™ which helps with tougher terrain and traction but will cost an additional $1,500. For improved grip, all CR-V models come with Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA) with Traction Control, too.

Shine bright with the RAV4 LE's standard Multi-LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL). LED Headlights with Auto-On/Off are only standard on the CR-V Touring and on the CR-V Hybrid trims. Multi-Reflector Halogen Headlights Auto-On/Off are the standard for the CR-V LX, EX, and EX-L gas models.

Interior of 2021 RAV4

Interior

  • The RAV4 base model has more multimedia options than the CR-V base model.
  • If you want a touchscreen, the base model RAV4 comes standard with a 7-in. display. The base model CR-V doesn't have a touchscreen and instead opts for 5-Inch Color LCD Screen.
  • The RAV4 comes with a 1-year trial of Safety Connect®. The comparable HondaLink® is only standard on the CR-V EX or higher.

A great adventure can be made even greater with the right tunes and tech touches. That's why the 2021 RAV4 comes with more connectivity options for your devices.

Multimedia

All RAV4 grades come standard with Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. You also get hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology and SiriusXM® with a 3-month All Access trial. While the base model CR-V LX has Bluetooth® Streaming Audio, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, and Pandora® compatibility standard, to get Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™, and SiriusXM® Radio, you'd need to get the CR-V EX or higher. The CR-V still misses out on Amazon Alexa integration, however.

The base model RAV4 also has a bigger 7.0-in. touchscreen compared to the CR-V LX which has a 5-Inch Color LCD Screen. To get a 7-in. touchscreen in the CR-V, you'd need to get the EX model or higher.

Another plus for the RAV4 is a 1-year trial of Safety Connect®. The similar, HondaLink®, feature is standard on the CR-V EX and higher. Both offer features like Automatic Collision Notifications, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Emergency Calling.

Three 2021 RAV4 models parked in a row

Conclusion: RAV4 vs. CR-V

  • The RAV4 offers a lot across the board in performance, safety, and multimedia.
  • If you compare the base models, the RAV4 has more horsepower, multimedia options, and more standard safety features.

Both of these small SUVs come from brands that are known for delivering quality and reliability. Hence their constant and tense competition over the years. But the 2021 RAV4 and 2021 CR-V each bring their own flavor to the mix.

The 2021 RAV4 has a lot to offer in terms of performance, safety features, and multimedia options.

At similar starting price points, the RAV4 has a better standard 203 horsepower, and more connectivity with Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility.

When comparing apples-to-apples, the 2021 RAV4 has more in the basket.