Crossovers offer the best features of a sedan without sacrificing key benefits of an SUV.
Starting from the beginning, the aim of the RAV4 was to mix the light off-road capability of an SUV with the on-road comfort of a car. Combining the best of both worlds, Toyota debuted the first crossover compact SUV in the USA, the RAV4, in North America in 1995 for the 1996 model year.
Honda unveiled the CR-V a year later in 1996 for the 1997 model year.
For similar starting prices, the RAV4 allows drivers to pick from more options. The base trim of both vehicles carry similar price tags: $25,050 for the CR-V LX and $25,950 for the RAV4 LE. However, drivers may prefer the customization options available on the RAV4 XSE Hybrid, Adventure, and TRD Off-Road trims, including a two-tone paint job.
RAV4 adventurers also get more in terms of compatibility. The base trim RAV4 LE includes a standard 7-in. touch-screen as well as Android Auto™️, Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay® compatibility, and a Sirius XM® 3-month All Access trial. The base trim CR-V LX comes standard with a smaller 5-in. color LCD screen and does not include Android Auto™️, Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay®, or SiriusXM®.
Before picking your next SUV, check out how these small SUVs (SSUVs) stack up in categories like interior features, performance, and reliability.
Publish Date: 06/26/2020
Crossovers and SUVs offer benefits like great fuel economy and better ground clearance than most sedans. But these benefits don't come at the cost of exceptional interior features.
As highlighted before, the base trim RAV4 LE includes a 7-in. touch-screen, as well as Android Auto™️, Amazon Alexa, and Apple CarPlay® compatibility standard.
The RAV4 also comes with a one year trial of Safety Connect®, as well as a 3-month Wi-Fi Connect trial. This includes up to 2 GB of data and a SiriusXM® 3-month All-Access trial. A similar trial for SiriusXM® does not come standard on the 2020 CR-V. In fact, it is not available on the base LX trim at all.
To get a 7-in. screen, Apple Carplay®, Android Auto™️ compatibility, and SiriusXM® on the Honda CR-V, drivers would need to choose the EX trim or higher. The Honda CR-V does not have Amazon Alexa compatibility as an option and the base trim CR-V has a 5-in. touch-screen.
Furthermore, some 2020 RAV4 models feature remote keyless entry. This Smart Key System, offered on the RAV4 XLE and higher, lets you enter and start your car without taking your keys out of your pocket. The RAV4 XLE also includes Automatic Electric Parking Brakes (EPB) with a Brake Hold feature.
The CR-V has automatic brake hold indicators and a Remote Entry System, but no electronic parking brake is available.
The RAV4 LE Hybrid trim comes out ahead of the CR-V LX Hybrid trim when it comes to cargo space. It features 37.6 cu. ft. of cargo volume behind the first row vs. the CR-V's 33.2 cu. ft. Both vehicles seat up to five people and feature 60/40 folding split rear seating.
When it comes to performance on an off-road SUV, drivers want fuel economy, power, and of course, off-road capabilities.
The base trim RAV4 LE has an EPA-estimated 27/35/30 MPG (city/highway/combined) while the base trim CR-V LX 2WD has an EPA-estimated 28/34/30 MPG (city/highway/combined).
Also available in hybrid trims, the RAV4 LE Hybrid has an EPA-estimated 41/38/40 (city/highway/combined) MPG. The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid has a lower EPA-estimated MPG of 40/35/38 (city/highway/combined).
Moving on to engine power, the RAV4 2.5-Liter Dynamic Force 4-Cylinder engine gives you more horsepower and torque at 203 HP and 184 lb.-ft. The RAV4 Hybrid has a 219 net combined system HP, helping it zoom past the competition.
On the other hand, all CR-V gas trims feature the same In-Line 4-Cylinder engine with Turbocharger. This provides 190 HP and 179 lb.- ft. torque. The CR-V Hybrid has an In-Line 4-Cylinder engine with a 212 net combined system HP and 232 lb.-ft. torque.
Off-roaders and weekend warriors may also find the RAV4 TRD Off-Road trim to be up their alley: its ground clearance of 8.6 in. and Multi-terrain Select dial on AWD gas models has modes for MUD & SAND, ROCK & DIRT, SNOW and NORMAL.
The CR-V’s ground clearance is 7.8 in. for the 2WD trims and 8.2 in. for the AWD trims which are both less than the base-grade RAV4 LE’s 8.4 in. ground clearance.
Toyota vehicles adhere to Toyota’s “Quality, Durability, and Reliability” motto. The RAV4 is no different.
The Toyota RAV4 comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense® 2.0 (TSS 2.0), which includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/ PD), Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), Road Sign Assist (RSA), and Lane Tracing Assist (LTA).
Honda has a similar suite of standard safety features known as Honda Sensing®. It features a Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Road Departure Mitigation System™ (RDM), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR).
With all these safety features, it's no surprise that both the 2020 Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V received Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick awards. This award specifically applies to the RAV4 Hybrid Touring trim when equipped with LED projector headlights and the Adaptive Front Headlight System package. The award applies for the CR-V Touring Trim with LED reflector headlights.
For an added safety bonus beyond airbags and active safety features, all purchases and leases of new Toyotas also feature ToyotaCare, a scheduled maintenance plan. The maintenance plan covers normal factory-scheduled service for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. ToyotaCare also includes 24-hour Roadside Assistance for two years and unlimited mileage.
Honda offers its own maintenance plan, HondaCare. Its cost, length, and whether or not it has roadside assistance depends on the plan you buy.
Still asking, "Why the RAV4"? Between the interior advantages, smart performance, and unparalleled standard safety features, the RAV4 outshines its competitor.
Although the EPA MPG ratings for the base trim RAV4 and CR-V are similar, the RAV4 LE Hybrid has a better EPA-estimated MPG of 41/38/40 (city/highway/combined). The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid, in comparison, has a lower EPA-estimated MPG of 40/35/38 (city/highway/combined).
The RAV4 gas-powered trims also have more horsepower with 203 HP compared to the CR-V gas-powered trims' 190 HP.
Not to mention, the RAV4 models also include standard features like Toyota Safety Sense® 2.0 (TSS 2.0) and ToyotaCare. Comparatively, CR-V models include Honda Sensing® and a maintenance program called HondaCare, but prices may vary.
Although the base trim of both vehicles carries similar price tags: $25,050 for the CR-V LX and $25,950 for the RAV4 LE, the RAV4 gives you more for the starting price.
In this CR-V vs. RAV4 head to head, the 2020 RAV4 delivers more customization options, more off-roading capabilities, and more safety features. You can't go wrong when you invest in Toyota’s long-standing reputation of reliability with the original crossover SUV: the RAV4.