December 21, 2016
In the small SUV market, a few vehicles stand out. Ask around about a safe SUV with both passenger room and cargo space that drives more like a car, and you’ll hear two vehicles mentioned over and over again: the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV-4. Which one will be the better choice for you?
In a lot of ways, the CR-V and the RAV-4 offer a similar design-17-inch wheels, shark fin antenna, rear spoiler. The Toyota adds privacy glass and roof rails to set it apart, as well as a larger cargo area.
The CR-V takes the design up a notch, with angles and chrome and a flared fender that make the CR-V feel a little bit different. The design difference is also clear when you open the door, as they open wide and have nearly flat door jams to make getting in and out of the vehicle easy. Riding is also a breeze, as there’s a roomier back seat and more shoulder room throughout.
Toyota is also committed to safety, adding its Toyota Safety Sense and Star Safety packages as standard equipment on its vehicles. Safety Sense comes with pre-collision and lane swerve warnings, and Star Safety offers similar options to the RAV-4, including traction control and smart stop technology. Toyota has developed whiplash injury reducing seats and received a **5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.
The 2017 Honda CR-V has not yet been rated, but the 2016 Honda CR-V was named a top safety pick for 2016 by the **NHTSA, its top safety recognition. Honda builds its vehicles from the ground up with an eye toward protecting drivers and passengers from the impact of a crash. They begin with ACE construction, which creates crumple zones to minimize impact not only to those in the Honda but to those in the other vehicle as well. Honda layers this engineering with a series of active safety systems, including traction control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, daytime running lights, and a dynamic multi-angle rear camera. More upgraded trims also offer additional safety equipment like a pre-collision warning and brake assist, lane departure warnings, and blind-spot monitoring. Though all of the features don’t come standard on the CR-V, the attention to safety from the design up gives the CR-V a slight edge.
The Honda CR-V offers the standard features that drivers have come to expect-remote keyless entry, power doors and windows, accessible 12-volt charging ports for portable devices. On upgraded trims, the CR-V also offers thoughtful additions like push-button start, power driver’s seat adjustment, a retractable cargo cover, and a security system that makes driving and handling the business of life a bit less challenging.
The Toyota RAV-4 has a few extra touches. In addition to the standard options that the CR-V offers, the Toyota RAV-4 adds a noise-reducing windshield, an additional 12-volt outlet (one of the few SUVs in this class to offer three), and premium radio options on their base model. Upgraded trims also offer the Smart Key feature and the remote power liftgate, which can be activated with a foot in the most upgraded trim.
One of the things that makes the Toyota RAV-4 attractive is its list price. For $25K, drivers get a decent base model with some nice safety upgrades and additional convenient touches. With an ECO and Sport Mode, as well as a commitment to low emissions, the RAV-4 is a good choice in this class.
The Honda CR-V is also priced well, nearly $1000 less than the RAV-4 with a similar set of features. In one area, however, the CR-V clearly wins, and that’s in fuel economy. Impressively, the *2017 CR-V has also greatly improved its emissions, which makes it competitive in multiple areas that matter to people concerned about the environment.
While the Toyota RAV-4 has a few extra features, as well as a lower emissions rating, the Honda CR-V offers a sportier design, roomier interior, comprehensive safety approach, and better overall performance.
*Any MPG listed is based on model year EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery-pack age/condition (hybrid only), and other factors. For additional information about EPA ratings, visit https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/label/learn-more-PHEV-label.shtml.
** Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) New Car Assessment Program. Model tested with standard side airbags (SABs). For additional information on the 5-Star Safety Ratings program, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.