Should I Buy the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4?

When it comes to compact crossovers, two iconic Japanese manufacturers spring to mind immediately: Honda and Toyota. 

Since the 90s, these giants have battled it out with two great SUVs, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

So, which should you buy? It’s not an easy decision to make, or something to rush into. You need to weigh up the options before purchasing any car, and the CR-V and RAV4 have much in common at first glance, which makes the choice even harder. 

We’ve done the hard work for you in this guide, exploring the differences and similarities here to help you decide which works best for your needs. Find out how the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 compare on: 

  • Specifications: we measure up both vehicles with all the essential numbers you need.
  • Safety: is each model going to keep you secure on the road, and how?

  • Reliability: find out how dependable the CR-V and RAV4 are. Will you find yourself paying out for repairs?

  • Interior and infotainment: we check the design and quality of materials used inside and look at the tech Honda and Toyota have equipped each vehicle with.

  • Cargo space: SUVs need to be roomy, so are these crossovers going to be up for the job when it comes to adventures carrying lots of cargo? 

Honda CR-V vs. Toyota RAV4

2021 Honda CR-V: Price, engine and specification


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From $25,350

Engine: 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder

Miles per gallon: 28 MPG in the city 34 MPG on the highway
 

2021 Toyota RAV4: Price, engine and specification


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From $26,350

Engine: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder

Miles per gallon: 27 MPG in the city 35 MPG on the highway

When it comes to specs, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 are very close. The RAV4’s engine is a liter larger, but the CR-V’s is turbocharged, producing similar performance and fuel economy. With such similarities between the two, it’s worth noting that the CR-V is around $1,000 cheaper at starting price.

Head to Head: Safety Features

Both these SUVs come with safety suites full of the latest technology to keep you feeling secure.

2021 Honda CR-V

Honda’s Sensing Suite means the CR-V comes equipped with plenty of great safety features. These include low-speed automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and forward-collision warning.

Toyota RAV4

Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite includes road sign assist, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control and lane-departure alert with safety assist.

Head to Head: Reliability

The Honda CR-V may be slightly cheaper than the Toyota RAV4, but reliability matters too – if you want to avoid running up further costs through replacing parts and breakdowns.

2021 Honda CR-V

Consumer Reports ranked the Honda CR-V as the fifth most reliable model of 2021. J.D. Power gave it 84 out of 100 for reliability. 

There have been no safety recalls issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and new purchases come with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty. 

2021 Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 scored an average three out of five for reliability from Consumer Reports. It didn’t rank in its top 10 reliable models of the year. J.D. Power gave it a reliability score of 81 out of 100. 

There have been no safety recalls issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and new purchases come with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty. 

Head to Head: Interior and Infotainment 

How do our two SUVs compare when it comes to the look and feel of the interior? And does one fare better than the other with state-of-the-art tech?

Honda CR-V

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The CR-V interior is light on wow factor, but heavy on practicality. With high seating and great visibility, it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position. 

It feels well-built and the hard-wearing materials give the impression they can withstand whatever you throw at it. The front seats offer plenty of support for lengthy trips, and the second row offers more than 40 inches of legroom. 

It’s fair to say the Honda CR-V base model could do with an infotainment upgrade. It comes with a 5-inch display, four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, a USB port and automatic climate control. Other trims have at least moved with the times on the 2021 model, featuring a 7-inch touchscreen, a stereo with up to nine speakers, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, wireless device charging and interior ambient lighting.

Toyota RAV4

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The RAV4’s gives off a similar impression to the CR-V. Durability and ruggedness are the themes here, with large, chunky buttons and dials, and a thick gear lever.

Move up the trim levels and you get synthetic leather seats thrown in. Legroom is ample, seats are well-cushioned and the cabin is roomy. Optional extras include heated front and rear outboard seats.

When it comes to base models, Toyota trumps Honda here on the infotainment front. It comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Amazon Alexa, USB, Bluetooth and a six-speaker stereo.

You can add an inch to the touchscreen, an 11-speaker sound system, proximity keyless entry and a panoramic moonroof as an option.

Head to Head: Cargo Space

Cargo space is a major selling point for every SUV, so let’s see how these two Japanese car-making giants fare.

2021 Honda CR-V

Honda certainly hasn’t scrimped on storage space with the CR-V. Behind the rear seats there’s 39.2 cubic feet. Fold them down and you increase capacity to 75.8 cubic feet. Perfect for family vacations and adventures.

2021 Toyota RAV4

Toyota hasn’t quite achieved the same as Honda here, but 37.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up is still an impressive level of cargo storage. With the seats stowed you get 69.8 cubic feet. The RAV4 also has a low cargo floor, which makes it easier to load than other SUVs.

Buy a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4 from EchoPark

As you can see, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 are so similar, it’s perhaps too close to call. The CR-V is cheaper, but the RAV4 has a great infotainment suite.

Both these crossover SUVs are powerful, reliable and packed with great safety features and storage space. 

Still undecided? Head to EchoPark, where you can see the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 up close, have a test drive and talk to our knowledgeable Experience Guides.