Move over Camry and Accord. The sales battle to watch over the next few years is RAV4 versus CR-V. These two crossovers are playing an increasingly important role in the Japanese automakers’ lineups as consumer tastes move toward crossovers’ commanding seating position and extra cargo space. So many crossovers are sold in the $25,000–$37,000 price range beyond CR-V and RAV4, so we’d encourage a quick look at our comprehensive 2016 Big Test comparison of nine crossovers.
But if you’re simply not willing to look beyond the new-for-2017 CR-V and refreshed-for-2016 RAV4—nameplates that have both been around for two decades—keep reading for more on how the crossovers match up.
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the 2017 Toyota RAV4 was given a Top Safety Pick+ rating, the highest overall rating available (a 2015 RAV4 is shown above). The Toyota also performed well in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s tests, with an overall five-star rating (out of a possible five stars). The newly redesigned 2017 Honda CR-V hasn’t been safety-rated by the IIHS or NHTSA, but the last-gen 2016 model was rated well, and the automaker expects five-star NHTSA and Top Safety Pick+ IIHS ratings. The only minor difference here is for those few consumers set on a base-model trim. Whereas the Toyota makes a full suite of active safety tech standard—including an automatic collision braking system and a lane departure warning system that can guide the car back into its lane—the Honda’s similar technology is only standard on the EX and Touring trims, not the base LX. Honda expects at least 75 percent of buyers to go for the EX and above for the 2017 CR-V, and we’re guessing price-conscious base-model LX shoppers might rather have a $24,945 base price and no HondaSensing tech versus a higher entry price.
One of the 2017 Honda CR-V’s most remarkable features is its quickness. After spending lots of time with a CR-V Touring and its 1.5-liter turbo-four, I can tell you the engine is far more satisfying than you’d expect from such a small engine. The CR-V EX and higher trims are equipped with this engine, which helped a Touring AWD model reach 60 mph in a Motor Trend–tested 7.5 seconds. That’s pretty good for a mainstream crossover that isn’t performance-oriented, and it’s noticeably better than a 2016 Toyota RAV4 SE AWD we clocked from 0 to 60 mph at 8.7 seconds. It’s still a respectable time, but that 1.2-second difference is one you’ll feel in certain driving situations.
The 2017 Toyota RAV4’s EPA ratings actually fall below those of the new 2017 Honda CR-V with front- or all-wheel drive, and that’s true even with the CR-V’s carryover base-model engine, the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated I-4. When we ran Real MPG tests for both cars, however, a different story emerged. The turbocharged CR-V fell well short of its EPA ratings in the city but slightly exceeded its EPA highway rating. The combined city/highway Real MPG number of 26.1 mpg would have been above every other Real MPG number in our 2016 Big Test of compact crossovers except for a 2016 RAV4 SE AWD, which exceeded its EPA estimates for a 26.8 mpg combined number. That’s essentially the same combined rating as the 2017 CR-V Touring AWD, but the RAV4 has another more efficient model if you’re willing to pay the relatively modest $2,200 premium for the hybrid. Although the 2016 and 2017 RAV4 Hybrid have a 32-mpg combined EPA rating, the crossover was good for 36.3 mpg combined in Real MPG tests.
Driving Fun—Advantage: CR-V
We’re fans of the RAV4 Hybrid more than the nonhybrid model, but if you’re focused on nonhybrids, the CR-V is more fun to drive. In our 2017 CR-V First Test review, we said that although the car is still no Mazda CX-5 on a winding road, the Honda feels light on its feet and holds its own. There’s nothing wrong with the nonhybrid RAV4’s six-speed automatic and its barely perceptible shifts, but the Honda’s CVT is smooth and responsive.
Cargo Space and Functionality—Advantage: CR-V
You can’t really go wrong with either the 2017 RAV4 or the 2017 CR-V in terms of cargo space. The spacious crossovers have conveniently low load floors, too. The minor difference comes in how easy it is to fold down those rear seats—the Honda seats can fold out of the way from the side doors and from levers in the cargo area. It’s a helpful advantage. And if you’re keeping score, the nonhybrid 2017 RAV4 offers 38.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats, compared to the 2017 CR-V’s 39.2 cubic feet. Fold those seats down, and the RAV4 is good for 73.4 cubic feet to the CR-V’s 75.8 cubic feet.
Rear Seats—Advantage: Tie
If you haven’t shopped for a compact crossover in a few years, you might be surprised by how not at all compact they’ve become. Both the 2017 CR-V and 2017 RAV4 have comfortable back seats with soft front seat backs and barely visible drivetrain humps, which increase the impression of space back there even if you aren’t regularly shuttling a car full of passengers. Just as we found for the 2016 models of these crossovers, the RAV4’s rear-seat back recline feature remains easier to use than that of the CR-V. It’s mounted on the side of the seat, or where your arm would naturally fall if you’re sitting in one of the outboard rear seats. In the CR-V, it’s still reachable on the top of the seat (beside the headrest), but that’s not as easy. Then again, rear-seat passengers in the CR-V get their own air vents.
SO PRETTY!—Advantage: RAV4
I much prefer the 2017 CR-V’s front styling to the last-generation model, and I drove the >Motor Trend 2015 CR-V for a year. Even so, more than one editor at our 2016 Big Test comparison of compact crossovers was impressed by the two-tone paint job of our RAV4 SE tester (pictured above in blue, but also available in black or white over silver trim pieces on the bottom). With the new 2017 RAV4 Platinum model, the Toyota now also offers a single-color look without the contrasting black lower trim pieces on most other models. Inside, the RAV4 offers an interesting Cinnamon color, too.
Interior Layout—Advantage: CR-V
With the CR-V new for 2017 and the RAV4 only refreshed—but not fully redesigned in the 2016 model year—it should come as little surprise that the Honda’s interior looks more modern from the driver’s seat. The cargo area between the front seats is expansive and highly flexible (I fit a tub of ice cream in the back of it with lots of room to spare), and the center stack of controls simply feels more modern. That continues as you look to the digital instrument cluster screen on the CR-V EX and above. There’s a digital speedometer readout mounted at the top of the screen, which makes more sense than a needle on a 140-mph speedometer. The RAV4 offers a couple interesting interior color combinations, but overall it isn’t as rewarding of a driving environment as the CR-V. If you’re waiting for a new RAV4 interior layout, don’t be surprised to see a redesigned model make its debut for the 2019 model year.
Rear Visibility—Advantage: Subaru Forester
Both the 2017 CR-V and 2017 RAV4 have less than ideal rear sightlines, so it’s a good thing blind-spot monitoring systems are becoming so widely available. Still, if you’d forgo bold styling for refreshingly clear visibility, consider a Subaru Forester.
Which One Would You Choose?
If possible, drive as many cars as you can on the same day and in similar conditions before making a buying decision. It’s how we organize our Big Test comparisons, and it’s a great way to accurately determine one car’s advantages over another. If I weren’t willing to consider the numerous alternatives from the Subaru Forester and Nissan Rogue to the Ford Escape and Chevrolet Equinox and plenty more, I might go with the CR-V (for a full and official Motor Trend perspective from multiple editors, wait for our next Big Test).
The CR-V drives better, is quicker, and has a more modern interior with Apple CarPlay. However, when driving fun isn’t as important, the RAV4 has plenty going for it, from the interior and exterior color options to the fact that even the base model has active safety tech, and the available hybrid model is just $2,200 more.
If you were choosing between a 2017 Honda CR-V and a 2017 Toyota RAV4, which would you choose?
Source : http://www.motortrend.com/news/2017-honda-cr-v-or-2017-toyota-rav4/