The compact SUV market is crowded, which makes it difficult for car buyers to determine what SUV is best for their lifestyle.
Below, we will go over the popular Toyota RAV4 and 5 similar SUVs to better understand the similarities and differences.
- Test drive and review of the RAV4.
- We also have a full overview of all the Toyota SUV models across the years.
Table of Contents
Toyota RAV4 – A Good Value Compact SUV
The Toyota RAV4 is a good value compact SUV.
The compact crossover SUV was first released in 2005 and is a popular choice nearly two decades later. It is also the most-sold SUV of it’s class.
The RAV4 has a reputation for providing drivers with the features and comfort they want and need.
Also, the late RAV4 models go up to 40 miles per gallon!
Keep reading to learn more about the Toyota RAV4’s competitors and five similar SUVs.
Honda CR-V is a Worth Competitor to the Toyota RAV4
Competition between the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V is fierce.
Both car models helped kick off the compact SUV market, and generation after generation of the respective companies has unlocked new ways for the models to compete for drivers.
In a side-by-side comparison, the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V are very similar. Like the Toyota RAV4, the Honda CR-V is produced by a Japanese automobile company. However, the CR-V was released about ten years before the RAV4 hit the American market in 1997.
It is a compact SUV built on the same platform as the Honda Civic.
It also features a ton of cargo space and uses plush materials.
No matter what Honda CR-V trim you get, you’ll benefit from the manufacturer’s reputation in resale value and longevity. Like other makes and models from Honda, the CR-V is a modestly-priced compact SUV.
The high-quality materials in the vehicle’s interior make it seem more expensive, and the cargo space is impressive.
On paper, the RAV4 continues to beat the CR-V yearly. But when it comes to handling and skill on the road, the CR-V edges out the RAV4 time and time again.
One major difference between the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4 is where they excel. Or rather, where one excels and the other does not.
The Honda CR-V is great on the road. The Toyota RAV4 is also great on the road. But, only those driving the RAV4 should think about going off-road. However, the Honda CR-V also has some problems.
The Honda CR-V has no off-road capabilities and should only stay on traditional roads.
Mazda CX-5 – Delivers Power not Possible with the Toyota RAV4
The Mazda CX-5 is sought after for its posh interior, excellent handling, and gorgeous exterior. It is a compact SUV but doesn’t have as much cargo space as the RAV4 and others on this list.
If you’re interested in hybrid SUVs, the Mazda CX-5 isn’t for you.
But, what it does offer is luxury at a mid-range price point. In addition, drivers praise the CX-5 for its driver assistance and infotainment options. This model is also one of the most-sold compact SUVs today.
Base models of the CX-5 feature a 187HP, 4-cylinder engine.
Upgraded trims of the CX-5 get a beefier engine at 256HP and a turbocharged powertrain. With this bigger engine, drivers can take the CX-5 from 0 to 60MPH in 6.2 seconds.
This means the two SUVs have many of the same features and abilities. But, the Toyota RAV4 is a bit basic compared to the agile handling and acceleration abilities of the CX-5.
Simply stated, the CX-5 is more fun to drive than the RAV4. This is also one of the reasons you shouldn’t buy the RAV4 (if you want fast acceleration).
Chevy Equinox – A Basic Choice that Delivers Exactly what You’d Expect
Chevy stands out in a list of the best compact SUVs on the market because it is one of only a handful of American car manufacturers that usually make the cut. However, some car buyers are turned off by the Equinox’s lack of flare.
It’s a pretty straightforward compact SUV, which can make it seem boring amongst its competitors.
In addition, drivers are attracted to the Equinox because of its overall fuel economy and base cost. Making it a top seller in the compact SUV class.
Another feature that compact SUV fans like about the Equinox is the sound the engine makes while driving. (It’s easy to hear the vehicle’s motor’s power when driving.) And, when you’re in the interior of the SUV’s cabin, you’ll enjoy a quiet cabin.
When determining whether to buy a Toyota RAV4 or a Chevy Equinox, you can’t go wrong with either. However, if you want a vehicle that gets great fuel economy, the RAV4 stands out.
The Chevy Equinox is probably cheaper in terms of ownership too, but it also has some issues. Check here for a list of known problems with Chevy Equinox models.
In addition, OEM and aftermarket parts for the Equinox are easily accessible and available in most major auto parts locations.
On the other hand, if you aren’t interested in the perks of the RAV4, you can cut cost and go with the Equinox.
Subaru Forester – Offers AWD for Great Handling on All Models
Toyota and Honda get a lot of credit for creating the compact SUV market, but Subaru was part of this movement as well. Like the RAV4 and the CR-V, the Forester was released to the public in the late 1990s.
The Subaru Forester is a standard AWD compact SUV that delivers a comfortable ride.
With AWD available on every version of the Forrester, drivers can drive confidently and know precisely what to expect from the SUV in slippery conditions.
Subaru has a reputation for providing exceptional features to its customers, and the Forrester is an excellent example. Unfortunately, while Subaru offers AWD as standard for the Forrester, they don’t offer any luxurious items standard.
If drivers want anything more than basic amenities, they’ll have to choose an upgraded trim of the Forrester.
For example, the 2022 Forester is equipped with standard AWD, an 8.7″ ground clearance, high-beam assistance, and lane-centering steering assistance on its base model.
Subaru is also a popular choice for those that like to go off-road.
The Subaru Forrester Wilderness trim features a lifted suspension, Yokohama all-terrain tires, and double the towing capacity of other trims at 3,000lbs.
Both the Subaru and the RAV4 have room for up to 5 people in the cabin, but Subaru uses their space a bit better. The interior of a Forrester offers about 20 cubic feet more of space than the RAV4. As a result, the Forrester has a roomier and more open feel to the interior.
Nissan Rogue – Attract Buyers with Reliability Confidence
Another popular compact SUV that competes with the Toyota RAV4 is the Nissan Rogue.
I personally looked into this model back in 2019 and had the pleasure of test-driving it. It is a really smooth SUV with lots of nice features and a good spacious cabin!
The most noticeable difference between these two options is price. From the base trim to the top-notch trim in each car’s line-up, the RAV4 is priced more competitively.
When it comes to reliability, the Rogue and RAV4 are almost identical.
In a JD Power reliability test, both models tested in the low 80s, which gives them each a great reliability average.
On the inside, the Rogue pushes past the RAV4 just a little bit.
The Rogue provides a bit more room for passengers than any of the RAV4s, and Nissan uses more comfortable seating for the driver and its passengers.
This doesn’t mean Toyota uses uncomfortable seats in the RAV4; it just means the Rogue’s seats are more comfortable.
Neither the Toyota RAV4 nor the Nissan Rogue is going to be mistaken for luxurious SUVs, but the interior of each is upscale for its price point.
In terms of towing capacity, the Rogue and RAV4 are tied again.
Both have trim options available that facilitate towing. You won’t be hauling a ton with either of these compact SUVs, but you can easily haul a small trailer or aluminum boat.
It’s important to take your time when weighing your options in the compact SUV market. Each of the most popular car manufacturers is represented in this list.
Some of the SUVs in the list stand out, but are not special for reasons that meet your lifestyle needs.
Instead of getting distracted with bells and whistles, it’s important to be realistic about your budget, your biggest concerns; safety, reliability, etc., and then choose the vehicle that best meets your needs.