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2019 Honda CR-V vs. 2019 Toyota RAV4

Honda and Toyota have been going head-to-head at the top of the compact SUV and crossover segment for years. It's a crowded segment, full of plenty of decent vehicles, but the cream always rises to the top. For the last two decades or so, that cream has been the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4.

Both vehicles are great examples of what drivers across State College, Mt. Union, and the Central Pennsylvania region are looking for in an SUV. They are both budget-minded, and both have a good reputation for reliability. Both offer great versatility inside the cabin, and capable engines under the hood. Both do a great job of offering the latest safety, information, and entertainment technology.

While the 2019 Honda CR-V is in its third year since being redesigned, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 brings a fresh new look and a fresh new package to the table. It has had a total redesign inside and out, in an effort to keep pace with the CR-V and win over the drivers of Philipsburg. But is it enough to top the CR-V?


Honda CR-V driving in the city at night


Does the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4 have better Performance Features?

The available 1.5-liter turbocharged engine in the 2019 Honda CR-V is one of the most intelligent, well-balanced engines on the market. With 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque, it is confident from a standing start or when you need to overtake on a busy highway. Instead of skewing towards being better on the open road or better around town, it is smart in both situations, offering 28 MPG city and 34 MPG highway with two-wheel drive, or 27 MPG city and 33 MPG highway with all-wheel drive.

Sure, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 has a slightly more powerful engine, with 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. But unless you opt in for the expensive Adventure grade trim, it isn't any more capable than the CR-V, with both towing up to 1,500 pounds maximum. It's also not going to do you any favors at the gas pump. Around State College, you'll only get 26 MPG with two-wheel drive, dropping to 25 MPG with all-wheel drive. Highway numbers are on par with the CR-V, but overall, you'll find yourself making more gas stops without getting any better performance. The CR-V is just a better balance.


Are there better Technical Features in the CR-V or RAV4?

For some reason, Toyota continues to resist adapting to the modern connectivity technology. While the 2019 Toyota RAV4 does finally provide Apple CarPlay compatibility - the first year it is available in the RAV4 - it still does not offer Android Auto compatibility. So, if you are one of the 54% of Americans who use Android, you still can't get full integration for that cohesive experience and connectivity. The 2019 Honda CR-V, just like CR-Vs of past years, offers both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. Given the high use of cell phones these days, you'd have to wonder why Toyota continues to leave out over half of the users. You'll also find a slew of safety features and driver-assistive technologies with Honda Sensing - the safety package only available from Honda.


 Does the CR-V or RAV4 have more interior space?Couch being loaded into the trunk of a CR-V

To be a great compact SUV, a vehicle needs to balance cargo and passenger space within a small footprint - and none are better at this than Honda.

Inside the 2019 Honda CR-V, you get anywhere from 101.6 to 105.9 cubic feet. The 2019 Toyota RAV4, meanwhile, has managed to shrink its passenger space from last year, down to a maximum of 98.9 cubic feet - and if you want the moonroof, that will drop even further. These cuts are most noticeable in the rear seats, where the CR-V offers 2.6 more inches of leg room. That's the difference between your passengers being comfortable driving around Tyrone or carpooling to Penn State game, or them feeling cramped. The rear seats of the CR-V are also wider, offering 49.5 inches of hip room versus 47.7 inches in the RAV4.

If you're going to a Penn State game, you'll also want to be able to tailgate. You'll need space for a grille, coolers, chairs, and plenty more. The RAV4 tops out at 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, while the CR-V offers 39.2 cubic feet - that's enough room for another case or two of your favorite beverage. If you've got moving to do, or landscaping errands to run, the CR-V also offers more maximum space with the rear seats stowed, providing 75.8 cubic feet - 6.0 cubic feet more than in the RAV4.


Is the Toyota RAV4 or the Honda CR-V a more comfortable SUV?

The redesign of the 2019 Toyota RAV4 has drawn comparisons to the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma trucks. Unfortunately for Toyota, many SUV buyers across Mt. Union and Philipsburg are looking for something a little more refined.

Inside the respective vehicles, the RAV4 has that truck-like feeling, which comes with truck-like road noise, utilitarian upholstery, and surfaces that lean more towards durability than comfort. The CR-V, on the other hand, does an excellent job of insulating against road noise, and offers surfaces that have a solid, substantial feel. The finishes are cleaner, with better fit overall and smart ergonomics to keep drivers comfortable on long or short trips.

It doesn't help that the RAV4 also seems to have taken performance characteristics from its truck siblings either. The eight-speed automatic transmission can feel raw at times, allowing the engine to wind up on steep Tyrone hills or drawing out downshifts. The continuously variable transmission in the CR-V is smooth and quiet, which makes for a smooth and relaxing driving experience. Handling suffers to in the RAV4, as it has noticeable body roll through the corners of State College back roads. The CR-V is planted and composed, shining on the open highways and the curvy country drives, it's just fun to drive.

 CR-V driving away into the city at night 

With a massive redesign, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 certainly has made an aggressive push to challenge the 2019 Honda CR-V. Pair that with the great sales team and service you get at Bobby Rahal Honda of State College, and you have a winning package that is a smart buy for any driver on the road today. We're convenient to get to from across Central Pennsylvania, whether you are coming from Philipsburg, State College or Tyrone. Stop in and see the new 2019 Honda CR-V for yourself and find out why it's still the top of its class!


CR-V MPG/HP Disclaimer:

26 city/32 highway/28 combined mpg rating for LX 2WD trim, 25 city/31 highway/27 combined mpg rating for LX AWD trim. 28 city/34 highway/30 combined mpg rating for EX, EX-L, and Touring 2WD trims. 27 city/33 highway/29 combined mpg rating for EX, EX-L, and Touring AWD trims.

Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.

Horsepower and torque calculations reflect SAE net, Rev. 08/04, SAE J1349 procedures.