Unlike many SUVs that have only come out in the past five or maybe ten years, the Toyota RAV4 made its debut nearly 30 years ago, in 1994. Some people have loved this SUV since the beginning, while others hate it.
Everyone is different and has different needs, so if you like some aspects of the RAV4, but you dislike others, then that's quite all right. While it's a very popular vehicle, the RAV4 has certainly had its fair share of complaints over the years. Some of the issues that this SUV has experienced are problems with the seatbelts and airbags, issues with the cooling system, engine problems, and more.
If you're in the market for a new car, but something is keeping you from choosing to purchase a RAV4, then don't fret, as there are many alternatives that you might like a lot better than this Toyota SUV.
Here are comprehensive overviews of six similar but very different compact SUVs that you might like to further explore. Once you've explored them, hopefully, you will be able to choose the exact car you're looking for and be happy with your purchase.
Criteria for Comparing Cars to the RAV4
A lot was considered when it came to finding viable alternatives to the RAV-4. Here are the factors that were considered when choosing cars similar to the RAV4:
- Size and body style - The RAV-4 offers a convenient compact body style that is attractive as it is functional. This is one aspect of the RAV-4 that people especially like.
- An acceptable price range - Another aspect of the RAV-4 that consumers greatly appreciate is its affordable price tag. Therefore, other cars with a similar body style and price range will be compared to the RAV-4.
- Quality of the interior - The RAV-4's interior is spacious and consists of high-quality parts to create an enjoyable driving experience. The vehicles compared to the RAV-4 must have comparable interiors.
- Cargo space - Owners of the RAV-4 appreciate the ample cargo space that this vehicle offers. This is an important feature, so competitors must have a similar cargo area.
- Overall performance of the vehicle - The competitors in this guide offer similar overall performance to the RAV-4. The RAV-4 boasts impressive fuel economy, a relatively smooth ride with excellent handling.
- Boot space - The RAV-4 offers adequate boot space, with 1735 liters of overall space with the seats folded. These cars similar to RAV4 offer similar boot space.
- The availability of any safety features - The RAV-4 has several safety features, including a backup camera with path projection functionality, enhanced vehicle stability control, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, and much more. The rav4 alternatives offer similar safety features.
- Engine & power - The RAV-4 leaves a bit to be desired when it comes to engine and power, as acceleration is slow. Competitors must have equal or better engines and power.
Cars Similar to the RAV4
These vehicles are very similar in appearance and style to the Toyota RAV4, but each has its own unique features, performance levels, body style, and more.
6. Ford Escape
The Ford Escape is another compact SUV that is similar to the RAV4. The Ford Escape has some pretty impressive features, and anyone looking for a compact SUV is likely to fall in love with the Escape.
The Ford Escape has a lot to offer to someone looking for a smaller SUV. When it comes to reliability, both vehicles win, making it a tie. However, when it comes to safety, the Ford Escape wins. The RAV4 has some impressive safety features, as well, but the Ford Escape's features are superior.
The RAV4 beats the Ford Escape in many categories, but if safety is most important to you because you have children, then you should definitely opt for the Escape.
Here are the pros and cons of the Ford Escape:
- Comfortable interior with ample space and legroom
- Offers a great hybrid option that saves on gas
- Simple-to-use controls
- Provides a nice and smooth ride
- Transmission shifting issues
- The handling of the vehicle is less than expected
Estimated starting price: Approximately $27,000
The Ford Escape is suitable for just about anyone looking for a dependable compact SUV that drives like a car. It's excellent for people who need more cargo space for things like groceries, and more. The Escape is also great for families because its amazing safety features will help to minimize injuries, especially if there's ever an accident.
5. Chevrolet Traverse
The Chevrolet Traverse is a slight upgrade from the Equinox, making it a better contender for the RAV4. The Traverse has many great features that make it come out as the winner. Traverse owners can have more passengers in the car, as there is a third row available for extra seating. The Traverse also boasts a higher towing capacity (5,000), and the engine is more powerful.
The pros and cons of the Chevrolet Traverse are:
- Great third-row seating for extra passengers
- Impressive engine provides fast acceleration
- The infotainment system is top-notch and has extra features that are easy to use
- Some drivers experience rear visibility problems
- Interior controls are less than what is expected
Estimated starting price: Approximately $37,000
The Chevrolet Traverse is the perfect alternative to the Toyota RAV4, and although it's a bit pricier than the RAV4, the Traverse is very much worth the extra cost. The Traverse is suitable for anyone looking for a dependable compact SUV, and its amazing features and performance will not disappoint.
4. Chevrolet Equinox
The Chevrolet Equinox is another one of the cars like the RAV4. Like the other vehicles on this list, there are many similarities between the Equinox and the RAV4, and there are many things to like about the Equinox as an alternative to the RAV4. Even though the Equinox has a low 1,500-pound towing capacity, it has many other impressive qualities that make it a great contender.
The Equinox receives a Buzzscore of 7.5, while the RAV4's Buzzscore is an impressive 8.6. Experts feel that the performance of the Equinox is less than desired and the RAV4s are superior to the Equinox.
When it comes to cost, the Equinox and the RAV4 are very similar in price. The Equinox has a more impressive warranty than the Rogue offers, and the Equinox is Chevrolet's most popular compact SUV.
There are both pros and cons of the Chevrolet Equinox:
- Great fuel economy
- Great safety features
- Ample interior cabin space
- Noisy when driven at high speeds, like on the highway
- The quality of the interior material appears cheap
- Unimpressive accelerating
Estimated starting price: $26,600
The Chevrolet Equinox is perfect for anyone who desires to have a great compact SUV and who isn't looking for a vehicle with a powerful engine. The Equinox is great for small families or anyone who is looking for a great compact SUV that has adequate cargo space, great safety features, and can be purchased affordably.
3. Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson is another one of the great Toyota RAV4 competitors. These two compact SUVs have several things in common, but they also have several differences as well.
Edmunds gives the Tucson a 4.7/5, which is pretty impressive. However, many consumers are disappointed with the Tucson's engine, which makes accelerating quickly impossible. Its engine simply lacks sufficient power to properly accelerate in certain situations. Therefore, the basic trim may not be recommended.
Consumers feel that the latest model of the Tucson, which is 2024, is much more attractive than the latest RAV4 model. The report states that consumers feel as if Hyundai made more of an effort to make the Tucson look amazing, although the RAV4 is sporty and attractive, as well.
The pros and cons of the Hyundai Tuscon are as follows:
- High-quality technology and safety features
- Rugged and attractive exterior
- Great hybrid option
- Impressive standard features
- It provides a disappointing driving experience
- Strange and confusing interior controls
- Slow and subpar base engine
Estimated starting price: $26,900
The Hyundai Tucson is a suitable vehicle for anyone looking for a superior alternative to the Toyota RAV4 that performs optimally and is affordable, dependable, and safe.
2. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V has won several awards over the years, which to many consumers, is quite impressive. The latest model, the 2023 model, has won an award as well. The 10Best Award was given by Car & Driver due to its attractive rugged styling, immense interior space, and hybrid options.
When comparing the RAV4 to the Honda CR-V, there are some similarities, but also many things that you might like about the CR-V over the RAV4. According to Edmunds.com, the Honda is the better contender, as it has greater comfort, provides a better driving experience, comes with more technology as well as a superior interior. However, the ratings are close, as the Honda CR--V receives a 4.3/5 and the RAV4 receives a 4/1/5.
The pros and cons of the Honda CR-V are as follows:
- Great engine performance
- Easy maneuverability
- Ample cargo space
- Plenty of seats for passengers
- Impressive technology and safety features
- Low towing capacity, which is 1500 lbs (the RAV4 has a towing capacity of up to 3,500 lbs, depending on the specific trim
- Strange and confusing touchscreen
The estimated price range of the Honda CR-V is $29,500 - $39,500. This vehicle is suitable for anyone who wants an award-winning vehicle that comes with numerous safety features, has a powerful engine, and performs optimally overall. The Honda CR-V is perfect for families or anyone who would enjoy driving this popular compact SUV.
1. Mazda CX-5
The Maza CX-5 is a top choice when it comes to cars similar to Toyota RAV4. Despite its similarities, the Mazda CX-5 is superior to the RAV-4 in several ways. Mazda has been manufacturing high-quality cars and trucks for years, and the CX-5 certainly delivers.
When comparing the Toyota RAV4 to the Mazda CX-5, there are many similarities as well as many differences. The Mazda has more front legroom than the RAV4, and the CX-5 also makes it easier to maneuver into tight parking spots, as its turning radius is smaller than the RAV4's. People often choose the RAV4 over the CX-5, but the CX-5 is more impressive overall in comparison to the RAV4.
Like all vehicles, the Mazda CR-5 has its pros and cons, and here is an overview:
- Comfortable, luxurious interior
- Excellent crash scores
- Great for light off-road driving
- Sleek and attractive
- Limited overall interior space
- Disappointing infotainment center
The estimated price range of the Mazda CX-5 is $29,300 - $40,600. The Mazda CX-5 is suitable for anyone seeking the convenience of an SUV that drives like a car due to its high maneuverability.
The CX-5 is reliable, attractive, and very safe, anyone seeking a high-quality, but smaller SUV should consider purchasing one. It's great for men, women, and families, as it's a safe and high-quality car that anyone would be proud to own and drive.
Are You Trying to Determine Which Car Suits You Best?
Before you can decide which car suits you best, you must perform as much research as necessary. Use the internet to your advantage before visiting a dealership. Once you have narrowed down your choices, you can head to the dealership. Here are some additional tips for determining which car would best meet your needs:
- Budget -The very first thing that you need to do before choosing a car is to determine how much you can afford to spend. This means that you need to consider the overall cost of the car, your monthly payments, and your insurance costs. You don't want to overspend, because it could end up causing you to experience financial hardship.
- Preferences -Do you have any specific preferences when it comes to a vehicle? A new car costs too much money to settle, so make sure that you write down all your preferences and try to ensure that your new car has them all before you make a deal.
- Drive the vehicle - test drive any vehicles that you're considering before making a purchase. Buying a car without test-driving it isn't a good idea because you could end up with a car you aren't satisfied with. It's a good idea to test drive a vehicle overnight, if possible, as it's a better way to determine if you like a car. Merely driving around the block is often insufficient and doesn't give you enough time.
- Perform some research - asking others who might drive one or more of the cars that you're interested in is a good idea. That way, you can find out if there are any vehicles that you should avoid and also get some good recommendations.
- Take your time deciding - buying a car is the second most expensive purchase after a house, so be sure to take your time deciding exactly what you want. Don't allow anyone to rush you while you're figuring out which car suits you best.
FAQs on RAV4 Competitors and Alternatives
Here are the answers to some frequently answered questions that many people have when trying to choose a RAV4 alternative.
No, the RAV4 isn't considered to be a luxury vehicle, although some of its amazing features might make a person feel like they're driving a higher-class vehicle. If you're looking for more of a luxury vehicle, then you should consider something like the Honda CR-V or even the Mazda CX-5.
The Kia Sportage is Kia's compact SUV that is comparable to the RAV4. It is similar in size, appearance, and much more. However, the towing capacity of the Kia Sportage is only 1,650 lbs, while the RAV4 boasts the ability to tow up to 3,500 lbs, depending on the specific trim that you opt for. The Kia Sportage is another great alternative to the RAV4, and its starting price is $27,090, so it's as affordable as the RAV4, but superior in many ways.
The RAV4 is considered to be a compact crossover SUV, as are most of the other cars on this list.
The RAV4 is very popular for several reasons. Firstly, this compact SUV is very attractive and sporty. Additionally, the RAV4 has several helpful safety features. Furthermore, this particular SUV is popular because it has AWD capabilities, making it easier to maneuver in snow and on rough terrain. The RAV4 also has excellent fuel economy, it's very versatile, easy to drive, and it has very affordable maintenance costs. The RAV4 has been around for many years and the manufacturer has had ample time to test different features, which has contributed to the success of this small SUV. However, the Toyota RAV4 isn't for everyone, so don't feel compelled to buy it if you have reservations, as there are many other choices out there.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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