Consumer Reports Pits Toyota RAV4 vs. Honda CR-V - Which Wins Big?
Torque News prides itself on its win-win comparisons of two similar vehicles from different brands. In our comparisons, we highlight the differences that a shopper may want to know about so they can make their own choice between two similar vehicles. Not Consumer Reports. They take the gloves off and anoint one vehicle better than the other. They just compared the 2017 Toyota RAV4 and the 2016 Honda CR-V*, on sale now, and called the Toyota RAV4 the clear winner. Here’s why.
Consumer Reports finds that the RAV4 and CR-V are basically identical regarding acceleration. The two match up well in terms of fuel economy (24 MPG) and also interior space and exterior dimensions. Like all good auto-testing groups, Consumer Reports (CR) found that the real difference comes when the vehicles are driven back to back in the real world.
Let’s start with the strengths of the CR-V. CR found that it is much easier to get a power seat in a CR-V than in a RAV4. That is something we have pointed out in our comparisons and tests of the RAV4 as well. Almost every rival has a power seat in the mid-trims, but Toyota stubbornly leaves that for just its top trim. CR also found that the Honda had easier to fold rear seats. CR also found more variety in the prices of the Honda CR-V. Toyota uses more rigid tiers of amenities. At the top of the trims, CR felt the Honda CR-V may be slightly less expensive.
So where did the RAV4 shine? First and foremost, in its six-speed transmission. CR found the Honda’s CVT transmission less familiar and noisier. Road noise was also an issue for the CR-V. While it is trending stiffer, the RAV4 got more compliant in its last refresh.
Two things Toyota included tipped the balance of value in CR’s evaluation. First, Toyota now offers forward collision prevention on all trims at no added cost. Honda only adds it to certain top trims. That means lower trims of the RAV4 have a safety advantage as well. Also, Toyota’s RAV4 comes with two full years of included maintenance. Not so with the Honda.
The last advantage for Toyota came from Consumer Reports’ reliability data. The RAV4 has proven more reliable than the CR-V according to consumer surveys compiled by CR. In the end, it wasn't that close. The 2017 Toyota RAV4 won by a score of 76 to 69.
*The 2017 Toyota RAV4 is on sale now. At the time of Consumer Reports' comparison Honda had not released details to the press on the 2017 Model Year CR-V. Presently, the 2016 model year is on sale.
Consumer Reports is subscription-only. Look for the full comparison by using your on-line account or in an upcoming print edition.
Image by Philip Ruth. Used with permission. Not for reproduction.