Should I buy a new Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4?

I enjoy your automobile reviews and am currently deciding between a Honda CR-V and a Toyota RAV4. I’m a female who will be moving to where there is cold weather. I want a dependable car that will warm quickly in the cold and handle well. I will be doing some freeway driving and am wondering if the four-cylinder will have enough zip on the onramps. Any suggestions? They both seem to be economical. Small children and hauling large loads are not an issue — this will just be my leisure car. I have not as yet test-driven the vehicles. Parallel parking is also an issue — do you know if one has better visibility, i.e. fewer blind spots, over the other?

Enid, Winnipeg Canada

This has got to be our most common question, so feel good knowing we’ve answered it many times and have test-driven both vehicles extensively. The simple answer is you won’t go wrong with either of them. Both are available with all-wheel drive for winter driving, both hold their value well and both are reliable.

Now, to make up your mind, we’d say this:

If you’re going to use the cargo area and fold the second-row seats flat frequently, the RAV4’s full cargo area has the edge with more space.

The RAV4 also has a terrific V-6 that not only has more power, but is almost as fuel-efficient as the four-cylinder engine. Who would have thought, right — 22/29 mpg for the V-6, 24/30 for the four-cylinder. If you want to get up to highway speed in a hurry, the V-6 RAV4 can do it quicker than any other small SUV — and most sedans, too.   

If interior materials and ride comfort are more important, then the CR-V is the better choice. The ride is much quieter and more comfortable on long drives. The engine doesn’t feel underpowered for normal, everyday driving.

The better overall value is the RAV4, as far as sticker price and what you get for the money; you can get an AWD V-6 RAV4 for basically the same price as an AWD four-cylinder CR-V.

Visibility is good in both vehicles, with the slight edge for parallel parking and smaller blind spots going to the CR-V.

We also did a full comparison test of the RAV4 and CR-V against the new Mitsubishi Outlander. You can check it out here.

As always, we suggest you test-drive both vehicles to make your final decision, especially if it’s between just two cars.

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Answered by Patrick Olsen on March 7, 2007 in What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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