|Fuel Economy (city/hwy mpg)
|Cargo Room (cu. ft.)
|Rear Legroom (in)
The compact SUV segment is brimming with competition, but two of the most reputable brands produce a pair of the strongest models in the market. Honda and Toyota are known for reliability and safety across their lineups, and their compact SUVs are no exception. Within the lineups for both brands are a wide number of choices, and it can be dizzying to decide which SUV is best to buy. When you need a reliable, safe, and spacious compact SUV that can serve as a daily driver as well as a family vehicle, there are two SUVs from each brand that may be the right fit. A comparison between the 2022 Honda CR-V vs 2022 Toyota RAV4 will reveal attributes of each SUV as a daily driver for families.
Though the 2022 CR-V and the 2022 RAV4 both have several trims with available hybrid powertrains, traditional gas-powered engines will be the focus of this comparison. Front-wheel drive is standard for most trims, though all-wheel drive is available across the lineup for the CR-V and RAV4 in 2022. Most buyers choose a middle trim level for the higher number of features included, so we will pay special attention to comparing the EX trim for the CR-V to the XLE trim for the RAV4.
Both the 2022 CR-V and 2022 RAV4 seat five passengers and have plentiful room in the cargo area for sports equipment, groceries, or the bags most families need to bring to work or school on a daily basis. Buyers seeking an SUV with comfortable interior space suited for both adults and tall teens in the rear seats will find that Toyota and Honda offer roomy SUVs for this segment. The 2022 CR-V and RAV4 both also provide a plentiful set of safety and technology features to keep passengers protected and entertained on the road. Both the CR-V and RAV4 have maintained good reputations over the years, so a comparison of trim features will reveal strengths to help buyers decide which SUV is best as a family daily driver.
A vehicle you plan to drive every day should be comfortable and quiet, with a smooth ride and good fuel efficiency. For the 2022 Honda CR-V, a standard 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4 engine delivers reliability balanced with responsiveness and readily accelerates when it comes time to pass other vehicles on the highway or when taking off at a stoplight. Hills present little challenge to the CR-V powertrain, which offers satisfying capability when needed. Using the sport mode can provide a more responsive throttle and steering quality when the driver needs the power, and the continuously variable transmission delivers excellent fuel efficiency. Fuel economy ratings as high as 28 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway can be expected from front-wheel drive models, while all-wheel drive reduces the efficiency slightly to 27 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway.[b]
Much like the CR-V, the 2022 RAV4 offers good fuel efficiency, but driving the RAV4 does not deliver the same kind of experience. Behind the wheel, the 2.5-liter I-4 engine may get noisy when the driver hits the accelerator to pass or climb hills—especially if the hill is steep—and despite the available horsepower, the RAV4 tends to struggle in these situations. At highway speeds, the RAV4 can be loud. This unfortunate lack of proper insulation takes away from the interior comfort of the 2022 RAV4, which otherwise has a good ride quality that absorbs road chatter through an adequate suspension. The fuel economy is almost identical to the 2022 CR-V, with the Toyota rated for up to 27 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive lowers this efficiency, with ratings of up to 27 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway.
Where Toyota focuses on fuel economy, the Honda SUV focuses on performance and ride quality. Because fuel economy is so close, purchasing a 2022 CR-V is likely to strike a far better balance of responsiveness from the powertrain and interior comfort from the insulated cabin. All-wheel drive from Honda offers excellent capability for handling slippery road conditions and even mild off-roading. Toyota also delivers good capability with the control provided from all-wheel drive, though it doesn’t inspire quite the same confidence in the driver’s seat with handling. The 2022 RAV4 can feel ungainly at times, with the powertrain tending to have trouble keeping up with the size of the SUV.
Any vehicle on the market today must offer buyers technology to keep pace with daily life. Commuters who want to stay connected and entertained on their drive to work will appreciate the standard features from both the 2022 CR-V and 2022 RAV4 in their more tech-friendly middle trims.
Honda provides the EX trim of the CR-V with a seven-inch touchscreen loaded with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to mirror the screen of a connected smartphone on the infotainment screen. In addition, Honda offers HD radio and a SiriusXM trial, which play through the six-speaker audio system. Charging ports for both the front and rear seats make it possible for all five passengers to keep devices running while you drive.
Similarly, the 2022 RAV4 infotainment system offers the same Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity accessed through a seven-inch touchscreen, along with SiriusXM and a six-speaker audio system. Where Honda gives buyers access to HD radio for superior sound quality, Toyota gives buyers Amazon Alexa access. However, that means buyers who don’t have a home Alexa won’t benefit from that feature, though all buyers can utilize the HD radio system in the Honda.
When it comes to safety, driver-assist technology in each SUV is outstanding, even at the base level. The EX trim for the 2022 CR-V comes standard with Honda Sensing, which includes systems like Collision Mitigation Braking and Road Departure Mitigation. LED daytime running lights, Automatic High Beam Assist, and a Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor are safety features added beyond the standard safety suite for the CR-V.
Toyota gives the 2022 RAV4 a similar set of standard driver-assist features like a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Toyota even includes a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert for the XLE trim. Adaptive Cruise Control is also part of the safety suites for both SUVs, providing more convenience on long drives. Technology for connectivity, entertainment, and safety are on fairly equal ground in most categories. For buyers who like connected services for more safety and access to remote features, each SUV allows access to both free and subscriber services to make these SUVs a rare match for technology.
Performance and technology are a big part of daily driving, but so are convenience and the amount of room available for all the passengers. Parents of tall teens or commuters who share rides understand the importance of roomy seating, and this can be a deal-breaker when it comes time to use the back seats. For the 2022 CR-V, rear seats provide enough space for tall adults to relax comfortably with up to 40.4 inches of legroom. Compared to the 2022 RAV4, adults will not be able to stretch out as much with the 37.8 inches of legroom Toyota provides.
Cargo space in the CR-V is also larger, with 39.2 cubic feet of space available when the rear seats are in place. This area expands to a spacious 75.8 cubic feet by folding down the rear seats, enough to fit a couch if you need to move. For the RAV4, cargo space is not quite as large. With the rear seats in place, the cargo area starts at 37.5 cubic feet, nearly two cubic feet smaller than the CR-V. Folding down the rear seats expands the space to 69.8 cubic feet, which is significantly smaller than the CR-V.
Space isn’t the only category where the RAV4 lags behind the new Honda vehicle; a number of features that determine comfort don’t quite measure up to what the CR-V provides in 2022 models. Drivers who must share their car with others in their household will appreciate the driver’s seat memory that comes as standard with the CR-V EX trim and above, a feature Toyota only offers on the top trim of the RAV4. The driver’s seat also comes with 12-way adjustment in the Honda, while Toyota gives only 8-way adjustment. Contending with cold mornings in winter will mean more comfort in the Honda CR-V, which comes standard with heated front seats to take away the chill on all but the base trim. Toyota doesn’t offer heated seats standard until the top trim.
Conveniences like fog lights and heated exterior mirrors simplify daily driving when foggy weather makes your commute more difficult to negotiate. Honda makes these features standard for the EX trim, but they aren’t even optional for the Toyota XLE trim. Buyers who like the openness of having a moon roof will enjoy this standard feature in the CR-V EX, though buyers of the RAV4 XLE can only have a moon roof as part of a package. In consideration of the conveniences and interior space Honda makes standard for the 2022 CR-V, this is not an SUV that will feel compact from the inside. Compared to the 2022 RAV4, the 2022 CR-V brings far more conveniences to the average driver.