2021 Toyota RAV4 Vs. Honda CR-V

2021 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2021 Honda CR-V at Stampede Toyota in Calgary, Alberta

When it comes to smart, affordable, and reliable compact SUVs, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V have been battling it out neck and neck for over 20 years. The RAV4 first saw production in 1994, with the CR-V following the next year. Fierce competitors across their model lineups, Toyota and Honda models occupy a similar niche; however, when it comes to comparing the 2021 Toyota RAV4 against the 2021 Honda CR-V, one vehicle has a distinct edge over the other. Read on to learn more about which of these compact SUVs takes the crown, with Calgary’s very own Stampede Toyota!

Vehicle Design

Toyota RAV4 Design

With sharp, futuristic lines, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 is as stylish as they come. With a low front end and wide stance, the RAV4 offers an athletic—almost aggressive—style. Add in a healthy dose of utility courtesy of LED Daytime Running Lights, Parabola LED Headlamps, as well as fog lamps on most trims, and the 2021 RAV4 is a bright spot in an often dull segment. Power adjustable heated exterior mirrors and heated front seats are standard across the lineup, while the XLE and up features a power slide/tilt moonroof. Adding to the convenience is a power rear door function that leads to the expansive cargo area of the 2021 RAV4, along with a 7- or 8-inch colour touchscreen that’s both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. But again, it’s the standout look of the Toyota RAV4 that puts it miles ahead of the competition.

Honda CR-V Design

Just over an inch longer, and half an inch shorter, the 2021 Honda CR-V is incredibly similar in size to the Toyota RAV4—but that’s where the similarities end. When it comes to exterior design the CR-V is a bit bland, not coming remotely close to matching the sporty style of the RAV4. When it comes to the small details, the 2021 CR-V lacks a few of features that provide the RAV4 with so much utility, including LED headlights only available on the top trims. Same goes for the Honda’s display and navigation system, which maxes out at 7-inches. However, when comparing the design of the CR-V to that of the RAV4, it’s hard to overlook the standout style of the latter.

Specifications: 2021 Toyota RAV4 LE AWD 2021 Honda CR-V LX
Length (mm/in) 4,596 / 180.9 4,626 / 182.1
Width (mm/in) 1,854 / 73.0 1,855 / 73.0
Height (mm/in) 1,702 / 67.0 1,689 / 66.5
Wheelbase (mm/in) 2,690 / 105.9 2,660 / 104.7

Performance & Capability

Both the 2021 Toyota RAV4 and 2021 Honda CR-V are offered in both front- and all-wheel drive models, making them ideal SUV options for Alberta winters. And while the performance of these two compact SUVs is quite similar, the RAV4 seems to hold the edge when it comes to power. A 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine produces 203 horsepower, while the smaller, 1.5-litre turbocharged engine in the CR-V only produces about 190 horses. Both offer excellent efficiency as well, with the base AWD RAV4 LE getting a combined 7.9 L/100 km in the fuel economy department compared to the base AWD CR-V’s 8.1 L/100 km. However, the CR-V is only offered with a gasoline engine, whereas the RAV4 also offers both a Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid powertrain option. Impacting your driving experience further is the choice of transmissions found in these two SUVs. The CR-V offers Honda’s CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) for incredibly smooth shifting, whereas the RAV4 features a Direct Shift 8-speed automatic transmission. Equally smooth, the Direct Shift aspect of the RAV4 allows you to engage in a more involved driving experience, with the ability to choose your gear—excellent for engine braking on icy roads or adjusting your power on unstable terrain. Speaking of which, all-wheel drive models of the RAV4 feature Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select control system which allows you to switch between different drive modes depending on road conditions at the push of a button.

Specifications: 2021 Toyota RAV4 2021 Honda CR-V
Engine2.5L, 4-cylinder DOHC1.5L, 16-valve, Direct Injection, DOHC, turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower 203 190
Transmission Direct Shift 8-speed automatic CVT


Both Toyota and Honda are at the cutting edge of advanced driver assistance and safety features, with their flagship SUVs receiving no shortage of said features. The 2021 Honda CR-V offers Honda Sensing Technology, with Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Hill Start Assist among the standard features. Likewise, the RAV4 comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 standard on all models, with features like Lane Tracing Assist, Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control helping to guide you on every drive. No matter which one of these SUVs you choose, you’re sure to get a safe and reliable ride.

Toyota RAV4 vs. Honda CR-V Verdict

While the 2021 RAV4 and 2021 CR-V saw-off in the safety department, the RAV4 takes the cake when it comes to both performance and style—by a wide margin. With a more capable engine and all-wheel drive system, the Toyota RAV4 marks itself as a better choice for the inevitable wet and snowy weather brought on by Albertan winters. And while looks aren’t everything, the 2021 RAV4 holds a distinct edge in the design department thanks to its unique and athletic look, not to mention a number of seemingly small details that will make a big difference when you’re behind the wheel.

In terms of head-to-head comparisons, it doesn’t get much closer than these two SUVs that have been inextricably linked since they both released in the mid-90s. However, we feel confident that the 2021 Toyota RAV4 is the more dominant of the two. Come by Calgary’s Stampede Toyota for a test drive, and discover for yourself why the RAV4 has been one of Toyota’s best-selling models for some time now. Simply fill out the contact form below, or stop by our dealership offering everything from the best in new and pre-owned vehicles, to financing, vehicle service, parts, accessories, and more!

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