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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A 2021 Honda CR-V is parked on a roof in the city after winning a 2021 Honda CR-V vs 2021 Toyota RAV4 comparison.

The Top Compact SUV: 2021 Honda CR-V vs 2021 Toyota RAV4

When you’re out on your many driving excursions during the day, you don’t have to go far to spot one or twenty compact SUVs on the road. Maybe you’re one of them! The point is, compact SUVs are all the rage these days, and they aren’t going away any time soon. Two of the top contenders in this segment are the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. These SUVs have been around for decades and consistently grown in popularity and offerings. When we put the 2021 Honda CR-V vs 2021 Toyota RAV4 in key categories, we start to see who reigns supreme. How do these top compact SUVs compare against each other and with their segment? Let’s find out!

Comfort and Features

We expect a lot out of our compact SUVs these days. They need to be versatile enough to fulfill many needs and also keep us entertained and connected. Both of the features in the 2021 Honda CR-V and 2021 Toyota RAV4 are impressive, each offering a fair amount of standard features with the ability to scale up into real luxury. Whether you are looking for an affordable commuter or a comfortable family vehicle that can compete with entry-level options from traditional luxury brands, these two SUVs have you covered.

The 2021 Honda CR-V offers a spacious interior cabin for both passengers and cargo. In fact, it has more rear legroom than the 2021 Toyota RAV4. The Honda CR-V beats out the RAV4 in cargo volume as well, topping out at 75.8 cu.ft. of cargo volume compared to the 2021 RAV4’s 69.8 cu.ft. While it may be difficult to fill up even RAV4’s cargo space in your daily life, having the extra room that the CR-V offers could mean the difference between moving a large item yourself or having to find a friend with a pickup truck.

Both SUVs offer modern technology like an interactive touchscreen display, multi-information display center, and navigation. Technology extends to the safety features, with the Honda CR-V offering the Honda Sensing safety suite of features standard. Toyota offers its own safety suite as standard for the RAV4 as well. Both of these suites are filled with advanced technology and make even the base trims of these two SUVs far safer than most of their competitors.

The interior of the 2021 Honda CR-V is high quality with available leather seating, heated seats, heated steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control. While the 2021 Toyota RAV4 has many of these features, it’s missing the leather seat option, which many drivers prefer over Toyota’s synthetic SofTex material. Overall, the 2021 CR-V produces a more premium look and feel inside and out.

A dark grey 2021 Toyota RAV4 is parked in the mountains at sunset.

Highly Awarded

When it comes to awards, the 2021 Honda CR-V and the 2021 Toyota RAV4 have them. With it still being early in the model year, we can expect more awards to come, but for now, the quality of both of these SUVs has been noticed yet again. From safety to value, the top SUVs in the compact SUV segment show off.

Both the 2021 CR-V and 2021 RAV4 were awarded 5-star overall safety ratings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This speaks to not only the standard safety features but also the reliable engineering and durable structure of these SUVs. Both of these compact SUVs were also named Top Safety Picks by the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These prestigious safety awards are nothing new to the CR-V and RAV4, as they have consistently further solidified them as perfect SUVs for the whole family.

Cars are some of the biggest purchases you will make in your life, so it’s important to make sure they are worth it. The 2021 Honda CR-V was awarded Best Compact SUV for the Money by US News & World Report. Kelley Blue Book also awarded the 2020 Honda CR-V a Best Buy Award for its segment. Although for 2021, the tables turned, and the RAV4 walked away with the Best Buy Award. The awards for these two compact SUVs are nearly identical, meaning that you will undoubtedly get a quality SUV with either option.

Sales Figures Rise

All the finest features and awards mean nothing if people don’t buy. How do the sales figures compare for the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4? Last year, they were the top two best-selling SUVs in America, with their combined sales topping over three-quarters of a million vehicles. That means 1 in every 20 vehicles sold in 2020 was either a CR-V or a RAV4.

So far in 2021, this pattern looks like it is going to repeat itself, with the RAV4 and CR-V maintaining their positions as the two best-selling SUVs in the country. It’s safe to say these two SUVs fly off the inventory lots. There is a surprising gap between these two compact SUVs and the rest of the segment. The Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V have always had a strong reputation in the compact SUV segment, and that only continues in 2021.

Comparing Their Competitors

When you list out the compact SUVs on the market today, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V typically hold the top two spots. In Kelley Blue Book’s list of Best Compact SUVs for 2021, the RAV4 and CR-V took the number one and two positions, beating out the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Rogue. The RAV4 and CR-V consistently provide the extra touch of premium, reliability, and options that drivers look for. In addition to all the little details that set them apart from all the other compact SUVs in the segment, the CR-V and RAV4 are also available in hybrid versions. The ability to get a popular and comfortable compact SUV with an efficient hybrid powertrain only adds to their appeal.

A 2021 Honda CR-V drives down an open road past the ocean.

Who Wins?

Now for the big answer, who is the top compact SUV for 2021? In our minds, the 2021 Honda CR-V wins over the 2021 Toyota RAV4. The CR-V is more spacious for passengers and cargo and offers more features like heated seats and remote engine start. This isn’t to say that the 2021 Toyota RAV4 is a subpar compact SUV. It is quite remarkable in its own way, offering off-roading and plug-in hybrid options. For most people, though, the 2021 Honda CR-V will provide everything they are looking for and exceed their expectations in standard and optional features. So in the battle of the 2021 Honda CR-V vs 2021 Toyota RAV4, the Honda CR-V takes the slight upper hand, and we think you will see the difference when you get behind the wheel.

The competition is fierce in the compact SUV segment. Each brand produces remarkable SUVs that can satisfy a variety of needs and fit nicely into anyone’s busy life. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 and 2021 Honda CR-V have everything you could want in a small SUV, with modern technology, a premium interior, advanced connectivity, and improved safety. For anyone considering a small SUV, start with these two top contenders as they leave the rest of the competition in the dust. However, when placed side-by-side, you will see the 2021 Honda CR-V edges out the 2021 Toyota RAV4 and produces an overall premium driving experience.

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