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2020 Honda HR-V vs Toyota RAV4

2020 Honda HR-V vs Toyota RAV4
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

2020 HR-V vs RAV4 - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

Honda and Toyota have long been leaders in the automotive field. They've played their cards correctly, having continued to design vehicles that have a wide appeal. The SUV market has taken off in the past several years, and these two companies have provided drivers with some solid options by offering the 2020 Honda HR-V and the 2020 Toyota RAV4.

These SUVs have versatile cabins, reliable engines, and plenty of modern components. Plus, they come in several different trims so that people have the opportunity to choose trims that best meet their needs and suit their preferences.

With the RAV4, there is a lot to choose from, starting with the LE and the XLE. The XLE Premium falls in the middle of the line-up, and it's followed by the Adventure and TRD Off-Road. The Limited is the most premium model available. Toyota has also focused on hybrid technology and offers the LE Hybrid, XLE Hybrid, XSE Hybrid, and Limited Hybrid.

There are fewer trims of the Honda HR-V. The LX is the base model, and the Sport, EX, and EX-L are the mid-level options. The Touring has the most high-end features in the cabin and on the exterior of the vehicle.

The Powertrain

The 2020 Honda HR-V uses an in-line four-cylinder engine to give it power. This engine has a displacement of 1.8 liters, and it uses multi-point fuel injection and an Eco Assist system to keep it running efficiently. Using a continuously variable transmission, the engine can achieve an estimated 28 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway.

If an all-wheel-drive system is integrated into the HR-V, fuel economy drops to 27/31 (city/highway) miles per gallon. The all-wheel drivetrain is an option on the first four trims and is a standard component on the Touring. It might be a good idea to get an HR-V with all-wheel drive if anyone predicts that he or she may occasionally run into slippery conditions. When power is delivered to all four wheels instead of the front two wheels, traction can improve considerably.

141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque are generated by the Honda HR-V's engine. Given the vehicle's relatively small stature, these numbers are sufficient to give the SUV enough power to make its way through a variety of situations. If drivers want to feel like they're behind the wheel of cars with manual transmissions, they can use the paddle shifters. This function is available starting with the Sport trim.

In the performance department, the Toyota RAV4 outshines the HR-V. Each RAV4 has a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine under its hood, so the first clue that the Toyota engine is more powerful than the Honda's engine is that it's quite a bit larger. On the non-hybrid models, the engine can generate 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. In hybrid models, the engine is used in conjunction with a multi-electric motor assist, and they work together to create 219 horsepower. Most of the RAV4 trims use a Direct Shift eight-speed electrically controlled automatic transmission; the hybrid models utilize an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission.

Like the Honda HR-V, the Toyota RAV4 can come with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The Adventure and the TRD Off-Road trims, as their names might suggest, are designed to handle rugged terrain, so they're exclusively available as all-wheel-drive vehicles. Similarly, the hybrid RAV4s only come with all-wheel drive. They use an electronic on-demand system that's ready to engage at any time.

Overall, the Toyota RAV4 is a more performance-oriented vehicle than the Honda HR-V. On the front-wheel drive models, there are three different driving modes to choose from: Sport, Eco, and Normal. Sport mode gives the SUV a more aggressive feel, with Eco mode making things as smooth and gentle as possible. On the hybrids, the drive mode function gets the addition of a Trail mode and EV mode, with one being designed for more hard-core off-roading and the other optimizing the use of electric power. The all-wheel drive non-hybrids have a Multi-terrain Select feature, which lets drivers decide between normal, snow, rock and dirt, or mud and sand modes.

In terms of gas mileage, the Toyota does fairly well. Front-wheel-drive versions get approximately 27/35 (city/highway) miles per gallon, with their all-wheel-drive counterparts earning up to 27/34 miles per gallon. The hybrids are really impressive, earning an estimated 41/38 miles per gallon.

Both the HR-V and RAV4 come with Hill Start Assist, which is utilized when the SUVs are stopped on an include. With this feature, the vehicles are prevented from sliding backwards as drivers transition from having their feet on the brakes to on the gas pedals.

Out of these two vehicles, only the Toyota RAV4 has been built with towing in mind. The RAV4s with traditional powertrains can tow up to 1,500 pounds, and the hybrid versions have a greater towing capacity of 1,750 pounds. It's not recommended that the HR-V be used for towing, but in a pinch, it could potentially be hooked up to trailering equipment. It will not have anywhere near the capacity of the RAV4, though.

As one might expect from reputable companies, Honda and Toyota provide their customers with some reassurance in the form of warranties. The powertrain warranties on both the HR-V and RAV4 are good for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever mark comes first.


These vehicles handle themselves well, and as the market has clearly shown, many people are looking for SUVs that have a relatively taller stature. The ground clearance of the Toyota is 8.4 inches, and ground clearance is either 7.3 or 6.7 inches in the Honda, depending on whether front-wheel or all-wheel drive is selected.

Given the fact that neither SUV is particularly lengthy, it can be easy to take tight turns and parallel park in the HR-V and RAV4. The RAV4 is about 10 inches longer than the HR-V, so this might make a difference if a parking spot or garage is particularly small.

To keep things smooth, Honda has installed a MacPherson strut suspension in the front and either a torsion-beam or a DeDion rear suspension, depending on whether the vehicle has front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The Toyota SUV also has the MacPherson suspension up front. Most RAV4 trims will have a multi-link suspension with a stabilizer bar in the rear. On the TRD Off-Road, there is a TRD-tuned suspension system that's more durable, and the in the XSE hybrid, there's a sport-turned suspension system.

Honda has taken steps to reduce engine noise. With the exception of the base model, the HR-V has Active Noise Cancellation technology. This system monitors the amount of sound coming from under the hood. If any loud booming noises are detected, the speakers will automatically emit an "anti-noise" signal to make the cabin a little more serene.

When thinking about the drivability of a vehicle, it's important to examine the interior space. After all, people are most comfortable when they don't feel cramped, and SUVs are sought after in part because of their ability to carry cargo. These two vehicles are very comparable in terms of their leg room. People will feel like they have plenty of space to move around. The leg room in the Honda is 41.2 inches and 39.3 inches (for the front and rear seats), and in the Toyota, it's 41 inches and 37.8 inches.

Though the seating areas are similar, the amount of cargo space differs considerably. In the Honda HR-V, people will have 24.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats to store items. When those rear seats are lowered, they can maximize that cargo capacity to 58.8 cubic feet. In all-wheel-drive HR-Vs, the numbers are slightly reduced, to 23.2 and 57.6 cubic feet. In contrast, the cargo volume in the Toyota RAV4 is 37.6 cubic feet when the rear seats are up and 69.8 cubic feet when they're folded down.

A major part of driving in this modern era is being able to use technology to stay entertained and connected. Honda and Toyota have pushed to modernize their infotainment systems and make them convenient to use. With the Honda HR-V, the LX trim has Bluetooth and a five-inch color LCD screen. At the Sport level, the SUV is equipped with a seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, and on the higher trims, HD Radio and SiriusXM Radio are included. Navigation is built into the Touring, and it comes with digital voice recognition and a Honda HD Digital Traffic program.

Unlike the Honda's base model, the RAV4 LE has a seven-inch touchscreen, along with six speakers, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM, and Amazon Alexa. On the mid-level trims, the touchscreen measures eight inches, and HD Radio and multiple USB ports are some additional features. The higher trims come with navigation, premium JBL speakers, and dynamic voice recognition. In addition, wireless charging is available on select RAV4 models.


Both the Honda HR-V and Toyota RAV4 have numerous components in place that are there to protect passengers. Some, such as the multiple air bags, three-point seat belts, and crumple zones, prove their worth if an accident occurs. Other key safety elements actively work to prevent the likelihood of any type of collision. These elements are known as driver-assist technologies, and they can be very reassuring to have.

Every RAV4 trim comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. This safety package has dynamic radar cruise control, road sign assist, lane tracing assist, high beams that can automatically turn on when needed, and lane departure alert with a steering assist feature that can gently guide the vehicle back into position. Further, they have a pre-collision system that can detect pedestrians or vehicles in front of the driver, and if it seems like the driver isn't going to react in time, pressure will be immediately applied to the brakes. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a convenient parking assist system are available on higher trims.

Some of the same technologies are found on the Honda HR-V. However, these driver-assist systems start at the EX trim. The top three Honda trims have forward collision warning and collision mitigation braking, which is similar to Toyota's pre-collision system. They also have a road departure mitigation system, lane keeping assist and lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, NADAguides, CarsDirect & & Motortrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.

Which Has the Best Value?

Up to this point, this guide has gone over the various strengths of each model. In several ways, the Toyota RAV4 seems to offer more than the Honda HR-V. Remember, though, that everything always comes at a price.

The Toyota RAV4 starts at $25,950, and the prices go all the way up to almost $37,000. There are many trims that are priced above $30,000, and while this isn’t extremely expensive, it could be more than what many people are looking to spend. The base model does have good value, since it has a comprehensive safety system, advanced infotainment technology, and a strong engine. Nicer amenities, such as perforated leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, 18- or 19-inch wheels, LED lights, and a foot-activated power tailgate, can draw people to the mid-level and premium trims of the Toyota.

The numbers on the Honda show that this SUV may be intended for a different buyer. The LX has a starting price of $20,820, which is very budget-friendly. The next two trims remain under $25,000, with the EX-L being just over that mark. The Touring tops the list with a price of $28,890, which would place it in the same range as the low- to mid-level trims of the RAV4. The higher-end touches that are found when moving up in trim on the HR-V include heated front seats, a moonroof, and leather-trimmed seats.

Which is Better?

While they may look fairly similar and fall within the same class, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda HR-V are actually pretty different. First of all, Toyota has made two very capable engines available on its RAV4. Though the HR-V has a solid engine, it's not at the same level. Also, several trims of the RAV4 are specifically built with adventure in mind, and as such, they have special suspension systems, standard all-wheel drive, and a more rugged aesthetic. Anyone who plans on towing cargo will definitely want to go with the RAV4.

In the fuel efficiency area, the two models do well when only looking at the ones with traditional powertrains. The fact that Toyota offers not just one, but several hybrid trims makes it a very intriguing choice. Drivers who want SUVs and want to cut down on gas consumption will have a hard time passing up the hybrid RAV4.

Pricing can't be forgotten in this comparison. The 2020 Honda HR-V is much more budget-friendly, making it more ideal for anyone who can forgo the extra horsepower and luxury amenities in order to save thousands of dollars. For those who have high expectations and can afford a more fully equipped vehicle, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 would likely come out as the winner.

Used 2020 Honda HR-V: