2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Vs. 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: Which Is Better?

toyota-rav4-hybrid-2019-honda-cr-v-hybrid-2020.jpg 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid | photos by Jennifer Geiger

SUVs continue to fly off dealer lots faster than hand sanitizer on grocery store shelves — and each month, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 battle for the slot of compact SUV favorite. Toyota added a hybrid model to the redesigned RAV4’s lineup for 2019 and Honda followed suit for 2020 with the CR-V Hybrid. So, which of the fuel-sipping versions of these perennially popular rivals is better?

Related: What’s the Best Compact SUV of 2019?

I’ve driven both, and here’s how they stack up in the areas of acceleration, fuel economy and price.

Acceleration: RAV4 Hybrid

01-toyota-rav4-hybrid-2019-angle--exterior--front--ocean.jpg 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | photos by Jennifer Geiger

By the numbers, it looks like the powertrains have similar output, but they actually perform quite differently. The RAV4 Hybrid is much quicker off the line than the CR-V Hybrid (and the regular RAV4); it’s surprisingly brisk from a stop and stays strong for smooth passing power. The CR-V Hybrid, meanwhile, takes its time to wake up from a stop but eventually spools up steadily for adequate passing power.

The RAV4 Hybrid pairs a 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine with electric motors, a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack and a continuously variable automatic transmission that’s good for 219 horsepower total. The CR-V Hybrid operates without a conventional automatic transmission; it pairs a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, an electric drive motor and an electric motor-generator and has a total system output of 212 hp.

Both models have an EV mode that allows them to operate briefly on electric power alone when selected, but in each, the mode was tough to sustain for long periods of time and at speeds above a crawl.

Fuel Economy: RAV4 Hybrid

03-toyota-rav4-hybrid-2019-angle--black--exterior--ocean--rear.j 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | photos by Jennifer Geiger

The numbers are close, but Toyota wins this one with slightly higher mileage. The RAV4 Hybrid, which comes standard with all-wheel drive, is EPA-rated at 41/38/40 mpg city/highway/combined for the base L model, much higher than the non-hybrid base AWD L’s rating of 27/33/29 mpg.

Meanwhile, the CR-V Hybrid, which also comes standard with AWD, answers back with mpg ratings that are pretty close; it’s EPA-rated at 40/35/38 mpg compared with the non-hybrid model’s 27/32/29 mpg rating. 

Price: CR-V Hybrid

honda-cr-v-hybrid-2020-01-angle--exterior--front--grey.jpg 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid | photo by Jennifer Geiger

The 2020 CR-V Hybrid starts at $28,870 for the base LX trim, slightly less than a base LE RAV4 Hybrid at $29,470 (prices include destination).

Both models are well equipped in the safety department. The CR-V comes standard with the Honda Sensing bundle of safety and driver assistance technology, including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control. 

The RAV4 Hybrid comes with Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 system standard; it includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, road sign assist and lane keep assist.

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Overall: RAV4 Hybrid

The two models are pretty close, but the RAV4 edged ahead. Price is a big consideration, but the RAV4 is more efficient and has more confidence in the power department.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Jennifer Geiger
News Editor Jennifer Geiger joined the automotive industry in 2003, much to the delight of her Corvette-obsessed dad. Jennifer is an expert reviewer, certified car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats — many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer Geiger

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