Compact SUVs are a popular choice for smaller families — many in the competitive class offer an appealing blend of comfort, utility and value. Two of the most popular ones are longtime rivals: the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4; see the models compared.
Related: Which 3-Row SUVs Fit Car Seats Best?
With families come car seats. Which SUV handles them best? We performed Car Seat Checks on each 2018 model to find out which one does it better in terms of both fit and ease of installation.
The Honda CR-V was redesigned for 2017 and carriers over into 2018 with few significant changes. It offers easy-access lower Latch anchors and ample room for two car seats, but it fell just short of a perfect score due to its ceiling-mounted top tether anchor.
Toyota revised its compact SUV for 2017 and it also carries over with only minor changes for 2018, including the addition of an Adventure model. The redesigned 2019 RAV4 isn't on sale yet, and the 2018 model is still very popular with shoppers — but it's not quite as accommodating as the CR-V in terms of car seats. The RAV4 earned weaker marks due to buried Latch anchors that complicated connection.
Both SUVs are around the same size and roomy enough to comfortably hold two car seats, and both got A's when it came to booster fit. However, the CR-V's lower Latch anchors are easier to access and overall accommodated car seats better.
So, the winner in this compact crossover Car Seat Check challenge is the CR-V. Will the RAV4's 2019 redesign address its child-safety shortcomings? We'll test it to find out, so check back in with us then.
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