2018 Ford Escape

Starting Price: $24,935 | Price yours

Above Average: Roomy, comfortable, well-connected and tops for towing

Below Average: Driver sightlines, maneuverability in tight confines

Consensus: A recent mid-cycle revamp made this mainstay of the segment even more attractive on every level


2018 Toyota RAV4

Starting Price: $25,370 | Price yours

Above Average: Available hybrid, Toyota reliability and quality reputation

Below Average: Tepid fuel economy and acceleration from base engine

Consensus: The RAV4 lacks dynamic flash, and its hybrid variant is pricey, but it continues to be a solid Toyota staple


Toyota invented the compact crossover SUV segment when it introduced the original RAV4 in 1994. And it has been a perennial sales leader ever since, including 2017, when it trailed only the full-size pickups as an industry bestseller. Its strengths are pure Toyota -- trouble-free operation, decent cargo capacity, and the option of Toyota’s solidly established hybrid system. The Escape offers a particularly rigid unibody, eager (by SUV standards) responses, and several engine options, although a hybrid version isn’t part of the current lineup.

Ford Escape Advantages

Three engine choices, snappy styling, snappy performance with 245-hp 2.0-liter turbo, agile dynamics

Toyota RAV4 Advantages

Hybrid powertrain option, quiet operator at all speeds, extensive list of standard driver assist features


Both vehicles are based on front-drive passenger car architecture, both offer all-wheel drive, both have an attractive array of infotainment, connectivity, and passive safety features

Final Recommendation

The Escape wins the fun-to-drive trophy, while the RAV4 gets high marks for quality, quiet operation, and Toyota’s reputation for durability and reliability. The availability of a hybrid gives the RAV4 an edge in its competitive segment. Footnote: Toyota plans a major RAV4 makeover for model year 2019. The redesigned model is due to go on sale this fall.

  2018 Ford Escape 2018 Toyota RAV4
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.5-liter I4 2.5-liter I4
Horsepower 168 hp @ 6,000 rpm 175 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 170 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm 172 lb-ft@ 4,200 rpm
Transmission Automatic 6-spd Automatic 6-spd
Fuel Economy 26 mpg (23 city/30 hwy) 26 mpg (23 city/30 hwy)
Also Available 179-hp 1.5-liter turbo I4; 245-hp 2.0-liter turbo i4 194-hp hybrid
Warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles 3 years or 36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Stars 5 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 105.9 inches 104.7 inches
Overall Length 178.1 inches 185.5 inches
Width 72.4 inches 72.6 inches
Height 66.3 inches 65.9 inches
Turning Diameter 38.8 feet 34.8 feet
Headroom, Front 39.6 inches 39.8 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.5 inches 38.9 inches
Legroom, Front 41.1 inches 42.6 inches
Legroom, Rear 36.7 inches 37.2 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 53.3 inches 57.3 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 51.3 inches 55.4 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 102 cu. ft. 100.7 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 34.4 cu. ft. 38.4 cu. ft.
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