To CRV or not to CRV?
October 11, 2010 9:51 PM   Subscribe

Should I get a 2010 Honda CRV or a 2010 Toyota Rav-4?

It's time for me to let go of the faithful car (an old one of my parents') that carried me through college and law school and get a grown-up-mobile now that I've entered the world of the employed. It's come down to two - the 2010 CRV or the 2010 Rav-4. I've test driven both and like them equally, essentially.

I'm interested in your experience with your CRV or Rav-4 and/or anything you considered when making a similar decision. I'm sliiiiiightly leaning towards the Rav-4 because I like the styling a little better and I like the extra storage under the trunk floor. However, I'm somewhat concerned about the side-opening trunk and how well that works when someone is parked behind you.

Relevant information:
- I'm getting the base model for either of them(none of the add-ons are particularly interesting to me.)
- I live in the SF Bay Area (so no snow) and am not into camping or other outdoorsy things that might necessitate driving off of a paved road.
- I'm tall with long legs (5'10") and wide hips, which knocked out the Subaru Forester for me - it was just too cramped.
- Toyota is currently offering 2 years free maintenance when you buy a new car.

Thanks in advance for helping me choose my first new car!
posted by wuzandfuzz to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm thinking about getting a CRV next year. I prefer its styling over the RAV4 because it looks more like a BMW or other upscale SUV. The interior materials are a bit nicer looking and feel more satisfying to me as well.

Maybe test drive them again in a location where the competing dealership is nearby. Just drive one to the other lot and park it next to the other. If you've already done a more logical decision making process and still haven't found your match, then maybe just seeing them side by side and letting your emotions make your decision might not be too imprudent in this case. They're both well-made and dependable little SUVs.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:03 PM on October 11, 2010

Oh, and the Honda dealership where we got our Accord, like many Honda dealerships, threw in a "free oil change for as long as you own the car" card.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:04 PM on October 11, 2010


Granted, I have a '97 with no power-anythings, but I love it to death. I got it shortly after I turned 16, so early 2002. It gets great gas mileage (I've clocked it at 28 highway, ideal conditions), is adorable, and the only problems I've ever had with it have been inflicted on it by others (got broken into, after-market cd player got jacked, back wheels got borked when it got towed (#@%!ing tow trucks), some douche backed into me while I was parked), but that's it. It is a wonderful, wonderful car and has held its value really well.

I don't have any fancy trunk floor storage, but it's got a ton of room in the back when the seats fold down. I have fit a LOT of crap in there, and that's really convenient. And as big as it is inside, it's really compact. I can park that sucker anywhere. I also like sitting higher than a car but not as high as an SUV (but that's not really a consideration for you because the CRV accomplishes that, too). But it makes me feel safe when driving it. I also love that it's all wheel drive (are all Rav4s awd now? they weren't always)--I live in Chicago and have yet to get stuck in the snow/ice even when all the other cars on my block are stuck. Might be handy for hilly SF. Dunno.

I'm sure the dealerships will be happy to let you spend as much time as you need in them to make your decision, so definitely check both cars out until you're thoroughly satisfied. But you can't go wrong with the Rav4.
posted by phunniemee at 10:22 PM on October 11, 2010

My husband and I had to make that exact decision a few months and here is why we chose the RAV4 in my husband's words (we also live in the Bay Area):

"Personally I liked both the interior and exterior styling of the CRV better. The finish on the CRV was more refined. However the following tipped the decision towards the RAV4.
1. The RAV4 rear seats fold down flat creating more space. The CRV rear seats tumble forward and takes up some space. You have to check this out for yourself.
2. Folding the rear seats on the RAV4 is a lot more convenient. The lever is accessible from the back so you don't have to go round to the rear passenger cabin to fold down the seats like in the CRV.
3. There's also the extra hidden/covered storage space that RAV4 has in the back under the floorboard. This allows us to store any valuables when the car is parked. We didn't need to get the extra cargo bay cover.
4. The RAV4 came with rear privacy glass and roof rack. These are extras with the CRV.
5. The acceleration of the RAV4 was significantly better than the CRV. And this is the 4 cyclinder RAV4 not the V6."

We've been very happy with the RAV4. Hope that helps!
posted by serunding at 10:54 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, to answer your question about the side-opening trunk - we've had no problem so far.
posted by serunding at 11:01 PM on October 11, 2010

And feel free to PM me if you have more specific questions - like I said, we are in the Bay Area too and my husband did a lot of research with the dealers.
posted by serunding at 11:04 PM on October 11, 2010

Oh, to answer your question about the side-opening trunk

There was a question about the side-opening trunk? The side-opening trunk is one of the best things about it. Hands full of groceries? You can close it with your foot! (Gently, of course.) Hooray!
posted by phunniemee at 11:11 PM on October 11, 2010

[Several comments removed. Answering a question the asker didn't ask and dismissing the ones they did is not really helpful.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:06 AM on October 12, 2010

My mom used to have the CRV and recently sold it ahead of schedule to move on to the RAV4. She says it's better than the CRV in a lot of ways, but mostly because the base model of the RAV4 just feels more expensive and luxurious than the CRV. I was riding in the backseat this weekend and I have to agree. You know how when you're in a cheaper car it kinda feels like a tin can, like there's not much between you and the outside? The RAV4 feels like the opposite of that.
posted by coupdefoudre at 7:32 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

For the last few years I drove a CR-V while my husband drove a RAV-4. We were both pretty happy. The truth of the matter is that they're very, very similar cars. Drive them both, see which you're more comfortable in. That's really the only thing that will matter.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:35 AM on October 12, 2010

However, I'm somewhat concerned about the side-opening trunk and how well that works when someone is parked behind you.

This was the reason we bought a (2007) Cr-V instead of a Rav4 - if you are parallel parked (which there is a lot of in Chicago) and the car behind you is at all close to you, you will not really be ably to open the trunk. This was definitely a problem with the older (I think that 2007 was the previous model) design. I'd be curious to hear if those saying the side-opening trunk is "no problem" have tried to use it in a parallel parking situation - maybe the new design is better for that?
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 7:53 AM on October 12, 2010

Thoughts from a couple who considered the 2008 CRV and Rav4 and ended up with the Rav4.

The tire is mounted on the trunk of the Rav4, meaning there is a fairly large area underneath the back trunk area for storage.

A side opening rear door makes it difficult to have things hang out the back of the car. On a bottom opening one, you could tie the door down, with a side opening one that is harder (I didn't find a reasonable way in the couple minutes I contemplated it).

We didn't like the standard Rav4 suspension (like most Toyotas we felt it gushy and felt unconnected from the road as drivers). The Rav4 sport suspension felt like the default CRV.

I have never found a time when I counted get reasonable access to the trunk for normal use.

In our discussions of which car we liked better, we felt it was a tie. We choose the Rav4 because we both just had a warmer feeling about it and we thought it a bad idea to agonize if the door mounted tire was a worthwhile gain to deal with the side opening trunk. We liked them both and I suspect we would have been equally happy with the CRV.
posted by fief at 2:15 PM on October 12, 2010

Because I saw that someone favorited this recently, I thought I'd come back and update - went with the Rav4 and we love it!
posted by wuzandfuzz at 10:27 PM on September 16, 2011

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