In its 28th year of production, the Toyota RAV4 is an icon on the small SUV scene. Built on legendary Toyota reliability and build quality, the RAV 4 has been tested over millions of miles in all kinds of conditions.
The 2022 RAV4 is much more refined than when it first entered the market in 1994; however, it is a Toyota and built to last. The MSRP of the 2022 RAV4 LE FWD is $26,525, and standard power comes from a DOHC 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder that produces 206 horsepower and 184-pound feet of torque.
This setup yields 27 city/ 35 highway and 30 combined miles per gallon fuel mileage. Unfortunately, the RAV4 takes a slow 9.1 seconds to get from zero to 60, so the new Supra may be a better fit if it is the speed you are after.
The LE is a front-wheel-drive vehicle; however, an all-wheel-drive is an option on some trim levels of the RAV4 and standard on others.
With room for five, the Toyota RAV4 does not offer a third-row seat but does give you extra cargo space behind the second-row seats, and the seats fold down for even more room to transport things. Add a roof rack with your purchase, and even long, wieldy items will be easy to transport.
Although you can use your Toyota RAV 4 for towing, you will be limited to a tow weight of 1500 pounds. However, that is ample for a small four-cylinder SUV. Anything more would overweight your SUV and its engine.
1. Chevrolet Equinox
For a few years now, the Chevrolet Equinox has been priced similarly to the Toyota RAV4. However, it is close in power, fuel mileage, and cargo capacity. The Equinox is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 203-pound feet of torque.
The power gets to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. It can power all four wheels when equipped with an all-wheel-drive system.
Returning mileage numbers of 25 city/ 30 highway, and 27 combined miles per hour, this small Chevy SUV is a contender in the market for compact SUVs. It can run up to 60 miles per hour from a standing stop in a leisurely 8.9 seconds. Still, it will get you there economically.
In keeping with the other crossovers listed here, the Chevrolet Equinox has a towing capacity of 1500 pounds, whether front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The Rogue seats five and does not have an option for a third-row seat.
2. Fiat 500X
With an MSRP of $26,275 and an all-wheel-drive system standard on all models, the 500X is a contender if you want a compact crossover. Like the RAV4, the Fiat has plenty of ground clearance for a rutted lane or potholed street and top-of-its-class torque to propel you over this terrain.
Powered by a turbocharged 1.3-liter that produces 148 horsepower and 199-pound feet of torque, with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, the Fiat500 can make it from zero to 60 in 8.5 seconds.
Seating up to five passengers, the 500X does not have a third-row seat as an option because there would hardly be room for one. Although the Fiat is similar to the Toyota RAV4, the rear has a more hatchback style than the boxiness of other crossovers.
Fuel economy for the Fiat 500X is 24 city and 30 highway miles per gallon. Packages for the 500X include Pop, Trekking, Sport, and Trekking Plus. They are all closely priced. However, Trekking Plus has an MSRP of $41,000.
3. Ford Escape
Another compact SUV that has weathered time quite well is the Ford Escape, similar in size, price, and reputation to the RAV4. The Escape is powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-liter EcoBoost® engine connected to an eight-speed transmission.
The Escape can be purchased with front-wheel drive or Ford’s Intelligent all-wheel-drive. The smaller of the two engines produces 148 horsepower and 177-pound feet of torque. It can scoot from zero to 60 in 8.5 seconds.
However, it gets 28 city and 34 highway miles per gallon. With room for just five to fit tightly, there is no room for a third seat and more passengers.
However, there is plenty of space behind the second seat for all of your gear and that of a friend or two. There are two other powertrain options, but they cost above the Ford Escapes MSRP of $26,510.
On the other hand, the Ford Escape Titanium Plug-In Hybrid has an MSRP that pushes up close to $40,000.
4. Honda CRV
Probably the closest appearance, performance, and style to the RAV4, the Honda CRV is the most similar. It has an MSRP of $26,400, and like the RAV4, the Honda CRV is a five-passenger vehicle.
It comes as a front-wheel-drive vehicle in its base form; however, all-wheel drive options on all models. The power for the Honda CRV LE comes from a turbocharged 1.5 cylinder four-cylinder that produces 190 horsepower and 179-pound feet of torque.
The power is mated to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the CRV can go from zero to 60 in 7.8 seconds.
This mating gives the CRV fuel mileage of 28 city/ 34 highway and 30 combined miles per gallon. Towing capacity is the same as the RAV4, at 1500 pounds.
5. Hyundai Tucson
Another SUV that has aged well, the Hyundai Tucson, is bigger and more beautiful than ever. With an MSRP of $25,500, the Tucson S model gets its power from a DOHC 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 187 horsepower and 178-pound feet of torque.
Power to the front wheels comes from an eight-speed transmission, and all-wheel drive is an option on this model. Available in five trim levels, the highest priced Tucson comes in at a little over $35,000, and none of them are speedsters.
The Tucson S can run up to 60 from a standstill in 8.8 seconds and gets 26 cities and 30 highway miles per gallon. These are not stellar fuel mileage numbers but much better than many smaller and less comfortable vehicles.
Seating in Tucson is for five, and a third-row seat is unavailable because there is no space in this compact crossover. I can tow up to 2000 pounds, though; you can get that camper you have had your eye on.
6. Jeep Compass
The MSRP of the Jeep Compass is in line with others on the list and comes in at $26,390. It is powered by a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder that produces 177 horsepower and 172-pound feet of torque and drives the front wheels via a nine-speed transmission.
All-wheel drive is an option on the Compass and is only standard on the Sport model. Not quite as quick as the other cars here, the Jeep Compass takes an excruciating 9.75 seconds to get to 60 miles per hour from a standstill.
Although that’s still better than some cars, Jeep needs to consider more engines for the Compass. Fuel mileage is 22 city/ 31 highway, and 25 miles per gallon, combined.
The Compass is another five-passenger crossover with only five seats, and again, there is no room back for a third seat, even with a shoehorn. If you need a larger SUV, Jeep makes several models that can haul seven or even eight passengers.
7. Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage is very different from the SUV it was over 20 years ago. No longer does it look like a mini breadbox on wheels, but more like something you would take out for a night of street racing. With an MSRP of $25,990, it is priced in line with the other crossovers here, but the specs are for the 2023 model year.
The Sportage is a five-passenger crossover and has no room for a back seat. It is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, producing 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque.
The specs look much like other vehicles in their class. Using an eight-speed transmission to apply power to the front wheels, the Sportage has optional all-wheel-drive on some models that use the same gearbox.
Although it is a new model, the performance with the 2.5 takes the Sportage from stop to 60 in 9.2 seconds, one of the highest times here. Fuel mileage is 23 city/ 28 highway and 25 miles per gallon combined.
So again, there are better numbers in the pack. However, the looks of the new Sportage have many of these compact SUVs beat by a longshot. Towing capacity is also similar, and the Sportage can tow up to 2000 pounds.
8. Mazda CX5
With more trim levels than any car on this list, the Mazda CX5 ranges in price from $26,250 to $39,000. However, the two lower trim levels are very similar to the Toyota RAV4.
It is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, producing 187 horsepower and 186-pound feet of torque. The zero – 60 times for the CX5 is 7.2 seconds, making it one of the fastest crossovers listed.
Fuel mileage for the CX5 is 24 city and 31 highway for models with front-wheel drive, but you can expect models equipped with all-wheel drive to get about a gallon per mile, less. Unfortunately, the Mazda, another five-seater, does not offer a third-row seat for this crossover.
The towing capacity of the CX5 S, the base model, is 2000 pounds. However, a Mazda CX5 equipped with the turbocharged version of the Mazda 2.5 liter inline-four produces 227 horsepower and 310-pound feet of torque.
Although it doesn’t increase the towed weight, it will make pulling a ton of trailer and gear much more manageable.
9. Nissan Rogue
Although on the market a decade less than the RAV4 and CRV, the Nissan Rogue has found a place in the compact SUV market and can hold its own against similar vehicles.
With an MSRP of $26,850 and fuel mileage of 30 city/ 37 highway and 33 miles per gallon combined, it squeezes a few more miles per gallon from a tank of fuel than the RAV4.
In addition, all-wheel drive is available on specific models if you are looking for a car with a bit more sure-footedness than front-wheel drive.
Powered with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder that produces an impressive 201 horsepower and 225-pound feet of torque, the Nissan Rogue can make it from zero to 60 in 7.5 seconds. CVT transmissions are smooth and shiftless and take a bit of getting used to.
Still, they help cars get phenomenal mileage and extract every ounce of power from the engines they to the engines they are bolted.
With room for five passengers and their gear, the Roque has no option for a third seat. Towing capacity is 1500 pounds, enough for such a small crossover vehicle.
10. Subaru Forester
Subaru has quite a string of all-wheel-drive crossovers, but for time and space, I chose the Forester to compare with the RAV4. They are close in size, features, and price and have been around for a while, although Toyota and Subaru have kept the faces of these two models fresh.
Powered by a 2.5-liter flat-four that produces 182 horsepower, the Forester takes 8 seconds to make it from a standstill to 60 miles per hour. Remember that the Subaru is all-wheel-drive, out of the box, while most of these other vehicles are not.
With space for five passengers, the Forester does not have the option of a third-row seat. That’s fine because Subaru’s are built for the road less taken, and with the Forester, you will have room for all the gear you need when you get to the end of that road.
The towing capacity of the Forester is 1500 pounds unless dressed with the Wilderness badge, which can tow an impressive 3000 pounds.
11. Volkswagen Tiguan
Another car similar to the Toyota RAV4 is the Volkswagen Tiguan, their mid-pack holder for crossover vehicles. A turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine powers this five-passenger SUV, and the output is 184 horsepower.
Putting the power to the wheels is an eight-speed transmission that drives all four wheels. Because the all-wheel drive is standard on the Tiguan, the base price is in line with the RAV4 at $26,490.
The zero to 60 times for the Tiguan is a relatively slow 9.1 seconds. The engine of the Volkswagen is a little underpowered considering the weight of this vehicle. Fuel mileage is 23 city/ 30 highway miles per gallon, putting the Volkswagen right in line with the other cars similar to the Toyota RAV4.
One feature the Volkswagen Tiguan offers that is lacking from most of these crossovers is a third-row seat. However, the boxy body style adds enough headroom to make this addition possible. In addition, it gives those in the back seat more headroom.