2020 Toyota RAV4 vs 2020 Ford Escape

2020 Toyota RAV4 versus 2020 Ford Escape

Big sellers in a compact category

This week, let’s take a look at two compact sport utility vehicles that are heavyweights in their category. The Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape are consistently top sellers in North America. As such, we’d expect them to be closely matched in terms of amenities and performance. 

The RAV4 was completely revised for the 2019 model year. The Escape is all new for 2020, showing that in this segment, Toyota and Ford can’t afford to rest on their laurels. Buyers in this segment are looking for something bigger than a sedan, room for five people and the ability to throw just about anything into the capacious cargo area. The ability to choose between front wheel drive and all wheel drive is also a big draw. For all around traction, you can’t beat four wheel drive. But for those buyers in Florida and California that don’t go out in the rain, front wheel drive is more than adequate and both RAV4 and Escape offer well-equipped vehicles in both drive modes.

The price is right

Time to get to the meat and potatoes of these two CUV staples. The RAV4 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested List Price of $33,790, compared with a MSRP of $32,049 for the Escape. As I’ve said many times before, don’t be misled by MSRP. Here’s how the RAV4 XLE AWD compared with the Escape SE AWD using the Automobl Comparison Tool:

Feature difference for RAV4 and Escape using the Automobl Comparison Tool

Safety first

The first thing to notice is the automated driving assists on both vehicles. Toyota has rolled these out very aggressively right across their line-up. Ever since the floor mat debacle, Toyota has been adding automated driving features, now bundled into a package called Toyota Safety Sense 2.0:

  •     Pre-Collision System with Daytime/Low-Light Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection, plus Daytime Bicycle Detection
  •     Lane Tracing Assist (Automatic Transmission only)
  •     Automatic High Beams
  •     Available Full Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control

Ford is also forward thinking. They have their ‘Co-Pilot 360’ suite of safety features which consists of:

  •     Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking
  •     BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert
  •     Lane-Keeping System
  •     Rear View Camera
  •     Auto High-Beam Headlamps

More differences

RAV4 has about 10% more horsepower, which should translate to a little snappier acceleration over Escape. Adaptive cruise control (Full speed dynamic Radar Cruise Control in Toyota parlance) and low speed follow will be great for long distance driving as well as stop and go traffic. The power moonroof and power rear liftgate are items that RAV4 drivers will use a lot, and their Automobl values reflect these touchable features. 

Escape is a bit dressier with fully painted colour-keyed bumpers and a two-tone interior finish. 

Escape has more ‘nanny’ features. Want to limit the maximum speed your 17 year old lead-footed son can drive? Tap into Ford MyKey, available on Escape SE, and preset the maximum speed that he can drive. Limit the audio volume to 45% of full power to help eliminate distractions. If you don’t want him to drive to that concert in Banff, tell him he has a 200km driving limit and that you can check to make sure he’s kept to that distance using the MyKey system.  

FordPass Connect lets you remotely start, lock and unlock your vehicle from a smartphone app. Check the location of the vehicle or turn it into a mobile WiFi hotspot. Toyota has many similar features available on the RAV4 XLE Premium, so if they’re important to you, you need to pony up an additional $2,800 to move to that trim level.

Even with the higher MSRP, the RAV4 XLE comes out ahead in Automobl Value over Escape SE.  The adaptive cruise and power moonroof give it a huge value advantage over the Escape SE.

Measuring up

Measurements list of 2020 Toyota RAV4 XLE and 2020 Ford Escape SE features

Escape beats RAV4 in the seating room sweepstakes.  More front and rear headroom, more front and rear leg room puts Escape ahead. This does come at a sacrifice to cargo volume; the RAV4 is ahead both with the rear seats up and folded. Not only do you get more horsepower with RAV4, you get slightly better fuel economy than Escape.

The winner

Now the question: Do you want the more powerful, thriftier, more automated RAV4, or the larger, roomier, ‘Big Brother-ish” Escape? Take a close look at the differences between these two great vehicles. Use the Automobl Comparison Tool (it’s free to use for a limited time) to check the features on other trim levels. This will help you decide which model is right for you in the most popular automotive segment today.

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