The Ford Escape vs. the Toyota RAV4: a Surprising Getaway Winner

July 25, 2012

Toyota RAV-4 Video

Ford Escape Video

The 2013 lineup is on the horizon, but there is still a strong market for this year’s models. Two popular choices, the Escape and the RAV4, are both good selections on the surface. The Escape is tops on tech features and starts at $21,440, and the RAV4 has plenty of cargo space and starts at $22,650. And although the Escape is definitely worth consideration, it feels outdated in contrast to the RAV4. Compare the Ford Escape vs. the Toyota RAV4 and you’ll soon see why the RAV4 is likely the better pick.

The Escape is available in three trims: the XLS, XLT and Limited. There are also two hybrid models: the Base and the Hybrid Limited. The XLS is equipped with a 2.5L/171hp 4-cylinder engine that has 186 ft-lbs. of torque. A 3.5L/240hp V6 engine is optional for the XLT and Limited trims. The Escape has a standard 5-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive. A 6-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive is available for all models including the XLS base model.

Toyota RAV4 vs. Ford Escape

EPA fuel economy estimates for the front-wheel drive XLS are 21 MPG city and 28 MPG highway, and 20 MPG city and 26 MPG highway for the all-wheel drive: average for the class. The fuel tank holds up to 17.5 gallons and the Escape XLS uses regular unleaded fuel. All models have a basic 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.

The RAV4 is also available in three trims: the Base, the Sport and the Limited. The standard engine for the RAV4 is a 2.5L/179hp 4-cylinder with 172 ft-lbs. of torque. Also standard is a 4-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All trims including the Base are available with a 3.5L/269hp V-6 engine that has 256 ft-lbs. of torque, and all-wheel drive.

EPA fuel efficiency estimates for the front-wheel drive RAV4 Base model are 22 MPG city and 28 MPG highway, and 21 MPG city and 27 MPG highway for the all-wheel drive trim: also average for this class. The fuel tank capacity is 15.9 gallons and the RAV4 uses regular unleaded fuel. As with its rival Escape, all models have a standard 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.

In the safety department, the Escape has antilock brakes, traction and stability control, full-length side-curtain airbags and rear door child safety locks. Additional standard equipment includes emergency brake assist, tire pressuring, and front and rear headrests. The Escape earned the highest rating of “Good” for frontal offset and side-impact protection and a score of “Marginal” for roof strength in tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Escape earned an overall rating of three out of five stars in government crash tests for frontal impact, side-impact and rollover: unfortunately not the best ratings compared to many rivals.

Standard safety features of the RAV4 include antilock brakes, passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation, emergency braking assist and tire pressure monitoring. Auto delay off headlamps, child seat anchors and front and rear head airbags are also in the list. The RAV4 was awarded the highest rating of “Good” for frontal offset and side impact crash protection and the second highest rating of “Acceptable” for roof strength tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In government crash tests, the RAV4 received an overall score of four out of five stars: four stars for its overall frontal crash protection and five stars for its overall side crash protection.

Important Stats2012 Toyota RAV-42012 Ford Escape
Engine2.5L I-42.5L I-4
Horsepower179 @ 6,000 rpm171 @ 6,000 rpm
Transmission4-spd auto5-spd man with OD
DrivetrainFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Seating 5 passengers 5 passengers
Cargo Space73.0 cu.ft.67.2 cu.ft.
MPG22 City / 28 Hwy23 City / 28 Hwy
Warranty36 months/36,000 miles36 months/36,000 miles
MSRP$22,650 - $28,650$21,440 - $28,120

The Escape’s measurements are 174.7 inches long, 67.9 inches high and 71.1 inches wide. Cargo capacity with all seats in place is 29.2 cubic feet and it has a maximum capacity of 66.3 cubic feet, leaving it over seven cubic feet short in both sets of measurements compared to the RAV4. Front head room is 40.4 inches and front leg room is 41.6 inches, very spacious compared to the cargo capacity. Rear passengers have 39.2 inches of head room and 35.6 inches of leg room, which is a slight letdown compared to the RAV4.

The RAV4 is 181.9 inches in length, 66.3 inches in height and 71.5 inches in width. Cargo capacity with all seats in place is 36.4 cubic feet, and the RAV4 has a maximum cargo capacity of 73.0 cubic feet. Front head room is 40.8 inches and front leg room is 41.8 inches, a spacious amount of sitting room. Rear passengers have 39.7 inches of head room and 38.3 inches of leg room, giving passengers in the back a few inches more leg room than in the Escape.

Comfort and convenience features for the XLS Escape are good but not as good as in the Base RAV4. The XLS has cruise control, power mirrors, electric speed-proportional power steering and retained accessory power. Air conditioning, front reading lights, 12V front and rear power outlets and 1 one-touch power window are also standard for this trim of the Escape.

Entertainment gives you an AM/FM in-dash single CD player with CD MP3 Playback stereo, four total speakers, speed sensitive volume control and auxiliary MP3 audio input. Most of the sweetest tech features for the Escape are found in the Ford SYNC option, which includes Bluetooth and an iPod interface.
Convenience and comfort features in the Base RAV4 include air conditioning, electric power steering, rear ventilation ducts and retained accessory power. A tilt and telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, 12V front and rear power outlets and interior air filtration are also standard equipment.

The RAV4 Base model beats the XLS Escape hands down in standard entertainment features. It has an AM/FM in-dash single CD player with CD MP3 Playback stereo, auxiliary audio input with iPod integration, six total speakers and Bluetooth. Speed-sensitive volume control and a USB connection round out the list.

Pros of the Escape are its superior driving performance and abundance of high-tech features. The styling is very appealing and the Auto Park option makes parallel parking a breeze. Cons are the lackluster interior and poor rear drum brake performance, an issue that will hopefully be resolved in the 2013 model. Functionality is a letdown, as is the rear seat which does not slide or recline.

Pros of the RAV4 are the easy-to-use controls and large quantity of cargo space. The ride is comfortable and the handling definitely does not disappoint. Cons are that the 4-cylinder engine doesn’t pack the performance of the optional V6 and the quality of the interior isn’t what it could be compared to other crossovers.

The RAV4 is a better choice, even with the 4-cylinder, unless power and tech are your main attractions. If that is the case, the Escape may be the better crossover for you to make your break in.

Related Articles:

2013 Ford Escape Titanium arrives at track, well-equipped and fully …
The Ford Escape Titanium takes the venerable small SUV nameplate to new levels of performance and refinement, but it doesn’t come cheap. We just took delivery of one to test at the Consumer Reports test track.

2013 Toyota RAV4 SPIED: Sneak Peek of a Visually Larger …
SPIED: Wrapped in camouflage head-to-toe, we photographed the 2013 Toyota Rav4 earlier today. But even covered, these photos show the next RAV4 is going to change quite a bit from its current form and move closer to …

Image Source Toyota RAV4 By Robin Corps from Crowthorne, England (Toyota Rav4 Sport) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Image Source Ford Escape By IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Category: SUV Comparison

Fatal error: Uncaught CurlException: 77: Problem with the SSL CA cert (path? access rights?) thrown in /home/fueleffi/public_html/wp-content/plugins/seo-facebook-comments/facebook/base_facebook.php on line 996