2019 Honda CR-V
Base MSRP range
$24,150 – $34,050
The 2019 Honda CR-V pairs competent acceleration and handling with a luxury-grade ride.
The 2019 Honda CR-V comes in four basic flavors, turbo and non-turbo with either front- or all-wheel drive. None inspire, but the turbocharged engine in 2019 CR-V EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels provides decent oomph with good fuel economy.
Overall, we rate the CR-V lineup at 5 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Base CR-V LXs use a 2.4-liter inline-4 rated at 184 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). There’s nothing inherently wrong with this setup, which delivers good acceleration—except that the 1.5-liter turbo-4 fitted to EX and higher trims is a world away in terms of refinement and real-world performance. The turbo engine’s 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque belies the fact that its CVT works to keep it in the power band when needed and then delivers a tame experience when not called upon.
2019 Toyota RAV4
The standout is the RAV4 Hybrid. It delivers utility, economy and the most comfortable driving experience. The hybrid pairs a 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine with electric motors, a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack and a continuously variable automatic transmission that’s good for 219 horsepower total. Off the line, pep is brisk and linear, and the CVT does an adequate job of delivering more — though when pushed on hill climbs, the powertrain can get loud.
The brakes are a high point, with a natural, responsive feel often missing from hybrid braking systems. Fuel economy is one, too: Toyota estimates fuel economy of 41/37/39 mpg city/highway/combined, up significantly from the outgoing hybrid’s 34/30/32 mpg EPA rating. All-wheel drive is again standard on hybrid models, which come in LE, XLE, XSE HV and Limited trims.
Gas-powered models are available in LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure and Limited trims. They come standard with the 2.5-liter engine, paired this time with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s good for 203 hp — slightly less than the hybrid, and it feels like it. While not slow, it lacks the hybrid’s zippiness. The eight-speed automatic shifts smoothly, but timing is off and often awkward; it’s too quick to upshift out of lower gears and holds higher gears too long when a downshift would make for more responsive acceleration.
At $26,545 for a base FWD LE, the 2019 RAV4 starts higher than both the old version and its competitors; it’s $1,200 more than the CR-V and CX-5 and $700 more than the Rogue. All-wheel drive adds $1,400 to each trim level, and the hybrid powertrain is an additional $800. The new model’s impressive list of standard safety features helps take the sting out of the price hike, but with prices starting $840 higher than the outgoing model, it’ll take more to win me over completely.
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