With its redesign last year, the Toyota RAV4 became better focused against the likes of the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Subaru Forester.
By losing the available third-row seat, a V-6 option, and the spare tire hanging off the side-opening hatch, the RAV4 arrived into the mainstream, after years of surprisingly strong sales offering what was essentially a niche layout.
As a four-cylinder five-seater, it's a direct competitor for the likes of the Ford Escape--and it even favors it a little with its athletic stance.
The Escape offers more choice in powertrains, and good EPA-rated fuel economy, and its handling is very sporty, though interior room is on the tight side.
The latest CR-V also pegs the gas-mileage meter and has excellent space and flexibility, with somewhat less engaging styling and civilian handling.
The Subaru Forester was redesigned this past year and has better mileage, a focused XT model with steering-wheel paddle shifters, and a new off-road mode.
There's also a new Hyundai Santa Fe Sport that falls into a slightly larger size class; its turbo four option feels energetic, but drops highway fuel economy into the high 20s.
The Mazda CX-5 is perhaps the pick for those who want more driving enjoyment—and the base version of the Mazda returns up to 35 mpg on the highway.
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|2014 Toyota RAV4Browse Used Listings||2014 Ford EscapeBrowse Used Listings||2014 Honda CR-VBrowse Used Listings||2014 Hyundai Santa FeBrowse Used Listings||2014 Mazda CX-5Browse Used Listings||2014 Subaru ForesterBrowse Used Listings|
|22 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy||24 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy|
|Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded V-6||Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded H-4|
|Small Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD||Small Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD||Small Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD||Small Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD||Small Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD||Small Sport Utility Vehicles 4WD|
|FWD 4-Door LE (SE)||FWD 4-Door S||2WD 5-Door LX||FWD 4-Door GLS||FWD 4-Door Manual Sport||4-Door Manual 2.5i PZEV|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||All Wheel Drive|
|Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Sport Utility|
|Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Manual w/OD||Manual w/OD|