2012 Toyota RAV4 vs. Its Competition

2011 Toyota RAV4 FWD 4-door 4-cyl 4-Spd AT (GS) Angular Front Exterior View
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor

The 2012 Toyota RAV4 remains one of the few compact crossovers to offer a third row of seating.

The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander also offers a third row, but it's also seemingly toylike in size and design.

Most of these compact crossover vehicles offer a choice of four-cylinder or V-6 engines, as well as front- or all-wheel drive.

The Honda and Subaru only offer four-cylinder engines.

The Ford Escape is in its last year of a boxy, rather dated design that stands out from the crowd, possibly for the wrong reasons, but is otherwise remarkably up-to-par.

Meanwhile, an all-new 2012 Honda CR-V is expected later in the model year.

The Subaru Forester became quite a bit larger with its last redesign; it still emphasizes all-weather handling over third-row utility or overt luxury.

2011 Toyota RAV4 FWD 4-door 4-cyl 4-Spd AT (GS) Angular Front Exterior View2012 Toyota RAV4
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2012 Ford Escape 4WD 4-door XLT Side Exterior View2012 Ford Escape
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2012 Honda CR-V2012 Honda CR-V
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2012 Kia Sorento 2WD 4-door V6 EX Angular Front Exterior View2012 Kia Sorento
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2012 Mitsubishi Outlander GT2012 Mitsubishi Outlander
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2012 Subaru Forester2012 Subaru Forester
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Quick Specs
The 2012 Toyota RAV4 remains a strong, refined choice for families, even though some of its design might be a blast from the past.
The 2012 Ford Escape still antes up solid crossover bona fides, but its sluggish handling and plasticky interior are ready for retirement
The 2012 Honda CR-V is a great family vehicle, with a thoughtfully designed and comfortable interior, and improved refinement, but it lacks the confident, sprightly feel present in past CR-Vs.
With the right size, the right gas-mileage numbers, and the right standard features, the 2012 Kia Sorento is an easy recommendation in the crossover class.
It's aged less rapidly than other American-made Mitsus, but the 2012 Outlander still is bypassed by other compact crossovers.
The 2012 Subaru Forester is tough, all-weather-capable, and one of the best-handling compact crossovers--plus, a blast to drive in XT turbo form--but an old-tech automatic transmission and econo-caliber interior remain letdowns.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
19 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy20 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 27 MPG Hwy
Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas Flat 4
EPA Class     
Sport Utility Vehicle2WD Sport Utility Vehicles2WD Sport UtilitySport Utility Vehicle - 2WD2WD Sport UtilitySport Utility Vehicle - AWD
Style Name     
FWD 4-Door I4 (GS)FWD 4-Door XLS2WD 5-Door LX2WD 4-Door I4 Base2WD 4-Door ES4-Door Manual 2.5X
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveAll Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
4 Door4 DoorSport Utility Vehicle4 Door4-Door WagonSport Utility Vehicle
Automatic w/ODManualAutomaticManualContinuously Variable RatioManual
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2012 Ford Escape2012 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2012 Honda CR-V2012 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2012 Kia Sorento2012 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander2012 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2012 Subaru Forester