Skip to main content

Compact SUVs are among the most popular vehicles in America. And two of the best-selling models are the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. If you’re looking for a 5-year-old pre-owned model, which should you get? Let’s compare the 2018 Honda CR-V and 2018 Toyota RAV4 to see which used SUV offers the better value.

Note: Regardless of a used car’s reliability score, always obtain a vehicle history report and have a trusted mechanic perform an inspection to uncover potential problems before purchasing. Also, prices may vary depending on trim level, mileage, overall condition, and location.

The 2018 Honda CR-V has 2 concerning problems

Used car buyers are paying around $24,250 for the base-model 2018 Honda CR-V with front-wheel drive. A model with all-wheel drive costs about $1,400 more. The highest trim level, the Touring with AWD, starts at around $34,150, according to U.S. News. 

The FWD model gets about 26 mpg on city roads and 32 mpg on highways. Both figures drop by 1 mpg for the AWD version.

As for reliability, the 2018 CR-V received an overall score from J.D. Power of 81 out of 100. The market research firm considers that score “great.” In quality and reliability, the CR-V scored 80 out of 100. J.D. Power considers that score “average.”

However, gave the 2018 CR-V a “Beware of Clunker” stamp. The reason is that this model year has many owner complaints about problems with its engine and battery. 

Many drivers have reported problems with fuel getting into the oil for no apparent reason, while others claimed the factory-installed battery drains in two to 12 months after it was purchased new. The batteries needed replacement several times after that, with few miles logged in between. 

No answers have been found as of yet, and all the dealers can do is replace the battery and repair the gas in the oil issue, which reportedly didn’t work in several of those cases. There is a lawsuit in motion, though.

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 has only minor issues

The black interior of a 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure compact SUV
2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Starting at an average used price of $24,660, the 2018 Toyota RAV4 is about $400 more than the 2018 Honda CR-V. That’s for the standard FWD model. If you find one with AWD, expect to pay $26,060 — $1,400 more than FWD. The highest trim, the RAV4 Adventure AWD, starts at around $28,650.

As for fuel economy, the 2018 RAV4 gets slightly less than the CR-V. The FWD model gets 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. And the AWD version gets 1 mpg less on city roads and 2 mpg less on highways. 

The 2018 RAV4 earned the same overall J.D. Power score as the CR-V: 81. But the Toyota SUV’s quality and reliability rating is an excellent 88. That’s not surprising because the most common problems reported for this model year are relatively minor. 

Body paint chipping is the first issue, costing consumers around $20 for a tube of touch-up paint. The other problem concerns the brakes making a grinding noise not long after purchase. The issue could be improperly lubricated shims within the braking system.

Which used compact SUV is the better value?


The 3 Most Reliable Honda CR-V Model Years Under $10,000

Regarding pricing and fuel economy, the 2018 CR-V looks like the smarter bet because of its slightly lower purchase price and better gas mileage. 

However, you can’t beat Toyota’s reliability. The CR-V’s “Beware of Clunker” status is a big red flag. There doesn’t appear to be any resolution to the gas-in-the-oil issue or its constant battery draining. 

In this case, we would search for a 2018 Toyota RAV4 in good condition. It also helps that this used compact SUV is only five years old, so it should provide many more miles of use.

If you’re still considering a 2018 Honda CR-V, be wary of the potential for battery and engine problems.