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The Toyota RAV4 and the VW Tiguan are both very successful compact crossover SUVs. The RAV4 is the world’s best-selling SUV, while the Tiguan is Volkswagen’s top-selling model in the United States. However, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 has one huge advantage over the 2023 VW Tiguan: hybrid models, including the Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

2023 Toyota RAV4 has hybrid models — but the 2023 VW Tiguan doesn’t offer 1 in the US

Front angle view of red 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid compact crossover SUV
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota

Toyota has a strong lineup of hybrid vehicles. While the Prius is the most famous, many of the automaker’s gas-powered models have received the hybrid treatment as well. This includes the 2023 Toyota RAV4 crossover SUV, which has two variants: a traditional hybrid and the Prime plug-in hybrid, which provides electric-only power for short distances. 

Conversely, the 2023 VW Tiguan doesn’t have a hybrid model for the American market. While there’s a hybrid version of the Tiguan in some other countries, in the U.S., the only option is a fully gas-powered model.

2023 RAV4 Hybrid models have higher gas mileage than the 2023 VW Tiguan

Rear angle view of white 2023 VW Tiguan compact crossover SUV
2023 VW Tiguan | Volkswagen

An appealing aspect of the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid models for crossover SUV drivers is the high gas mileage, resulting in savings at the pump. The standard hybrid has an estimated fuel economy of up to 40 combined mpg, while the RAV4 Prime PHEV gets up to 94 combined MPGe in electric-only mode and 38 combined mpg in hybrid mode. 

Also, the RAV4 Prime has an estimated electric-only driving range of up to 42 miles. It’s a good alternative for people that aren’t ready to go all-electric — due to fears of range anxiety — or running out of EV battery power. When the electric power in the RAV4 Prime runs out, it switches to power from the internal combustion engine.

The 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan is much less efficient than the RAV4 Hybrid models. It gets an estimated gas mileage of up to 26 combined mpg. Furthermore, even if you buy the fully gas-powered RAV4, you’ll still benefit from higher fuel economy (up to 30 combined mpg).

Other ways the Toyota RAV4 is better than the VW Tiguan

There are other ways the 2023 RAV4 is better than the 2023 Tiguan. This includes performance. All of the RAV4 models are more powerful than anything the Tiguan offers. The fully gas-powered model with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 203 horsepower, while the standard hybrid delivers 219 horsepower. And the most potent one is the RAV4 Prime, which doles 308 horsepower and provides sports car-like acceleration. In comparison, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the Tiguan generates only 184 horsepower.

Also, the RAV4 is able to tow a heavier load — with a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. The Tiguan maxes out at 1,500 pounds. Additionally, while both crossover SUVs offer an all-wheel drive system for extra traction, the RAV4 is better for off-road use. This is because of its higher ground clearance (up to 8.6 vs. 7.6 inches) and availability of off-road models (Woodland Edition, Adventure, and TRD Off-Road).

Also, the RAV4 is safer than the Tiguan. Unlike the Tiguan, the RAV4 earned a 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick award following good ratings in rigorous crash tests and safety evaluations.

With its hybrid models, including the Prime PHEV, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 has a huge advantage over the 2023 VW Tiguan. When deliberating which compact crossover SUV to get, the availability of a hybrid is a key factor to consider.

Related 2023 Toyota RAV4: Price, Specs, & Features — Best-Selling SUV!

2023 Toyota RAV4: Price, Specs, & Features — Best-Selling SUV!