2023 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2023 Highlander: Hi Big Brother!

Are you considering buying either the Toyota RAV4 compact SUV or the larger Toyota Highlander three-row midsize SUV? Find out the differences between the two SUVs in this 2023 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2023 Toyota Highlander comparison. 

2023 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2023 Toyota Highlander: What are the differences?

Side view of Midnight Black Metallic 2023 Toyota RAV4
Midnight Black Metallic 2023 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

In this 2023 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2023 Toyota Highlander comparison, we evaluated several areas. This includes performance, gas mileage, towing, off-road capabilities, safety, passenger and cargo space, warranty coverage, and price.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Performance and gas mileage

Side view of white 2023 Toyota Highlander, highlighting its release date and price
Wind Chill Pearl 2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

For performance, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 offers three engine options: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (203 hp), a hybrid (219 hp), and a plug-in hybrid with the RAV4 Prime (308 hp). In comparison, the 2023 Toyota Highlander offers two engine options: a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine (265 hp) and a hybrid (243 hp).

For efficiency, the RAV4 has the advantage. The gas-powered RAV4 has an estimated fuel economy of up to 30 combined mpg, while the RAV4 Hybrid has a gas mileage of up to 40 combined mpg. Also, the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid has a fuel efficiency of 94 MPGe when in electric-only mode and 38 combined mpg in hybrid mode.

In comparison, the gas-powered Highlander has a fuel economy of up to 24 combined mpg, while the Highlander Hybrid has a gas mileage of up to 36 combined mpg.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Towing

On the towing front, the Highlander has the advantage. The gas-powered Highlander has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, and the Highlander Hybrid can tow up to 3,500 pounds. In comparison, the RAV4 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Off-road capabilities

While both SUVs offer a traction-enhancing all-wheel drive system, the RAV4 is better for off-road use. For one, the RAV4 has higher ground clearance than the Highlander (up to 8.6 vs. 8.0 inches). Also, unlike the Highlander, the RAV4 offers off-road-focused models with the Woodland Edition, Adventure, and TRD Off-Road trims.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Safety

The Highlander is safer than the RAV4. The IIHS crash test scores for the RAV4 and Highlander are not yet available for the 2023 model year. However, given that both SUVs are primarily carryover models, the 2023 IIHS ratings are expected to be similar to the 2022 ratings. For the 2022 model year, the Highlander earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, which is the highest possible rating. In comparison, the 2022 RAV4 received the second-tier IIHS Top Safety Pick award.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Passenger and cargo space

With its larger overall size, the Highlander provides more interior space than the RAV4. It can seat up to eight passengers and has a total passenger volume of 141.3 cu-ft. In comparison, the RAV4 has a passenger capacity of five people and a total passenger volume of 98.9 cu-ft. Plus, the Highlander offers more space for storage, with a maximum cargo capacity of 84.3 cu-ft, compared to 69.8 cu-ft for the RAV4.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Warranty coverage

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For warranty coverage, both the RAV4 and Highlander have the backing of a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Price

Which Toyota SUV costs more: the 2023 RAV4 or the 2023 Highlander? The price information is not yet available for the 2023 model year, but both SUVs will likely cost slightly more than the 2022 versions. For the 2022 RAV4, the starting price ranges from $26,975 MSRP for the LE trim up to $43,625 MSRP for the RAV4 Prime XSE trim. In comparison, the starting price of the 2022 Highlander ranges from $35,855 MSRP for the L trim up to $49,510 MSRP for the Platinum Hybrid trim.

2023 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2023 Toyota Highlander: Which SUV is better?

In this 2023 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2023 Toyota Highlander comparison, each SUV has various advantages. For the 2023 RAV4, advantages include gas mileage, off-road capabilities, and a lower price. Conversely, advantages for the 2023 Highlander include towing, safety, and passenger and cargo space.

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