Skip to main content

The Toyota RAV4 is the world’s best-selling SUV. The small SUV is affordable, reliable, and practical. It’s easy to love Toyota’s small SUV, yet it isn’t the right choice for every driver. There are still fierce competitors that take market share from the RAV4. Here are a few reasons to pass on the best-selling SUV in the world.

1. The best-selling SUV in the world isn’t as refined as some rivals

Toyota excels at producing value-oriented vehicles. The Japanese automaker isn’t known for cabin quality. Its luxury division Lexus is more geared toward producing comfortable and classy vehicles.

A white 2023 Toyota RAV4 small SUV is parked outdoors.
The 2023 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Part of keeping its vehicles cost-effective means sacrificing cabin quality to a degree and opting for cheaper plastic materials on many base models. This is just fine for millions of Toyota owners, but some consumers prefer vehicles with better materials, even if that means paying a premium.

Toyota has firece competition in the small SUV vehicle segment. There are several value-oriented small SUVs that are arguably more refined than the RAV4 and offer more value for the money within a short period of ownership.

The Mazda CX-5 and Mazda CX-50 are two small SUVs that have amazing cabins for their starting prices. The Toyota RAV4 is the most popular small SUV in the country, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best in its segment for the money. Younger nameplates have the potential to dethrone the RAV4 in the future.

2. Some small SUVs can outlast the RAV4

If longevity is what you’re after, the Toyota RAV4 is a great option. It isn’t the only option. Contrary to popular belief, there are some small SUVs that can outlast Toyota’s small SUV when well-maintained.

A white 2023 Toyota RAV4 small SUV is driving through water.
The 2023 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

According to, an automotive research website, the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester are both (slightly) more reliable than the RAV4. Several automotive publications regard the Honda CR-V as the longest-lasting small SUV. This is important if you want the longest ownership experience possible.

Honda CR-V models that are kept in good condition can last over 250,000 miles, or over a total of 17 years. That’s more than twice the average new vehicle ownership period (8.4 years).

So, Toyota’s small SUV remains one of the most dependable options in its segment, but it can be topped. Choosing a Honda CR-V over the RAV4 could mean a few extra years of ownership.

3. There’s a better version of the Toyota RAV4 on the market

A blue 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid small hybrid SUV is parked.
The 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | Toyota

The final reason to pass on the best-selling SUV in the world takes a minute to process. The gas RAV4 is the best-selling model, but is it the best iteration of the RAV4?

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is rapidly becoming popular because of great standard features and its stellar fuel economy. The RAV4 Hybrid gets better gas mileage and can travel further on a full tank of gas than its predecessor. Best of all, the RAV4 Hybrid isn’t much more expensive than the OG version.

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid starts at $30,725. The 2023 RAV4 starts at $27,975. That’s a price difference of $2,750. The RAV4 Hybrid comes with standard all-wheel drive. Between its hybrid powertain system and standard all-wheel drive, the RAV4 Hybrid’s higher starting price is justified for many consumers. According to Car and Driver, the small hybrid SUV gets 40 miles per gallon combined.

The RAV4 has earned the title of the most popular SUV in the world. The question is, how long can the small Japanese SUV retain the title?


iSeeCars Says These 4 Small SUVs Are More Reliable Than the Toyota RAV4