How Does the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Stack Up Against the Toyota RAV4?

The Toyota RAV4 is easily the most popular crossover in America. Even so, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. The RAV4’s most prominent rivals are the Honda CR-V and the Nissan Rogue. But how does the Volkswagen Tiguan stack up against the RAV4?

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 has more performance options than the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan 

2021 Toyota RAV4 parked in the wilderness
2021 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Both the RAV4 and the Tiguan are comfort-oriented SUVs with excellent fuel economy ratings. That said, don’t expect a particularly sporty experience from either model. The RAV4 has more performance options out of the two, though. 

The gas-powered RAV4 comes with a 203-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder and an eight-speed automatic. This setup moves the SUV with ease, but the biggest complaint is that the RAV4 gets noisy at higher speeds. You might favor the RAV4’s Adventure or TRD trim if you plan on doing extra outdoorsy activities. Separately, the RAV4 family has expanded with two hybrid options: there’s the RAV4 Hybrid and the new Prime variant.

A photo of the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan outdoors.
Volkswagen Tiguan | Volkswagen

VW’s Tiguan isn’t meant for off-roading at all, and it’s not available as a hybrid. All Tiguans feature a 184-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and an eight-speed auto. The Tiguan’s turbo-four can feel underpowered at higher speeds, and it can get noisy. Still, it’s a pleasant ride overall. And like the RAV4, you have the choice between front- or all-wheel drive.

The Tiguan offers more interior space 

A sideview of the 2019 Tiguan's interior.
Volkswagen Tiguan’s interior | Volkswagen

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The RAV4 and the Tiguan both offer classy car cabins, especially as you climb trim levels. Cloth upholstery is standard on both, with simulated weather available as an upgrade. Heated and cooled seats are optional too. 

 Like most of the models in this segment, the RAV4 can carry up to five people. The Tiguan stands out in the class because it’s available as a five-seater and as a three-row model that can accommodate seven.

Trunk area of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
Trunk area of the 2021 RAV4 Prime | Toyota

Furthermore, the Tiguan offers more cargo space, depending on the model you pick. Two-row models have up to 73.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded; third-row Tiguans have up to 65.7 cubic feet. The RAV4 provides up to 69.8 cubic feet of storage room.

Both SUVs are good on tech 

The Tiguan's sharp touchscreen at the center console.
The Tiguan’s infotainment display | Volkswagen

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Tech lovers will be happy with either of these SUVs. The RAV4 and the Tiguan come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, plus a wifi hotspot. A 7-inch touchscreen is standard on the RAV4; the Tiguan comes with a 6.5-inch screen, as  U.S. News highlights. 

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid compact SUV on display at Brussels Expo on January 9, 2020
The Toyota RAV4 interior | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

These SUVs also offer lots of advanced safety features. Both come with forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. However, the RAV4 has a few more standard features in this department, such as road sign recognition. 

Which one would you pick?

The 2021 RAV4 begins at $26,150, and the 2021 Tiguan starts at $25,245. These models are similarly priced and offer some of the same amenities. While the RAV4 and the Tiguan have lots in common, making a final decision between them is relatively easy. The RAV4 family wins out if you want extra power and efficiency. If you want a small vehicle with an extra row, the Tiguan is the obvious choice.