Crossover & Midsize

Is the Toyota RAV4 Just a Cheaper Lexus NX?

The Lexus NX is a great option if you’re looking for a compact crossover SUV. I recently had the privilege of driving a Lexus NX 300 F Sport and overall it was comfortable and luxurious. It’s not the most powerful SUV, sure. But if you want a nice luxury SUV with plenty of safety features and all of the typical Lexus details, it’s a good one to have on your radar. However, some might argue that there’s more bang for your buck with a fully loaded Toyota RAV4 compact SUV instead.

2020 Toyota RAV4 compact crossover SUV driving on the highway
2020 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

The Toyota RAV4 is a good compact crossover SUV. It has high predicted reliability ratings in addition to maintaining Toyota‘s legacy of good resale value. So is a Toyota RAV4 just a cheaper Lexus NX? That depends.

The Lexus 300 F Sport crossover

Nestled neatly in between the Lexus UX and Lexus RX, the Lexus NX 300 F Sport crossover offers what you expect from a luxury car. Soft surfaces, a long list of driver assistance features, and sleek exterior styling are all reasons to get behind the wheel of the Lexus NX. But how does it compare with the 2020 Toyota RAV4 compact SUV?

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One of the greatest differences between these two compact crossover SUV options is the engine. The 2020 Lexus NX 300 F Sport gets power from a turbocharged 4 cylinder while the RAV4 engine is naturally aspirated. We said the Lexus NX isn’t exactly abundant in power. But the RAV4 is even less so. Each model offers a hybrid option.

Toyota RAV4 compact SUV

According to Toyota, the Toyota RAV4 is a compact SUV that starts at an affordable $26,050. This base model obviously won’t compare with the standard of luxury in an entry-level Lexus NX. However, according to the video host, a fully-loaded Limited trim Toyota RAV4 compact SUV is actually pretty luxurious. Even the orange interior accents in the Adventure trim RAV4 in the video below help it stand out in its class. The Toyota RAV4 is a bestselling SUV for a reason.

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The Toyota RAV4 compact SUV is a good SUV. However, we don’t feel it quite comes to the same standard of luxury as a Lexus NX. If luxury is a high priority, you’ll want to test drive both a Limited trim Toyota RAV4 and a Lexus NX F 300 Sport. They are both great options, but the Lexus is clearly a more luxurious selection.

Are these two crossover SUV options essentially the same?

Due to differences like base price, varying powertrains, and the fact that one is mainstream and one is considered part of the luxury segment, these two compact crossover SUVs are not the same. However, if you have around $50 grand to spend and you are shopping they are both worth some attention.

A white 2020 Lexus NX driving down city streets.
2020 Lexus NX | Lexus

The RAV4 offers touchscreen infotainment, while the NX does not. On the other hand, they each return very similar miles per gallon averages. Each of these crossovers are around the same size. The Lexus NX is just a more refined all-around compact SUV than the Toyota RAV4. Still, the fully loaded Limited trim Toyota RAV4 is comparable enough to its luxury SUV counterpart that we recommend trying them both.