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The market has no shortage of compact SUVs — with the likes of the Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, the Mazda CX-5, and many more. With so many great options, there is no shortage of competition for a spot as the best compact SUV.

Consumers Reports has its own rankings for reliability- with the Mazda CX-5 winning the top spot, the Honda CR-V making the top-5, and the Toyota RAV4 not making the top 5 list.

When it comes to Kelley Blue Book’s “Compact SUV Best Buy” Award, the Honda CR-V has beaten its “archrival” the Toyota RAV4 in previous years. This article will go over which vehicle won the Kelley Blue Book’s Compact SUV Best Buy of 2021 and why it came out on top. 

The Honda CR-V has won the award for the past few years

When the 2020 Honda CR-V was awarded the 2020 Compact SUV Best Buy Award by Kelley Blue Book, this was the fifth time that the Honda CR-V took home this award.

This is why the Honda CR-V was considered the benchmark for compact SUVs up until the 2020 model year. Non-hybrid 2020 CR-Vs are all equipped with a 190-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter unit. 2020 CR-V hybrid models come with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors which combine to produce 212 horsepower.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the 2020 CR-V won this award for a variety of reasons. Firstly the 2020 CR-V won this award for its clean and organized design, its spacious interior, its abundance of cargo space, and its drivability.

Furthermore, Kelley Blue Book was also impressed by the 2020 CR-V’s hybrid option which was a big step forward in its class. 

The Toyota RAV4 is back on top for 2021

Toyota is the pioneer of the compact SUV class — with the Toyota RAV4 creating the class more than 20 years ago. However, in recent years the RAV4 and the CR-V have been two favorites in their class with the two SUVs alone selling over 830,000 units in the U.S. in 2019.

Although the RAV4 hasn’t always been the highest-rated compact SUV, it has always been one of the best. It was even the best-selling crossover in the U.S. for the 2019 model year.

Considering the Honda CR-V’s track-record, winning the Compact SUV Best Buy award five-time until the 2020 model year, it is all the more impressive that the 2021 RAV4 came out on top.

What Kelley Blue Book loved about the 2021 RAV4

Kelley Blue Book loved a lot about the 2021 RAV4. Firstly, there is a wide variety of models and trims — which means there is a 2021 RAV4 to suit everyone’s needs. The trim options include two different hybrid models, with the plug-in hybrid being very powerful.

The RAV4 hybrid, the non-plug-in model, produces 219 hp combined from its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and electric motor. On the other hand, the RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid, is the most powerful RAV4 which produces a powerful 302 hp and has an impressive 0 to 60 mph time of 5.7 seconds. As a plug-in hybrid, RAV4 Prime can drive 42 miles on electricity alone. 

In addition to this, Kelley Blue Book was also impressed by the 2021 RAV4’s standard safety features. All 2021 RAV4’s come with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and full-speed radar cruise control.

 The 2021 RAV4 was also awarded the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick and received a 5-star overall crash test rating. Further supporting its status as 2021’s Compact SUV Best Buy, the 2021 RAV4 also comes with an excellent record of reliability and resale value.


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