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Why Buy a 2020 Toyota Corolla When You Can Buy a RAV4 Instead?

Toyota offers a car, truck, or SUV for essentially every need. Of these, the 2020 Toyota Corolla is one of the most popular choices in America. But what compels someone to buy a Corolla when they could opt for a 2020 Toyota RAV4 crossover instead? The vehicles are both good choices, but the versatility of the RAV4 could sway buyers away from the beloved Toyota sedan.

The Rav4 is Toyota's family crossover, with a favorable safety rating, an efficient engine, and a reasonable price, it is a major seller for the brand.
2020 Toyota RAV4 interior | Toyota

The crossover SUV offers comparable safety features, infotainment technology, and Toyota reliability. However, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 crossover offers available all-wheel drive. In addition, a TRD trim became available for 2020. What are the reasons folks turn to the 2020 Toyota Corolla instead?

Is the 2020 Toyota Corolla a good car?

Of course, the 2020 Toyota Corolla is a good car. In fact it’s one of the best in its class in terms of reliability and value. It’s an extremely popular commuter car. The base model Toyota Corolla L isn’t fast. In fact, none of the Corolla models are.

A photo of a blue Corolla outdoors.
Toyota Corolla | Toyota

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However, this Toyota sedan has a reputation for reliability, safety, and––arguably above all else––practicality. If you opt for the base model Corolla, according to U.S. News and World Report, you’ll see a starting price of $19,600. For this price point, you’ll get standard LED headlights and taillights. Plus, you’ll get a pair of manually adjustable front seats, cloth upholstery, and a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system with a Wi-Fi hot spot and Apple CarPlay. This system also has a USB port, voice recognition, and Bluetooth connectivity.

In addition to those standard features, you get the full Toyota safety suite. This means features like a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. Standard safety features also include lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and traffic sign recognition. Plus, the 2020 Toyota Corolla gets standard driver-assist features such as adaptive cruise control and lane tracing assist.

Should you buy the RAV4 instead?

If you have more money to spend, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 crossover offers all that and more. For $25,950, according to U.S. News and World Report, you get all of the same standard features. However, you get to upgrade to all of the benefits of driving a crossover instead of a sedan. Sedans have their purpose, and the Toyota Corolla is a great one.

2021 Toyota RAV4 off-roading
Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

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Still, the added cargo space and ease of not having to stoop so low to board the vehicle are compelling reasons to choose a crossover instead. The higher ground clearance means less chance of damaging your vehicle over bumps and divots in the road. Not only does the larger vehicle lend more cargo space––37.6 cubic feet to the Corolla’s 13 cubic feet of trunk space, to be exact––but it also offers more leg and headroom for rear passengers.

Naturally, all this can be expected if you upgrade from a Toyota sedan to a crossover like the 2020 RAV4. But all of these reasons might make it worth it to buyers to spend the extra cash. There’s a reason small SUVs like the 2020 Toyota RAV4 crossover are so popular.

What about fuel economy?

Although you’d expect the 2020 Toyota Corolla to crush the fuel economy of the RAV4, it’s not nearly as far ahead in terms of gas mileage as one might think. According to U.S. News and World Report, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 crossover gets from 25-26 mpg in the city and 33-35 mpg on the highway.

2020 RAV4 Off Road in the desert on a trail with the bike on the roof rack
2020 Toyota RAV4 Off Road | Toyota

The Toyota sedan in question gets between 29-31 mpg in the city and from 36-40 mpg on the highway. So yes, the 2020 Toyota Corolla offers a better fuel economy and a much less expensive price. But if you can afford to move up to the RAV4 you hardly sacrifice in terms of gas mileage or reliability, and you get all the benefits of having a crossover instead of a car.