Why the Ford Escape Narrowly Beats the Toyota RAV4 According to U.S. News

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 is one of the best compact SUVs on the market right now, but there are many great options in the segment. The Ford Escape is one of those great options competing against the RAV4, and it’s a fairly close race between the two compact crossovers. That said, the 2022 Ford Escape is narrowly better than the Toyota RAV4, and here’s a look at why.

A look at the specs of the 2022 Ford Escape and the Toyota RAV4

U.S. News wrote that it’s a tough call between these two SUVs, as they’re evenly matched in many areas. In terms of pricing, the standard Escape is cheaper by $15. However, the Escape’s top trims are more expensive than the RAV4’s, so the RAV4 narrowly wins on price. It’s a similar story in terms of cargo capacity.

Both SUVs have 37.5 cu-ft of cargo space when the seats aren’t folded down. The Toyota narrowly has more cargo space when the seats are folded down, as it gets 69.8 cu-ft, while the Ford gets 65.4 cu-ft.

There are some more significant differences under the hood, but it’s still close. The RAV4 has one engine and gets 203 hp. The Escape has two engine options, and the more powerful one gets 250 hp.

While the Escape is the more powerful car, the two are almost tied for fuel economy. Both SUVs get 31 mpg combined when equipped with front-wheel drive, but with all-wheel drive, the Toyota is slightly more efficient. 

Why the 2022 Ford Escape may be the better SUV

A silver 2022 Ford Escape driving through a city.
2022 Ford Escape | Ford Media Center

The Toyota also won in some categories, such as interior quality, but overall, the race is too close to call because the Escape also won in other categories. For example, the Escape has more comfortable seats, as Ford designed the SUV to have more legroom. Additionally, Toyota gave the RAV4’s seats less cushioning, so drivers and passengers will feel the difference on long drives.

Another area where the Escape won outright was in ride and handling. U.S. News wrote that the Ford SUV “has a smooth ride.” It also “feels composed around corners.” The same can’t be said about the Toyota. Additionally, the cabin of the RAV4 is noisier than the Escape’s cabin. Plus, while Toyotas are well-known for their safety, the Escape did better in its crash tests than the RAV4, so that it will be a marginally safer SUV.

Finally, in terms of tech features, the two are tied. The Escape starts with a smaller screen, but they both have an optional 8-inch touchscreen, and the Ford’s infotainment system is smoother to use. Overall, both SUVs did well in almost all categories, and even in categories that they won in, it was usually close. Therefore, it’s possible to say that the Escape is the better option.

The best car will ultimately depend on what you need as a buyer

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Ultimately, this race may be too close to call, and the winner depends on what matters to buyers. For example, the RAV4 technically won in the price category, but the starting versions of the two SUVs are separated by $15. If shoppers only want the standard version, then the RAV4 doesn’t win in this category.

Similarly, although the RAV4 gets more cargo capacity with the seats folded down, this may not be a relevant spec for some shoppers. The two SUVs are tied for cargo capacity if this spec doesn’t matter. As such, the real winner is the owner of whichever car they buy, as they’ll have access to a great SUV.