Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

A comparison of compact SUVs that lead the class in handling and hauling: Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape.

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If you've recently found yourself in the market for an SUV, you'd do well to read up on the contrast between the Toyota RAV4 versus the Ford Escape. Hopefully, this car buying guide will have just the reviews you need to better understand their respective car rankings and make an informed choice between them.
Toyota RAV4

Reply! should be your first choice for vehicle buyer's guides and reviews. By the end of this article, you should have learned what you need to know about the price of these competing SUVs, how many miles per gallon you can expect to get out of them and their general cost of ownership.


The Toyota RAV4 and its domestic counterpart, the Ford Escape, are very similar vehicles in many ways. Both are compact SUV crossovers of about the same dimensions, with inline-four engines and seating for five passengers. Both are covered by a standard three-year, 36,000 mile warranty, and they're both blessed with very similar DOT safety ratings. 


While it's true that Toyota has traditionally enjoyed the superior reputation for reliability, the Ford Motor Company has spent much of the last decade working to improve its customers' post-sale experience and reduce the need for maintenance and repairs in its vehicles. This is especially true of Ford's SUVs, which pioneered the SUV class twenty years ago.

Ford Escape

Fuel economy

One of the areas where these two models differ is in mileage. The Toyota RAV4 gets 22-24 mpg in the city, and 29-31mpg on the highway. The Ford Escape is rated for a slightly inferior 21-23 mpg on city streets, and a somewhat broader range of 28-33 mpg out on the open road. Considering the clear advantage the Ford carries over its rival in horsepower and towing capacity, this seems like a fair trade, especially considering how very similar these two SUVs' engines are.


The Ford also manages to transmit more power to its wheels by operating with a considerably higher torque, which has long been a special feature of large Fords. The Toyota may not haul like the Ford, but it certainly wins points for its advantages in handling. The RAV4 has a much tighter turning radius than the Escape, and you're definitely going to notice it when trying to maneuver into or out of a tight spot in a crowded parking lot.

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Toyota came late to the SUV market, and brought a somewhat different sensibility with it. While Ford has always thought of SUVs as small trucks, Toyota treats them like large cars. You can catch a glimpse of this difference in approach in each manufacturer's suggested retail price. The lighter, more maneuverable Toyota is offered at $23,300-$28,410, while the heavier, more powerful Ford starts cheaper, at $22,470, and rises to a much higher $32,120. Any way you slice it, a Toyota RAV4 vs. Ford Escape comparison is going to be close, so use Reply! to set up test drives with reputable local dealers and take your final comparison to the road.

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