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The Ultimate Crossover SUV Battle Between Tiguan And RAV4

Image Source: Veyron Photo / Shutterstock

Subcompact crossover SUVs are incredibly popular for their versatility, efficiency, and reasonable price tags.

As one of the most popular vehicles in its segment, the 2024 Toyota RAV4 is available in an extensive selection of trims, each a standout in its own right. Having undergone a comprehensive redesign in 2019, the RAV4 offers a diverse lineup, from the robust TRD Off-Road variant to the economical hybrid models.

The 2024 Volkswagen Tiguan, a fresher face in the market, brings a strong set of attributes to the table such as safety features, cutting-edge technology, and spacious interiors, pitting itself against the RAV4.

They face stiff competition from other admirable contenders like the latest Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, and Nissan Rogue. When deliberating between these two, which one should you choose.

How much does a Toyota RAV4 cost?

With up to 16 different models to select from, the RAV4 maintains a solid starting price of approximately $30,000. The entry-level RAV4 LE is equipped with fabric seats, 17-inch wheels, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Investing a bit more for the RAV4 XLE, with a price tag over $34,000 for the all-wheel-drive hybrid version, includes features like a motorized driver’s seat and keyless ignition, with the possibility to add extras such as heated seats and a larger touchscreen display.

At a price exceeding $45,000, buyers can acquire the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid. Although challenging to locate on sales floors, it’s highly sought after for its impressive fuel efficiency, sport-focused suspension, and an all-electric driving mode. Every RAV4 includes a standard 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.

How much does a VW Tiguan cost?

The standard Tiguan S starts also around $30,000, offering fabric seats, 17-inch wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Every Volkswagen comes with an attractive 4-year/50,000-mile warranty and two complimentary years of routine maintenance.

At an approximate cost of $35,000, the Tiguan SE introduces imitation leather seats, 18-inch wheels, wireless gadget integration, and adaptive cruise control.

The top-tier Tiguan SEL R-Line, priced over $40,000, adds a sunroof, premium sound system, and 10.3-inch digital gauges.

Advantage: Toyota RAV4, even though the high-end models are pricier.

Both vehicles offer all-season all-wheel-drive capabilities

The Tiguan’s 184-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine provides a comfortable acceleration, harmonizing nicely with the standard 8-speed automatic transmission. What stands out is its serene drive quality. The Tiguan offers an agreeable ride and shines when outfitted with 17- and 18-inch wheels found on the S and SE trims. The R-Line models come with larger 19- or 20-inch wheels, which might impair the smoothness of the ride in pursuit of a sportier feel.

All 2024 Tiguan variants can be upgraded with all-wheel drive, though the default configuration is front-wheel drive. Similarly, most 2024 RAV4s come with front-wheel drive as the norm, yet have the option for all-wheel drive as well.

Standard RAV4 models produce a satisfactory horsepower from a 203-hp 2.5-liter inline-4 engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The motor emits noise when pushed to its limits, but delivers adequate performance. The hybrid versions draw our acclaim: the 219-hp Hybrid fuses the gasoline engine with batteries and a rear-wheel electric motor for a standard all-wheel drive and superior fuel economy. Superior still—and considerably more scarce—is the RAV4 Prime, which boasts a substantial 18.1-kwh battery pack and a high output of 302 hp. It sprints to 60 mph in a mere 5.7 seconds and delivers a solid handling experience courtesy of its finely-tuned sport suspension, all while providing up to 42 miles of pure electric driving range.

Advantage: The RAV4, especially with a preference for the Hybrid and Prime models.

2023 Volkswagen Tiguan

Tiguan vs. RAV4 size, seating capacity, and cargo space

How spacious is the Volkswagen Tiguan?

Volkswagen designs its crossover vehicles to be sizable, and the Tiguan stands out as one of the roomiest in its class, offering up to 73.5 cubic feet of cargo volume. Its square shape hints at the additional 4 inches it holds over the RAV4.

The Tiguan accommodates up to seven passengers in its front-wheel-drive configurations, and five in its all-wheel-drive versions. The five-seater variants are our preferred configuration, providing greater comfort for four adults, with supportive seating. The smaller third-row seating is really only suitable for two smaller individuals. In all-wheel-drive models, the Tiguan provides up to 73.4 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats folded; the front-wheel-drive, seven-seater versions offer slightly less storage area.

How spacious is the Toyota RAV4?

The Tiguan’s roominess might have the upper hand over the RAV4, which can seat five. The RAV4 offers a cargo volume of 69.8 cubic feet with its rear seats down, which is quite generous for the category. Its seats are on the thinner side, and the headroom is about 2 inches less than what the Tiguan offers, yet it compensates with slightly more leg room in the RAV4’s cabin as compared to the Tiguan. Individuals over six feet tall will likely find the Tiguan more spacious and comfortable for driving.

Advantage: The Tiguan, with its more capacious interior and superior seating.

2022 Toyota RAV4

Tiguan vs. RAV4 fuel efficiency

The Tiguan is economical with gasoline

Yet, it falls short when juxtaposed with the RAV4 Hybrid and Prime models

Despite most RAV4 models not being hybrids or plug-ins, they achieve an EPA-rated fuel economy of 30 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive versions, which is quite commendable. Opting for all-wheel drive only slightly impacts fuel consumption. The 40-mpg-rated RAV4 Hybrid takes the lead as the most economical and efficient choice, yet the Prime model surpasses the rest with its 42-mile electric-only range.

The Tiguan’s fuel economy is more typical, with front-wheel-drive variants receiving EPA marks at 26 mpg combined. The heavier all-wheel-drive models come in at 25 mpg combined. Currently, no hybrid options are available for this model.

Advantage: Toyota RAV4, even for its standard models.

The Tiguan. Toyota infused aspects of its truck heritage into the RAV4’s design, reminiscing the era when SUVs evolved from trucks. Robust fenders and a substantial, wide grille give an illusion of toughness, whereas the Adventure and TRD Off-Road models introduce additional aesthetic enhancements that mimic ruggedness. The interior features a straightforward, horizontal layout, accentuated by metallic accents, synthetic leather, and, on select models, a sizable 9.0-inch touchscreen.

The Tiguan doesn’t attempt to make such bold or overambitious statements, and this is not to diminish either vehicle’s worth. It embraces a modest design from its LED front lights to LED rear lights, sporting an uncluttered silhouette with minimal extraneous detailing—a principle that is echoed in its interior with a subdued dashboard that houses an 8.0-inch touchscreen and, in certain versions, a 10.3-inch digital instrument panel.

Advantage: The RAV4 captivates more, starting from its exterior.

How secure is the Toyota RAV4?

It has obtained a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS, and the NHTSA has awarded it a total of five stars. Additionally, the RAV4 comes with essential automatic emergency braking, active lane guidance, adaptive cruising control, and automatic high-beam assistance; available extras include blind-spot monitors.

How secure is the Volkswagen Tiguan?

Its overall rating from the NHTSA has been reduced to four stars, and it no longer holds the once attained IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. The Tiguan is equipped with essential automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, and it presents optional additions like adaptive cruising control, active lane guidance, and a panoramic view camera system.

Advantage: RAV4.

Which is superior: Tiguan or RAV4?

Judging by the statistics, the Toyota RAV4 claims the triumph here. It’s been rated with a TCC Score of 6.5 out of 10; the Primes would score even higher due to their robust power and fuel efficiency. (For further insight on how we assess vehicles, read more.)

Yet the roomy Tiguan has its allure, and VW ensures each vehicle with a 4-year/50,000-mile guarantee which encompasses two years of no-cost scheduled upkeep. With a TCC Score of 6.0 out of 10, it’s not significantly trailing behind the RAV4. Offering hybrid and plug-in variants might bolster its competitiveness, but VW presently has an impressive alternative available: the fully electric VW ID.4 crossover EV.

Image Source: Veyron Photo / Shutterstock

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