I posted this over on crvownersclub.com and thought some here my be interested.
My wife and I are in the process of replacing both of our vehicles and we have been looking at the CR-V, RAV4, and the Tucson so I thought it might be helpful to write down my thoughts about each one and maybe it will also help someone else.
I like the CR-V and Tucson and she likes the RAV4 and Tucson, but she doesn't want us both to have the same car so it's been kinda fun!
I am currently driving an '05 CR-V and she is currently driving an '02 Nissan Xterra so no matter which we choose it will be a big step up for both of us.
For this comparison I drove the Mid level trim for each model (so 2015 CR-V EX, 2015 RAV4 XLE, and 2016 Tucson Sport)
Brand/Quality - Winner: Toyota
Resale Value - Winner: Honda
- This one is really important to both of us. Since we tend to keep our cars a long time, we want them to be reliable and not rack up a lot of repairs.
- I want to love the Hyundai brand, but I'm just not sure about it. Maybe there are plenty of Hyundai's that go 200k miles with little to no issues, but I just haven't heard people talking about it like they do Honda and Toyota.
- The Hyundai has a longer warranty, but I have heard that the dealer's standard response is to deny warranty claims unless you can prove that all scheduled maintenance has been performed.
- I think Toyota used to have a slight advantage here (at least in perceived quality), but now I would say that Honda and Toyota are pretty equal
- I gave this one to Toyota simply because of the vibration issues that the Honda's are currently experiencing. Hopefully Honda will come up with a fix soon and this will no longer be an issue.
Exterior Appearance - Winner: Hyundai
- Hondas and Toyotas both do a great job of holding their value, but in this case the CR-V does a little better than the RAV4 (historically)
- RAV4's tend to take a pretty big hit that first year (when compared to the CR-V), but then it levels out and they stay pretty close and at the end of five years RAV4's are typically worth about $500 less than the CR-V
- The Tucson does pretty good job of holding its value as well, just not as good as the Honda or Toyota. I expect the new ones to do a little better since the redesign makes it much more desirable in general, but since this is the first model year for the redesign that remains to be seen.
Interior - Winner: Honda
- My wife and I definitely agree on this one. We both like the Hyundai the best from the outside. Hyundai redesigned it from the ground up for 2016 and it looks great! The aggressive front end says "I'm ready to hit the road" and the back end reminds my wife of a BMW.
- Beyond that she likes the RAV4 better and I like the CR-V better.
Ride Quality - Winner: Honda
- This was the hardest comparison for me because there are things that I like and dislike in all three and I don't feel like there was a clear winner
- On the CR-V I was disappointed with how some of the materials looked and felt cheap and I also noticed that some of the cubby holes for storing stuff that make the CR-V so awesome were missing, but at the same time I felt it had the most comfortable seats.
- On the RAV4 I hated the faux carbon fiber that looked like it would scratch too easily. I also hated the weird arrangement of the cup holders and how the flat area for your phone is in an inconvenient place under the dash. The RAV4 though seemed to have the best "fit and finish". All of the doors and body panels just felt tight the way a new car should.
- I was also disappointed to see several CR-V's and RAV4's with scratches or scuffs on their inside door panels... and these were all vehicles with less than 25 miles on them.
- The Tucson also had good fit and finish and you could tell that they had added a significant amount of sound dampening materials to the cabin. This resulted in a feeling that it was more upscale. My one gripe about the Hyundai's interior is the seats. The cloth material was scratchy and they just didn't feel as comfortable as the Honda.
- I gave this one to Honda because comfortable seats are important on those long commutes.
Cabin Noise - Winner: Tie (Honda and Hyundai)
- The CR-V had the softest ride hands down.
- The Tucson was a close second, but I think the 19" tires made the ride a little too bouncy
- The RAV4 suspension felt a little too stiff for my tastes and I felt too much of the road (note: a RAV4 owner told me that it could have been due to improper tire pressure... apparently a common problem at Toyota dealerships)
Steering - Winner: Hyundai
- The CR-V and Tucson both did a great job of keeping road noise to a minimum.
- The RAV4 could have used some additional sound dampening materials
Performance - Winner: Hyundai
- The CR-V's steering felt fine, but it was a bit vague overall and I would have liked to have seen a way to change the steering dynamics either through the drive mode or with a setting.
- The RAV4's steering was much more responsive and predictable, but I honestly didn't see much difference between Eco, Normal, and Sport modes.
- The Tucson did a much better job of adjusting steering dynamics based on driving mode. The steering felt much tighter and more responsive when the Sport driving mode was engaged.
Audio System - Winner: Honda
- The CR-V was pretty quick for an SUV, but only if you really pushed down hard on the accelerator pedal and I did notice the CVT shuddering once, but then the next time it was fine.
- The RAV's performance was a little better, but still pretty lack luster
- The 1.6L turbo in the Tucson is amazing! It's mated with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and although there is a slight turbo lag when flooring it from a dead stop, once it gets going it has power in spades!
- I kept thinking how the Tucson reminded me of the Mazda CX-5 because of the fun-to-drive factor.
Color Choices - Winner: Hyundai
- This category is a biggie for me
- The CR-V comes with a 7-inch touchscreen that is fine. Most controls work the way you would expect, but it feels dated and a little clunky. I do like the iMid so that I can have the audio information on one screen and navigation on another. Plus it is covered so there is no possibility of glare.
- The RAV4 has some nice features, but I found the interface hard to navigate and I had trouble seeing it due to glare from the sun. I connected my phone via bt and started playing some music. I tried to browse my playlists, artists, etc, but the "browse" button had completely disappeared. I had to disconnect my phone and reconnect it to get it to show up. FAIL!
- The Tucson has a touch screen that is fine and it's intuitive enough, but it also feels dated and is way to small (only 5 inches). A beautiful 8-inch screen with an equally beautiful and modern interface is available, but you have to buy the upper trim level to get it.
- As for Apple CarPlay (something that is important to me), Toyota has announced that they have no intention of integrating it into their vehicles so that is a deal breaker for me. There is hope that the CR-V and Tucson may have it soon, but it is all speculation and rumors... nothing concrete
- I gave this one to Honda because even though it isn't very good, it is still better than the other two. It isn't difficult to use, it has a decent size screen, and I feel it has the best chance of getting CarPlay since Honda was beta testing it.
- Color choices are another important factor for me. I get so tired of the same old black, white, gray, and silver.
- I also strongly prefer beige interior (which seems harder to find these days)
- On the CR-V I like the Urban Titanium and the Mountain Air Metallic.
- On the Rav4 I like the Pyrite Mica
- On the Tucson I like the Mohave Sand and the Ruby Wine
- I gave this one to Hyundai because their color choices are just outstanding