Sport Utility Throwdown: Toyota Rav4 vs Ford Escape

A Girls Guide To Cars | Sport Utility Throwdown: Toyota Rav4 Vs Ford Escape - Agirlsguidetocars Logotype Color Web Transparentbg 16X9 1

Sport UtilityTwo SUVs Face Off, With Mom and Son Holding Opposing Views.

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My son’s Toyota Rav4

If you are shopping for a compact sport utility vehicle, you have likely considered two of the most popular models: Toyota Rav4 and Ford Escape.

I am very familiar with both SUVs; my son owns and loves his Rav4, and I just spent a week on a road trip, logging many miles in the Escape. I came away with a new appreciation for both cars.

I am biased against the Rav4 for a couple of reasons. I don’t like the gas guzzling engine; a compact SUV should get better than 20-21 miles per gallon. Then there’s the fact (nothing to do with Toyota) that my son keeps his car resembling a crime scene. Moms of teenage boys should probably never enter their son’s cars or bedrooms.

So I was primed to love the clean Escape, which also gets 28 miles per gallon on the highway. Much more eco friendly.

Can Grown Kids and Adults Fit?

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The sparkling interior of the Ford Escape

I played chauffeur and had both my teens, who are the same size as adults, ride in the back seat of the Escape for much of our 12 hour ride. I wanted to get their impressions of back seat comfort. Though they complained about not having a third row (which neither car has) they did say the Escape passed the ‘arm hair’ text. Both could use the middle arm rest/ cup holder and their arm hairs never touched.

Arm hair aside, both felt that the back seat of the Rav4 is more spacious. My daughter is usually in the passenger seat, and she said those were equally comfortable.


The Escape felt sturdier to me. The Rav4 has a good rating (the highest) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety  in 4 of 5 categories, the same as the Escape; both  got ‘poor’ for the same category, small overlap front.

Junk in the Trunk

My son is on the golf team, so an important consideration for him is transporting his golf clubs. Both SUVS offer ample room, able to fit the oversized golf bag lying down.

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The well-loved look in a Rav4

Keeping Your Cool

I don’t like the climate control in the Rav4; I don’t think it cools the car off enough. We all rode in cool comfort in the Escape.

What Will It Cost?

The Ford Escape starts at $22,610; the Rav4 starts at a comparable $23,550. The Ford model that I drove, the SE, was $$26,550; the EcoBoost engine helped the gas mileage.

How Does It Look?

My son prefers the look of the Rav4, while I found the Escape to be more stylish. This is how it should be; he thinks I wear mom pants and I want him to get a haircut. I really liked the Escape’s gearshift on console, which I thought was sportier looking.

Depending on who will drive the car, and how important rule economy is, you may  agree that my comparison was a draw. Now if only my son would clean his car…or get that haircut.