SUVs

Honda CR-V vs. Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape: Hybrid SUVs compared

Honda's new CR-V Hybrid arrives as a more efficient option in the compact SUV class. But how does it stack up to the hybrid offerings from Ford and Toyota?

The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid has been a long time coming for the US market.

Honda

Perhaps more than any other segment, compact SUVs are red-hot these days. Some automakers are even launching new, electrified versions of their popular CUVs, and Honda did just that on Wednesday with the debut of the 2020 CR-V Hybrid.

But the CR-V Hybrid won't be the only game in town when it goes on sale this fall. In addition to the already-on-sale Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the new 2020 Ford Escape launches with an electrified variant. In fact, the Escape will soon offer two hybrid powertrains.

How do these three hybrid SUVs stack up against one another? Let's take a closer look at the specs to find out.

Drivetrain

Most people probably don't buy a hybrid SUV for its visceral driving experience or stoplight-to-stoplight performance, but what these vehicles lack in outright power they make up for with fuel-efficient returns.

All three SUVs use naturally aspirated, four-cylinder engines, making between 200 and 219 horsepower. Unfortunately, we don't have official EPA fuel economy numbers for the Ford Escape or Honda CR-V, but we can make some educated guesses based on estimates the automakers have provided.

Ford will eventually have a leg up on the competition when the plug-in hybrid Escape launches next year. It'll use the same 2.5-liter I4 engine as the standard Escape Hybrid, but Ford says this model will have a roughly 30-mile all-electric driving range, too.

Engine

Output

Fuel economy

Ford Escape Hybrid

2.5-liter I4

200 horsepower

39 mpg highway (est.)

Honda CR-V Hybrid

2.0-liter I4

212 horsepower

TBD

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

2.5-liter I4

219 horsepower

41 mpg city, 38 mpg highway

Driver assistance technology

When it comes to vehicles of this type, tech is essential. Buyers are looking for both advanced safety tech and driver assistance features, as well as a quality suite of infotainment functions. So far, all of these crossovers look pretty good in that regard.

The Honda benefits from the company's newly minted decision to include its Honda Sensing safety suite as standard equipment across its entire range. Honda Sensing bundles things like lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning into one standard equipment package.

The RAV4 Hybrid has a similarly bundled system on board which Toyota calls Safety Sense 2.0. It includes features like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with steering assist, lane-tracing assist, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control and road sign assist.

Ford's Escape will ship with CoPilot 360 as standard. This comes with a slew of features like blind-spot warning, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking and automatic high beams. If you pay extra on certain trims, you can get adaptive cruise with lane centering, one-touch parking assistant and evasive steering assist.

Infotainment tech

From an infotainment standpoint, Toyota is likely to end up in last place with its perpetually annoying and slow Entune system, which still lacks Android Auto compatibility. It does have Apple CarPlay though, and that's good news, since Entune is kind of tough to use, despite being housed in an 8-inch touchscreen.

Honda's CR-V Hybrid interior remains mostly unchanged from the standard model, with the exception of a redesigned center console and a push-button shifter. The infotainment system is relatively standard for Honda, which means its 7-inch touchscreen is cleanly designed and relatively easy to use with its physical volume knob, but it's not going to knock your socks off. The Honda system also supports Apple CarPlay, but unlike the Toyota, Android users can get in on the fun, too.

The Ford may be the best of the bunch when it comes to infotainment thanks to its 8-inch touchscreen and Sync 3 system, which is easy to use, well thought out and also integrates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This system has come a long way since the first iterations of Sync, and now includes a Wi-Fi hotspot, Amazon Alexa integration and more.

Dimensions

Since the majority of compact crossover buyers are going to be schlepping people and cargo, interior functionality is key.

All of the SUVs stack up pretty nicely here, though the RAV4 Hybrid takes the cake on cargo capacity. To be fair, Honda hasn't released cargo numbers for the CR-V Hybrid, but the standard model offers 39.2 cubic feet of space with the second row seats up, and 75.8 with them down. Since the CR-V's hybrid guts are stored beneath the cargo floor, it's safe to assume final cargo specs will take a slight hit.

Front headroom

Front legroom

Second row headroom

Second row legroom

Standard cargo volume

Max cargo volume

Ford Escape Hybrid

42.0 in.

42.4 in.

39.3 in.

38.9 in.

34.4 cu-ft.

60.8 cu-ft.

Honda CR-V Hybrid

37.8 in.

41.3 in.

38.3 in.

40.4 in.

TBD

TBD

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

37.7 in.

41.0 in.

39.5 in.

37.8 in.

37.6 cu-ft.

69.8 cu-ft.

Pricing

Honda hasn't released pricing for the 2020 CR-V Hybrid yet; we should have that information closer to the car's on-sale date this fall. Ford and Toyota, meanwhile, offer pretty competitive pricing options, though Toyota offers its hybrid powertrain on more RAV4 trims than Ford does on the Escape. The fact is that the only model we have concrete pricing info on is the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and that will run you a cool $37,375 in Limited trim. That's not bad considering what you get, and we'd bet that both the Honda and the Ford hew pretty closely to that number, as is the case with their gasoline-powered counterparts.

Base MSRP

Ford Escape SE Sport Hybrid

$28,255

Ford Escape Titanium Hybrid

$33,400

Toyota RAV4 LE Hybrid

$27,850

Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid

$29,650

Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid

$33,850

Toyota RAV4 Limited Hybrid

$35,850

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