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A white Ford Escape parked in front of a suburban home.

2021 Ford Escape vs Toyota RAV4

Posted at Fri, Jun 25, 2021 5:00 PM

The 2021 Ford Escape and 2021 Toyota RAV4 are two vehicles that often appear on the shortlists of compact SUV buyers. Both of these crossovers deliver excellent practicality, reliability, and value for money, making it difficult to choose between them. Check out this department-by-department comparison between the 2021 Ford Escape and 2021 Toyota RAV4 to determine which one is a better option for you:

Trim Levels

A white Ford Escape parked in front of a suburban home.

Ford Escape First Drive” licensed through CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by The National Roads and Motorists' Association

If you decide to buy the 2021 Ford Escape, you have four trim levels to choose from, which include the base S, SE, SEL, and the top-of-the-line Titanium. You can also opt for one of the hybrid or plug-in hybrid models available, such as the SE Hybrid, SE Plug-in Hybrid, SEL Hybrid, SEL Plug-in Hybrid, Titanium Hybrid, and Titanium Plug-in Hybrid.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 comes in six trims: the base LE, XLE, XLE Premium, TRD Off-Road, Adventure, and the range-topping Limited. This SUV also has five hybrid models, including the XSE Hybrid and the hybrid versions of the LE, XLE, XLE Premium, and Limited.

Exterior

Both the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 are attractive vehicles, but they look very different from each other. The Escape appears sleek and stylish with its smooth curves, plunging nose, and arching roof-line. It also has a number of features that add a touch of muscularity, such as a sculpted hood and fender flares. Overall, it hides its footprint well, looking more like a sport wagon than a crossover.

The RAV4, on the other hand, features an imposing stance, chunky styling, and a bold front end that give it an aggressive and rugged appearance. Squared-off fender flares and roof rails enhance its outdoorsy appeal.

Power

If you're looking for a powerful SUV, the 2021 Ford Escape is a good option. This crossover comes standard with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine rated at 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. However, if you opt for the Ford Escape SEL or Titanium, you'll have access to an energetic 2.0-liter turbo-four that generates 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. A slick-shifting eight-speed automatic pairs with both engines.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 offers only one engine option, which is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Also mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, this engine supplies more than enough power for daily use, but it isn't as punchy as the Escape's available turbo-four.

Handling

Regardless of whether you choose the Ford Escape or Toyota RAV4, you'll enjoy a smooth and composed ride in most situations. Both of these SUVs do a great job of absorbing bumps and potholes and staying stable at high speeds and around corners. Due to their compact size, they're easy to maneuver in heavy traffic, making them excellent vehicles for city dwellers.

Fuel Efficiency

Both the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 deliver exceptional fuel economy. The Ford achieves 28/34 mpg (city/highway) with its standard engine and 23/31 mpg with the turbo-four, while the Toyota manages 28/35 mpg with front-wheel drive and 27/34 mpg with all-wheel drive. If you plan to get a hybrid model, you'll save more with a Ford Escape hybrid, which gets 44/37 mpg. Choosing a Toyota RAV4 hybrid gives you only 41/38 mpg.

Interior

The 2021 Ford Escape has a solidly built and aesthetically pleasing cabin that can accommodate up to five people in two rows. Both the front and rear seats are well-cushioned and roomy enough for adults. You can slide the rear seats back to give your passengers more legroom or forward to carry more cargo. This SUV comes standard with cloth upholstery, but it offers upgrades such as synthetic or genuine leather seats, power-adjustable and heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

The interior of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 features a modern design and spacious seating. Cloth upholstery is standard, but you can opt for available features such as synthetic leather upholstery, power driver's seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. The front-passenger seat doesn't have a power-adjustable option.

Cargo Space

When it comes to cargo space, the Toyota RAV4 has a slight upper hand over the Ford Escape. It offers 37.6 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats and 69.8 cubic feet behind the front seats. The Ford gives you up to 37.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 65.4 cubic feet behind the front seats.

Tech Features

The Ford Escape provides good in-vehicle connectivity and entertainment with its wide selection of infotainment features. It comes standard with a basic infotainment system with a 4.2-inch display, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, and a USB port. You can upgrade your experience by getting available features such as the SYNC 3 infotainment system, an 8-inch touch-screen display, a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, and navigation.

Standard infotainment features in the Toyota RAV4 include a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker sound system, a USB port, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. Additionally, this crossover has optional features such as an 8-inch touch screen, an 11-speaker JBL sound system, four additional USB ports, wireless device charging, and navigation.

Safety

To minimize your risk of accidents, the 2021 Ford Escape offers standard active safety features such as a rearview camera, automatic high-beams, forward-collision alert, blind-spot detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, and rear cross-traffic warning. To further enhance your safety, you can get available features such as a head-up display, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, lane centering, traffic-jam assistance, rear parking sensors, and perpendicular and parallel parking assistance.

Every 2021 Toyota RAV4 is equipped with a rearview camera, road-sign recognition, pedestrian monitoring, automatic high-beams, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward-collision alert, lane-tracing assistance, lane-departure alert, and lane-keeping assistance. Available features include blind-spot detection, rain-sensing windshield wipers, rear cross-traffic warning, a surround-view camera parking system, and parking sensors.

If you want to know if the 2021 Ford Escape is the right SUV for you, feel free to contact us to schedule a test drive.

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