Highlander or RAV4

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maple92
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Highlander or RAV4

Post by maple92 »

Hi Bogleheads,

Question for any of you that may have had a hard look deciding between the Highlander and the RAV4 ----- what tipped your decision one way or the other when considering these cars. I recognize they are two different vehicles in many senses. I want to sit higher as hitting 50 I feel like I am starting to need a crane to dig me out of my Honda Accord at the end of the day. My head says RAV4 due to gas mileage. My other thought is that I am about 6'3" 230 and have heard some say there is little headroom in the RAV4 for taller people, however I have seen conflicting reports on that --- but that weighs to a certain degree in my thoughts as well (somewhat offset by the gas mileage) (I am not considering a hybrid). Anyhow, very interested in the thoughts anyone can offer with the focus on these 2 cars (have been long time Honda person but the oil dilution issue has soured me on Honda a bit).

Thanks in advance for thoughts!
jebmke
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by jebmke »

maple92 wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:09 pm My other thought is that I am about 6'3" 230 and have heard some say there is little headroom in the RAV4 for taller people, however I have seen conflicting reports on that
The auto makers report all the specifications. This should not be subject to opinion. As a check, you can go to a dealer and sit in each one.

My experience is old (my RAV4 is 2008 and my BIL has an older Highlander). I seem to recall that the Highlander is essentially a car shaped like an SUV. My RAV4 has a high clearance, V6 engine and towing package (oversized radiator). I take it places where there is barely any dirt road and sometimes off the road. With 4WD and a V6 I can practically climb trees with it.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
bob60014
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by bob60014 »

They both are about the same height for 2020, and surprisingly the Rav 4 is a fraction higher. Go figure! Best to sit in each of them and play with the seat height adjusters. The sunroof will impact the headroom clearance. Also, V6s are no longer available for Rav4s.
Last edited by bob60014 on Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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lthenderson
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by lthenderson »

We have a 2015 RAV4 and at 6'2", I have plenty of head room. Because I normally drive the 2017 Sienna that we also own, the RAV4 feels more closed in in general but not overly so. I do like the responsiveness of the RAV4 and with the AWD, it is a beast in wintertime.
Topic Author
maple92
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by maple92 »

Thank you for all the posts so far---- greatly appreciate all the feedback -- please keep it coming!
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StormShadow
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by StormShadow »

We have a 2012 RAV4 and love it. DW did not feel comfortable driving a larger car (she used to drive an old Honda Civic). Ours is the last model with a V6 engine, which is a shame because the larger engine does add to the driving experience.

I don’t think you can go wrong either way. Personally, I’d go with a V6 Highlander. I have a V6 Camry also and it’s served me extremely well.
jebmke
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by jebmke »

StormShadow wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:18 pm Ours is the last model with a V6 engine, which is a shame because the larger engine does add to the driving experience.
My wife has a hybrid Camry (2018, I think) and while it doesn't quite jump like the V6, it has plenty of power. I'd never get the RAV4 in the 4-cyl gas.

I have toyed with the idea of trading my 2008 but I like the hatch that swings laterally rather than up and the space created by having the spare outside the car.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by adamthesmythe »

jebmke wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:22 pm
maple92 wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:09 pm My other thought is that I am about 6'3" 230 and have heard some say there is little headroom in the RAV4 for taller people, however I have seen conflicting reports on that
The auto makers report all the specifications. This should not be subject to opinion. As a check, you can go to a dealer and sit in each one.

My experience is old (my RAV4 is 2008 and my BIL has an older Highlander). I seem to recall that the Highlander is essentially a car shaped like an SUV. My RAV4 has a high clearance, V6 engine and towing package (oversized radiator). I take it places where there is barely any dirt road and sometimes off the road. With 4WD and a V6 I can practically climb trees with it.
Yeah, just go sit in them.

BUT jebmke is describing a Rav4 that is no longer sold. There is only a 4 cylinder now, and although there was once a locked 4WD mode that also is no longer sold. However the 4 cyl offers quite excellent gas mileage, and there is another sort of AWD system that is claimed to be good.

I will likely be getting one. I am not considering the Highlander; it is bigger than I need and I assume more expensive.
jebmke
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by jebmke »

adamthesmythe wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:25 pm BUT jebmke is describing a Rav4 that is no longer sold. There is only a 4 cylinder now, and although there was once a locked 4WD mode that also is no longer sold. However the 4 cyl offers quite excellent gas mileage, and there is another sort of AWD system that is claimed to be good.
That's why I will probably keep mine forever. Besides, I already have the carpet coffee-stained as I like it and the back bumper has a ding right where I want it. Hate to have to break in a new vehicle.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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lthenderson
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by lthenderson »

jebmke wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:22 pm
StormShadow wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:18 pm Ours is the last model with a V6 engine, which is a shame because the larger engine does add to the driving experience.
My wife has a hybrid Camry (2018, I think) and while it doesn't quite jump like the V6, it has plenty of power. I'd never get the RAV4 in the 4-cyl gas.

I have toyed with the idea of trading my 2008 but I like the hatch that swings laterally rather than up and the space created by having the spare outside the car.
The 4-cyl engine in the RAV4 has more than enough get up and go for normal driving conditions in my opinion. If you use the sport engine tuned mode, it has even more but we don't use it because our heads get tired of being thrown backwards into the seat every time we press the gas pedal. I wouldn't buy it if you like to drag others from stop lights but if one did, an SUV probably isn't where you are looking. According to car and driver, it has a 7.8 to 8.2 0-60 acceleration time compared to the V-6 Highlanders 6.8 to 8.2 0-60 acceleration time. A second or less depending on the model. It certainly isn't like 4 cylinder engines of my youth that were extremely under powered.
jebmke
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by jebmke »

I wouldn't buy a Highlander.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
DetroitRick
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by DetroitRick »

We just bought a 2020 RAV4 in February. My wife (5'7") is the primary driver, I (5'11") have a 2004 Highlander (V6). I also checked out the 2020 Highlander when we were shopping in January. Really liked it and it seems much improved (size, styling, features) from my 2004, which I still like.

Neither of us has any height issue with the 2020 RAV4. I do adjust the seat a bit to give myself more headroom, but I"m fine with it. At your 6'3", I would definitely drive one a bit to see how it feels, particularly with your preferred seat position.

I can easily see repeating our decision on both cars. There are times where the additional Highlander room is be preferable for us, but not very often. I like the way the new Highlander looks, feels and drives a bit more, but I would still at least consider the smaller RAV4 for my own next car.

My wife loves her RAV4, more than any other car she has had. Yeah, we'd love a Lambo (actually a Tesla for me) but the RAV4 price and features were a better fit for our exact needs. We also shopped and tested: Subarus (Forester and Outback, 2020 models) and a Honda CR-V (2019 model only). Frankly I liked all of them and would have been willing to buy any of the 4 at the right price. Each had minor things I liked more or less. I probably liked Forester best, wife liked RAV4 best. But really, it barely mattered. All were nice. After 2 weeks of final price negotiations, we just happened to get a RAV4 price that closed the deal for us. Wife would definitely do it again and would probably now only opt for the RAV4.

I found all these compact SUV's to have a bit of engine noise, but nothing too bad, and they were all pretty similar in the big overall picture. We appreciate the AWD and have it on both vehicles. It had been a while since we car shopped, but we really grew to like the technology on all of these models within hours. But the more I drive the RAV4, the more I like it. Unobtrusive, but nice to have - collision avoidance, lane departure warnings, blind-spot monitors, push-button start, sign recognition, infotainment connectivity. I even grew to like the auto engine stop/start about 80% of the time, so far.

So do the test drive. You will likely know very fast which model works for you.
Copper John
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by Copper John »

If you live at altitude or frequently drive above 7,000 ft, I have found in my experience a 4 cylinder small SUV feels extremely under powered. I am not talking about blasting off from stop lights, but needing quick acceleration to pass or merge which is a safety issue. My 4 cylinder SUV non-turbo was fine in Massachusetts and very under powered in many parts of Colorado.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by adamthesmythe »

Copper John wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:39 pm If you live at altitude or frequently drive above 7,000 ft, I have found in my experience a 4 cylinder small SUV feels extremely under powered. I am not talking about blasting off from stop lights, but needing quick acceleration to pass or merge which is a safety issue. My 4 cylinder SUV non-turbo was fine in Massachusetts and very under powered in many parts of Colorado.
I regularly drive my 4 cyl from Flagstaff on up. Never felt the need for more power, but then I don't drive like Jeremy "power! power!" Clarkson. But then we don't have a lot of traffic and somehow even large trucks with no acceleration somehow manage to merge safely.

I'd rather have the better gas mileage and lower price.
Topic Author
maple92
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by maple92 »

Continue to appreciate all the feedback -- as far as altitude, not a concern --- I am in the Philadelphia PA area
fundseeker
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by fundseeker »

I posted this for another person but you may not have seen it:

I highly recommend renting a Highlander from a Toyota dealer over night, which gives you quality time with it versus a short drive accompanied by a pushy salesperson. You'll find out whether it fits in your garage, etc. Their service departments handle the rentals, and it's a great benefit, before you buy. It was the best $60 we ever spent, because it convinced us that the Highlander was not for us. I'm sure they are awesome, but it just wasn't for us. The point is that for such a huge purchase, people should rent one first if they can.

I really wanted a Highlander (HL) because of their looks even though we'd always had Hondas, but we ended up with a Pilot. So before you write off an entire brand because they had an issue with one early production model (that is probably too small for you anyway), here are some reasons:

1. The Pilot EX-L comes with the memory seat for two drivers. With the HL, you had to buy a Limited. It was not available on the 2019 XLE, but maybe that changed for 2020.

2. The EX-L thankfully came WITHOUT the engine shut off, which means that every time we stop, our engine doesn't die and have to restart. We couldn't stand that. You can turn off that so called feature on cars that have it (like the HL and upscale Pilots), but you have to turn it off every time you drive! Levels above the Pilot EX-L force that on you too, so its not just an HL thing.

3. The EX-L comes with a six speed, not the very indecisive eight or ten speed being forced on buyers. You may hate the way they shift too, so having a spend the night party with an HL may really pay off.

4. The EX-L comes with a gear shift, not push buttons. Maybe I could adjust to that, but I like the gear shifter.

Good luck with it. Seems like they should should be wanting to move them, though their plants have been shut down for weeks.
Wenonah
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by Wenonah »

I had a Highlander for a couple years and it was hard to park--like driving a truck-- and I hated the dashboard. Bought a Subaru Forester.
kiwi123
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by kiwi123 »

Unless you sit in it, and take it for a drive, you won't know if you'll fit. Also, the legroom stats that are published online do not give you enough info to make a decision without sitting in it. And also pay attention to where your knees rest (some cars have my right knee pressed against a hard plastic corner which would be unpleasant after 15 minutes).

As a fellow tall person (6'4") with long legs, i personally like a seat with more thigh support, plus a higher seating position, and of course more leg room than normal. Similar to you, current drive is a sedan (with a good seat length) but as i've got older i have more aches and pains due to the lower seating position. I will be switching to a more SUV-like seat. I suspect the Highlander will be a better option is you're doing longer drives but it is a significantly bigger and more expensive car than the RAV4. I'm going to check out the new Subaru Outback (in addition to the Rav and Highlander). The Outback should have a better seating postion (and comes with a thigh-extender in most or all trims i think).

Good thing for you is both the RAV and the Highlander will be at the same dealership to try out. Also make sure to check the seats don't change between different trims/option packages. For example, sometimes there is an upgraded or better seat in higher trim levels.
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stickman731
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by stickman731 »

I am 6'6" and actually test drove both vehicles. Both were acceptable from head room and comfort but I found the RAV4 to have more road noise.

I however did not choose either but went with a Ford Edge AWD due to my pass success with the vehicle. I just like how it hugged the road and the acceleration.
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StevieG72
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by StevieG72 »

Rav4 is too small IMO, safety should be a consideration as well. The Highlander would fair better in an accident.

Gas is cheap right now, of course that will likely change at some point.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
bloom2708
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by bloom2708 »

It is like comparing and apple and a grapefruit.

2 SUVs in completely different size/class/use categories.

Now, if you comparing a Rav4 to an Escape or a Highlander to an Explorer..

Do you want bigger (3 row) vs smaller?
Last edited by bloom2708 on Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Laker1
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by Laker1 »

As some one that repairs cars I would buy a Highlander Hybrid and drive it for 10-15 years and have the best bang for buck. I too am soured on Honda as my wife got caught up in the CRV oil issues but they did buy hers back at full price and sell her a Pilot at 20% off sticker so she came out fairly ok...A Highlander is about as solid of a car over all as you will find...have 3 daughers in Highlanders and they love em. I love em too cause other than an oil change Daddy doesnt have to do much on them. Everything is super servicable on a Toyota...Ravs are a good car but they are not even in the same ballpark to me as the Highlander...all the best!!
stoptothink
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by stoptothink »

StevieG72 wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:48 am Rav4 is too small IMO, safety should be a consideration as well. The Highlander would fair better in an accident.

Gas is cheap right now, of course that will likely change at some point.
Why not a tank, or at least an H1?
Laker1
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by Laker1 »

Parts are hard to find on the H1...just a thought.
Flora
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by Flora »

Watch out for the possible gas tank fill issue with 2019 and 2020 Hybrid RAV4 vehicles (unable to fill completely).
Topic Author
maple92
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by maple92 »

bloom2708 wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:02 am It is like comparing and apple and an grapefruit.

2 SUVs in completely different size/class/use categories.

Now, if you comparing a Rav4 to an Escape or a Highlander to an Explorer..

Do you want bigger (3 row) vs smaller?
Agree 2 different vehicles in those areas - I think one of the main things in trying to solicit feedback are thoughts on each with respect to drivers side headroom, ride ( does anyone feel like they got less car if you elected for the fro to wheel drive vs awd) and sitting higher for these 2 specific suvs.

Thanks for everyone’s continued thoughts!!
OldBallCoach
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by OldBallCoach »

fundseeker wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:22 pm I posted this for another person but you may not have seen it:

I highly recommend renting a Highlander from a Toyota dealer over night, which gives you quality time with it versus a short drive accompanied by a pushy salesperson. You'll find out whether it fits in your garage, etc. Their service departments handle the rentals, and it's a great benefit, before you buy. It was the best $60 we ever spent, because it convinced us that the Highlander was not for us. I'm sure they are awesome, but it just wasn't for us. The point is that for such a huge purchase, people should rent one first if they can.

I really wanted a Highlander (HL) because of their looks even though we'd always had Hondas, but we ended up with a Pilot. So before you write off an entire brand because they had an issue with one early production model (that is probably too small for you anyway), here are some reasons:

1. The Pilot EX-L comes with the memory seat for two drivers. With the HL, you had to buy a Limited. It was not available on the 2019 XLE, but maybe that changed for 2020.

2. The EX-L thankfully came WITHOUT the engine shut off, which means that every time we stop, our engine doesn't die and have to restart. We couldn't stand that. You can turn off that so called feature on cars that have it (like the HL and upscale Pilots), but you have to turn it off every time you drive! Levels above the Pilot EX-L force that on you too, so its not just an HL thing.

3. The EX-L comes with a six speed, not the very indecisive eight or ten speed being forced on buyers. You may hate the way they shift too, so having a spend the night party with an HL may really pay off.

4. The EX-L comes with a gear shift, not push buttons. Maybe I could adjust to that, but I like the gear shifter.

Good luck with it. Seems like they should should be wanting to move them, though their plants have been shut down for weeks.
One issue my DW has with her 2019 Pilot is that the rear tailgate is not adjustable for using in the garage...has to open outside...Honda told her it was only the Touring model...seems kinda like a bad thing to leave off...
OldBallCoach
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by OldBallCoach »

OldBallCoach wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:54 am
fundseeker wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:22 pm I posted this for another person but you may not have seen it:

I highly recommend renting a Highlander from a Toyota dealer over night, which gives you quality time with it versus a short drive accompanied by a pushy salesperson. You'll find out whether it fits in your garage, etc. Their service departments handle the rentals, and it's a great benefit, before you buy. It was the best $60 we ever spent, because it convinced us that the Highlander was not for us. I'm sure they are awesome, but it just wasn't for us. The point is that for such a huge purchase, people should rent one first if they can.

I really wanted a Highlander (HL) because of their looks even though we'd always had Hondas, but we ended up with a Pilot. So before you write off an entire brand because they had an issue with one early production model (that is probably too small for you anyway), here are some reasons:

1. The Pilot EX-L comes with the memory seat for two drivers. With the HL, you had to buy a Limited. It was not available on the 2019 XLE, but maybe that changed for 2020.

2. The EX-L thankfully came WITHOUT the engine shut off, which means that every time we stop, our engine doesn't die and have to restart. We couldn't stand that. You can turn off that so called feature on cars that have it (like the HL and upscale Pilots), but you have to turn it off every time you drive! Levels above the Pilot EX-L force that on you too, so its not just an HL thing.

3. The EX-L comes with a six speed, not the very indecisive eight or ten speed being forced on buyers. You may hate the way they shift too, so having a spend the night party with an HL may really pay off.

4. The EX-L comes with a gear shift, not push buttons. Maybe I could adjust to that, but I like the gear shifter.

Good luck with it. Seems like they should should be wanting to move them, though their plants have been shut down for weeks.
One issue my DD has with her 2019 Pilot is that the rear tailgate is not adjustable for using in the garage...has to open outside...Honda told her it was only the Touring model...seems kinda like a bad thing to leave off...
Laker1
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by Laker1 »

OldBallCoach wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:14 am
OldBallCoach wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:54 am
fundseeker wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:22 pm I posted this for another person but you may not have seen it:

I highly recommend renting a Highlander from a Toyota dealer over night, which gives you quality time with it versus a short drive accompanied by a pushy salesperson. You'll find out whether it fits in your garage, etc. Their service departments handle the rentals, and it's a great benefit, before you buy. It was the best $60 we ever spent, because it convinced us that the Highlander was not for us. I'm sure they are awesome, but it just wasn't for us. The point is that for such a huge purchase, people should rent one first if they can.

I really wanted a Highlander (HL) because of their looks even though we'd always had Hondas, but we ended up with a Pilot. So before you write off an entire brand because they had an issue with one early production model (that is probably too small for you anyway), here are some reasons:

1. The Pilot EX-L comes with the memory seat for two drivers. With the HL, you had to buy a Limited. It was not available on the 2019 XLE, but maybe that changed for 2020.

2. The EX-L thankfully came WITHOUT the engine shut off, which means that every time we stop, our engine doesn't die and have to restart. We couldn't stand that. You can turn off that so called feature on cars that have it (like the HL and upscale Pilots), but you have to turn it off every time you drive! Levels above the Pilot EX-L force that on you too, so its not just an HL thing.

3. The EX-L comes with a six speed, not the very indecisive eight or ten speed being forced on buyers. You may hate the way they shift too, so having a spend the night party with an HL may really pay off.

4. The EX-L comes with a gear shift, not push buttons. Maybe I could adjust to that, but I like the gear shifter.

Good luck with it. Seems like they should should be wanting to move them, though their plants have been shut down for weeks.
One issue my DD has with her 2019 Pilot is that the rear tailgate is not adjustable for using in the garage...has to open outside...Honda told her it was only the Touring model...seems kinda like a bad thing to leave off...
You might want to have your DD ask at the dealership...my wife has a 2019 and the tailgate is adjustable..you set the heights with the button on the tailgate I thought...
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Voltaire2.0
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by Voltaire2.0 »

Can only speak directly about a RAV4. We have a 2018 model. Great vehicle. I'm 6'4" and easily fit in the drivers seat. Great driving vehicle.

Obviously the Highlander is larger, so if you need the hauling capacity it is superior the the RAV4, although the RAV is pretty roomy for a smaller SUV.
cheapskate
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by cheapskate »

The RAV4 is one of the nicest vehicles available, from a value point of view. The feature bundling you get in the base LE model makes the RAV4 very compelling. I may be biased because we got our (second) RAV4 LE super cheap (new under 21K) a couple of years ago. The complaints I have heard about the RAV4 is the road noise and the under-poweredness, but neither has bothered us in the least. As for headroom and leg room, I am over 6' and feel the RAV4 is very comfortable. My wife is 5'2" and she absolutely loves the RAV4 (she will never own any other vehicle). We have owned various Hondas, Toyotas, Subaru Outback, Mazdas over the years, and I like the RAV4 the most.

I have not driven a Highlander, or even considered it, because we have no use for the extra room the Highlander would give us.
02nz
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by 02nz »

bob60014 wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:29 pm They both are about the same height for 2020, and surprisingly the Rav 4 is a fraction higher. Go figure! Best to sit in each of them and play with the seat height adjusters. The sunroof will impact the headroom clearance. Also, V6s are no longer available for Rav4s.
+1. Make sure you sit in one equipped like you plan to buy, whether with or without sunroof. And different trim levels may have different kinds of seat adjustment, so watch out there too, as the seat height adjustment will also influence how much headroom you have.

And the post elsewhere in this thread about size/safety is totally misinformed. IIHS gives both models the highest ratings, and the detailed technical measurements actually show the RAV4 doing slightly better in their most rigorous crash tests.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by SmileyFace »

The new (as of 2019) RAV4 design feels much larger than old models.
We went Rav4 over Highlander for the following reasons:
1) Gas Mileage
2) Rav4 is big enough for our needs
3) No need for 3rd row - seems like wasted space/weight

I personally like the look of Rav4 now - almost Jeep-like.
sergio
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by sergio »

Bought a 2019 highlander at the end of 2019 - it was an extra $2,000 to go from a 2020 AWD LE RAV4 to a new AWD LE 2019 Highlander, as the 2019s were being firesaled... I don't think I would pay $6-8000 more, however.
caffeperfavore
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by caffeperfavore »

stoptothink wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:12 am
StevieG72 wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:48 am Rav4 is too small IMO, safety should be a consideration as well. The Highlander would fair better in an accident.

Gas is cheap right now, of course that will likely change at some point.
Why not a tank, or at least an H1?
Indeed.

You could probably say that the RAV4, being smaller, will have better emergency handling and braking distances than a Highlander, helping you to avoid an accident. (I haven't looked at the numbers for these particular cars, but usually smaller vehicles do better with emergency handling.)

Back to the OP though, I would only buy the Highlander if I really needed the third row.
emoore
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by emoore »

I have a 2015 Highlander. It's a nice car but the mileage is terrible. If I didn't need a 3rd row and I was deciding between the 2 I would choose the Rav4 since they just updated it. I would actually wait for the Rav4 Prime. Plug in hybrid with 39 miles of all electric range and 300 hp. Much better mileage than the Highlander and much quicker.
bloom2708
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Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by bloom2708 »

maple92 wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:24 am Agree 2 different vehicles in those areas - I think one of the main things in trying to solicit feedback are thoughts on each with respect to drivers side headroom, ride ( does anyone feel like they got less car if you elected for the fro to wheel drive vs awd) and sitting higher for these 2 specific suvs.

Thanks for everyone’s continued thoughts!!
If you value ride quality, the longer wheel base/heavier vehicle will win. I'd go with the Highlander if ride is high on your list. You likely can get a 2 row model if you have no need for the 3rd row seats.

If I had to drive a lot (long distance) I'd likely own a full sized Suburban. Those are built for long/comfortable drives. I have a Ford Flex. Long wheel base and lower center of gravity. A pretty nice smooth ride, but no Suburban or Yukon XL or Sequoia
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
adamthesmythe
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by adamthesmythe »

02nz wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:44 am And the post elsewhere in this thread about size/safety is totally misinformed. IIHS gives both models the highest ratings, and the detailed technical measurements actually show the RAV4 doing slightly better in their most rigorous crash tests.
/sarcasm No, everybody knows bigger is better and more is just, well, more. /sarcasm off
DaftInvestor wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:48 am I personally like the look of Rav4 now - almost Jeep-like.
Uh oh, now we get into a debate about real vs. fake skid plates.
azanon
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by azanon »

I think Toyota hasn't gotten a little too proud of these two SUVs (meaning the price has really creeped up and just under Lexus). If it were me, I'd be deciding between the Lexus NX or RX 350 and pay that little bit extra for the upgrade.
02nz
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by 02nz »

azanon wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:43 pm I think Toyota hasn't gotten a little too proud of these two SUVs (meaning the price has really creeped up and just under Lexus). If it were me, I'd be deciding between the Lexus NX or RX 350 and pay that little bit extra for the upgrade.
The Lexus models are around $10K over the Toyotas. The NX and RX, BTW, are still based on the last-gen platform, whereas the RAV4 and Highlander are based on the (much better) Toyota New Global Architecture.
azanon
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by azanon »

02nz wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:11 pm
azanon wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:43 pm I think Toyota hasn't gotten a little too proud of these two SUVs (meaning the price has really creeped up and just under Lexus). If it were me, I'd be deciding between the Lexus NX or RX 350 and pay that little bit extra for the upgrade.
The Lexus models are around $10K over the Toyotas. The NX and RX, BTW, are still based on the last-gen platform, whereas the RAV4 and Highlander are based on the (much better) Toyota New Global Architecture.
When you're talking about models that go for close to 40K to begin with (loaded RAV4, Loaded higherlander even more), you're giving an actual figure that clarifies my point, if anything. Just 10K more and you're driving a Lexus.

Definitely your opinion on that second point, that Consumer Reports doesn't share. The NX is rock solid reliability, and the RX 350 is legendary. New architecture/new technology is a nice way of saying unproven architecture/technology. I might be able to safely generalize that Bogleheads aren't typically fond of being proverbial beta testers. The new RAV4 is getting ho-hum ratings/reviews. And so is the new Highlander, as I understand it.
02nz
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by 02nz »

azanon wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:18 pm New architecture/new technology is a nice way of saying unproven architecture/technology. I might be able to safely generalize that Bogleheads aren't typically fond of being proverbial beta testers.
Hardly. Toyota began rolling out TNGA about 5 years ago - it's on the Prius, Camry, Corolla, Avalon, C-HR, Lexus ES, and probably some other models I'm forgetting.
dpc
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by dpc »

FWIW, I believe that the hybrid version of the RAV4 has better acceleration that the standard version. Both have the same engine. If you want a V6 or need towing capacity, then Highlander makes sense. But gas mileage is quite a bit better in the RAV4.
"Worrying is like paying interest on a debt that you might never owe" -- Will Rogers
JLJL
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by JLJL »

I own a 2017 Highlander (I think limited, has leather and lane departure, blind spot monitoring, and 2-way driver seat memory etc). I also recently owned a Mazda CX-5 which is the smaller class SUV.

I can't speak for the value (utility/benefit vs cost to own) of the larger SUV. All I can say is I feel the highlander is nearly a perfect vehicle. I absolutely love it. The feel behind the wheel, the optics of the "cockpit", the functionality of the controls, the features, and the size. I'm generally a smaller vehicle person but I've really converted. Interestingly I've had 2 people aside from my wife drive it and both times they went out of their way to tell me how comfortable they immediately felt behind the wheel and how much they liked it.

One of the best features is the back-up camera alignment system. Tough to describe but I do a lot of reverse parking and the visual guidance is crisp and helpful. It also has the cross-traffic and obstruction alerts.

This is probably the least technical review in the history of car reviews, and certainly a lot of the things I described for the highlander will apply to the RAV4. But I couldn't be happier with the whole package.

Is there anything I don't like? yes a couple things are minor annoyances. First, the cruise control has to be turned on every time. So it's a couple buttons to engage. Also the default is radar cruise which I like, but the radar cruise default is the furthest distance, and I prefer the closest distance. So, to get the cruise how I want it I have to push the on button, pull the lever to set, then push the distance control button 2 times. 4 things to do. I wish it would default on and default on the same distance setting as previous and just be a single "set" action. Still a minor inconvenience.

The other is the auto-shutoff someone else mentioned. Not sure I can disable that indefinitely, just have to do it each trip if it engages. I turn it off probably 1/3 of the trips.

Getting way in the weeds, the low tire pressure signal on the dash doesn't tell you which tire(s). Seems that would be easy and other cars have it.

I can't think of anything else that even slightly bothers me. Really well engineered and awesome quality.
Topic Author
maple92
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by maple92 »

azanon wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:18 pm
02nz wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:11 pm
azanon wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:43 pm I think Toyota hasn't gotten a little too proud of these two SUVs (meaning the price has really creeped up and just under Lexus). If it were me, I'd be deciding between the Lexus NX or RX 350 and pay that little bit extra for the upgrade.
The Lexus models are around $10K over the Toyotas. The NX and RX, BTW, are still based on the last-gen platform, whereas the RAV4 and Highlander are based on the (much better) Toyota New Global Architecture.
When you're talking about models that go for close to 40K to begin with (loaded RAV4, Loaded higherlander even more), you're giving an actual figure that clarifies my point, if anything. Just 10K more and you're driving a Lexus.

Definitely your opinion on that second point, that Consumer Reports doesn't share. The NX is rock solid reliability, and the RX 350 is legendary. New architecture/new technology is a nice way of saying unproven architecture/technology. I might be able to safely generalize that Bogleheads aren't typically fond of being proverbial beta testers. The new RAV4 is getting ho-hum ratings/reviews. And so is the new Highlander, as I understand it.
Appreciate all the info ------- my situation is that I am definitely not looking at the 40k range --- frankly, if the Highlander the direction was looking at the Hertz sales as a way to be able to go that direction (they used to have a decent inventorpre COVID but I think they may have all been AWD and currently little to no inventory) --- but that brings up my point that seems almost everything on used for sale seems to be the AWD versus the FWD and my curiosity for those with experience what am I giving up with a FWD version if driving in snow is not an issue. Seems like what I am reading is that the AWD is more expensive to maintain and some say it is a better ride but interested in opinions in those w the FWD versions of each (assuming better mpg with the fwd?)

So my considerations of diver side headroom, sitting higher (versus my current Accord), and FWD are key for me at this time---- Looking at the RAV4 looks like that could be had in the XLE trim for around 30k or less while the Highlander for me would likely require that to be a used purchase. This forum is really great with each of your feedback -- invaluable --- thank you!
bfeenix44
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by bfeenix44 »

I drove the first Highlander for 11 years, and have had a RAV now for 6. My opinions, therefore, are on older versions.

If I recall, the main reasons I chose a HLander first was because I had 2 dogs and was doing a home remodel, and the cargo room of HLander was much larger than Rav at that time. I also thought the early HLander was being built in more of a sedan platform, and the Rav more like a truck. Not sure about this but the Highlander had a very smooth and quiet ride.

I like my Rav now as I've downsized my life, and the newer redesign at the time I purchased in 2013 serves me well. I will say that it's a bit rougher drive, maybe a bit more road noise. Zippier than HLander as it's smaller (I think I had V6 in both).

I think I'd take the previous posted advice and rent them both for a day.
Last edited by bfeenix44 on Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
researcher
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by researcher »

maple92 wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:31 pm my situation is that I am definitely not looking at the 40k range --- frankly, if the Highlander the direction was looking at the Hertz sales as a way to be able to go that direction
my curiosity for those with experience what am I giving up with a FWD version if driving in snow is not an issue. Seems like what I am reading is that the AWD is more expensive to maintain and some say it is a better ride but interested in opinions in those w the FWD versions of each
So this decision is between a NEW Rav4 and an USED EX-RENTAL Highlander?
If so, then you should absolutely go with the new Rav4. No way would I pick a former rental over a new vehicle.

Regarding FWD...in your situation, you will actually be gaining more features/benefits with FWD than you would with AWD.
Since you don't have to worry about snow/ice, and this 4 cylinder compact SUV will not be treated like a performance car or off-roader, then you should definitely go with FWD...
Benefits of FWD - $1500 less expensive, better fuel economy, lighter, lower maintenance & repair costs
Drawbacks - slightly slower 0-20 MPH acceleration on wet roads (when accelerating at full throttle)
Last edited by researcher on Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
Carl53
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by Carl53 »

Sorry not on Highlander but interesting traction slip test on RAV4 and CRV. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N6T1oF2Ee4

I did not see any RAV4/Highlander comparisons but here is a new one between Telluride and Highlander. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ0CWN8tDC0 My take on this video is that if you need to use a 3rd row seat go with the Telluride, but the Highlander has better mpg.
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StormShadow
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by StormShadow »

emoore wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:40 am I have a 2015 Highlander. It's a nice car but the mileage is terrible. If I didn't need a 3rd row and I was deciding between the 2 I would choose the Rav4 since they just updated it. I would actually wait for the Rav4 Prime. Plug in hybrid with 39 miles of all electric range and 300 hp. Much better mileage than the Highlander and much quicker.
+1000

I just now read about this car. 0-60 in 5.8 seconds and 39 miles of electric only driving. Thats awesome!
02nz
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Re: Highlander or RAV4

Post by 02nz »

bfeenix44 wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:04 pm I like my Rav now as I've downsized my life, and the newer redesign at the time I purchased in 2013 serves me well. I will say that it's a bit rougher drive, maybe a bit more road noise. Zippier than HLander as it's smaller (I think I had V6 in both).
The RAV4 has not been offered with a V6 since the 2013 redesign (and not in the current-gen either).
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