Toyota RAV4 vs Honda CR-V Hybrid Surprise: We Drive Both Up a Mountain To See Which Gets Better MPG!

Both achieve nearly 40 mpg combined according to the EPA — but which is more efficient in the real world?

For years, Toyota was really the only player in the hybrid crossover market, with the last-generation RAV4 gaining an electrified model that went on sale in the U.S. in 2013. As automakers inch ever closer toward full electrification, the game has changed however, and the latest RAV4 Hybrid now faces stiffer competition. Ford returned to the hybrid crossover market with a new Escape Hybrid, and now Honda has joined the fight as well with its CR-V Hybrid. Among the two Japanese crossovers, though, which one is more efficient in the real world?

The Toyota RAV4 was recently updated with more aggressive styling, as well as a more efficient powertrain.

In this video, that’s what Roman and Tommy set out to determine. We bill our “Loveland Trials” as the world’s toughest EV test, but here the goal is to see just how efficient modern hybrids can be in mountain driving conditions.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vs. Honda CR-V Hybrid by the numbers

Starting off, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 is both more efficient and more powerful on paper than its competitor. The latest model achieves up to 41 City / 38 Highway / 40 Combined mpg according to EPA figures. It mates a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine to a rear-mounted electric motor, for a combined output of 219 horsepower. If you’re looking at a hybrid for longer road trips, the RAV4 Hybrid also has a slightly larger 14.5 gallon fuel tank than the CR-V Hybrid.

However, get into the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid and you’re greeted by an all-around more “normal” driving experience. Both these crossovers are all-wheel drive, but the CR-V uses the conventional setup from its gasoline powered cousin. Toyota went another route, forgoing a conventional setup for a layout where the rear axle is powered exclusively by the electric motor, while the gasoline engine powers the front wheels. The EPA rates the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid at 40 City / 35 Highway / 38 Combined mpg. Power is also slightly lower at 212 combined horsepower, and the CR-V Hybrid has a 14.0 gallon fuel tank.

Apart from the hybrid badging, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid looks perfectly normal from the outside.

In EPA fuel economy tests, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid should get up to 580 miles on a tank of fuel. For its part, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid should manage around 532 miles. Of course, your actual range will vary depending on your driving conditions, and our test is meant to simulate a more challenging scenario that will see just how much each car can lean on its electric drivetrain to avoid chewing through fuel. See how each one performs in the video above, and stay tuned to for more Loveland Trials reviews!