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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I are in the process of replacing both of our vehicles and we have been looking at the CR-V, RAV4, and the Tucson so I thought it might be helpful to write down my thoughts about each one and maybe it will also help someone else.

I like the CR-V and Tucson and she likes the RAV4 and Tucson, but she doesn't want us both to have the same car so it's been kinda fun!

I am currently driving an '05 CR-V and she is currently driving an '02 Nissan Xterra so no matter which we choose it will be a big step up for both of us.

For this comparison I drove the Mid level trim for each model (so 2015 CR-V EX, 2015 RAV4 XLE, and 2016 Tucson Sport)

Brand/Quality - Winner: Toyota
  • This one is really important to both of us. Since we tend to keep our cars a long time, we want them to be reliable and not rack up a lot of repairs.
  • I want to love the Hyundai brand, but I'm just not sure about it. Maybe there are plenty of Hyundai's that go 200k miles with little to no issues, but I just haven't heard people talking about it like they do Honda and Toyota.
  • The Hyundai has a longer warranty, but I have heard that the dealer's standard response is to deny warranty claims unless you can prove that all scheduled maintenance has been performed.
  • I think Toyota used to have a slight advantage here (at least in perceived quality), but now I would say that Honda and Toyota are pretty equal
  • I gave this one to Toyota simply because of the vibration issues that the Honda's are currently experiencing. Hopefully Honda will come up with a fix soon and this will no longer be an issue.
Resale Value - Winner: Honda
  • Hondas and Toyotas both do a great job of holding their value, but in this case the CR-V does a little better than the RAV4 (historically)
  • RAV4's tend to take a pretty big hit that first year (when compared to the CR-V), but then it levels out and they stay pretty close and at the end of five years RAV4's are typically worth about $500 less than the CR-V
  • The Tucson does pretty good job of holding its value as well, just not as good as the Honda or Toyota. I expect the new ones to do a little better since the redesign makes it much more desirable in general, but since this is the first model year for the redesign that remains to be seen.
Exterior Appearance - Winner: Hyundai
  • My wife and I definitely agree on this one. We both like the Hyundai the best from the outside. Hyundai redesigned it from the ground up for 2016 and it looks great! The aggressive front end says "I'm ready to hit the road" and the back end reminds my wife of a BMW.
  • Beyond that she likes the RAV4 better and I like the CR-V better.
Interior - Winner: Honda
  • This was the hardest comparison for me because there are things that I like and dislike in all three and I don't feel like there was a clear winner
  • On the CR-V I was disappointed with how some of the materials looked and felt cheap and I also noticed that some of the cubby holes for storing stuff that make the CR-V so awesome were missing, but at the same time I felt it had the most comfortable seats.
  • On the RAV4 I hated the faux carbon fiber that looked like it would scratch too easily. I also hated the weird arrangement of the cup holders and how the flat area for your phone is in an inconvenient place under the dash. The RAV4 though seemed to have the best "fit and finish". All of the doors and body panels just felt tight the way a new car should.
  • I was also disappointed to see several CR-V's and RAV4's with scratches or scuffs on their inside door panels... and these were all vehicles with less than 25 miles on them.
  • The Tucson also had good fit and finish and you could tell that they had added a significant amount of sound dampening materials to the cabin. This resulted in a feeling that it was more upscale. My one gripe about the Hyundai's interior is the seats. The cloth material was scratchy and they just didn't feel as comfortable as the Honda.
  • I gave this one to Honda because comfortable seats are important on those long commutes.
Ride Quality - Winner: Honda
  • The CR-V had the softest ride hands down.
  • The Tucson was a close second, but I think the 19" tires made the ride a little too bouncy
  • The RAV4 suspension felt a little too stiff for my tastes and I felt too much of the road (note: a RAV4 owner told me that it could have been due to improper tire pressure... apparently a common problem at Toyota dealerships)
Cabin Noise - Winner: Tie (Honda and Hyundai)
  • The CR-V and Tucson both did a great job of keeping road noise to a minimum.
  • The RAV4 could have used some additional sound dampening materials
Steering - Winner: Hyundai
  • The CR-V's steering felt fine, but it was a bit vague overall and I would have liked to have seen a way to change the steering dynamics either through the drive mode or with a setting.
  • The RAV4's steering was much more responsive and predictable, but I honestly didn't see much difference between Eco, Normal, and Sport modes.
  • The Tucson did a much better job of adjusting steering dynamics based on driving mode. The steering felt much tighter and more responsive when the Sport driving mode was engaged.
Performance - Winner: Hyundai
  • The CR-V was pretty quick for an SUV, but only if you really pushed down hard on the accelerator pedal and I did notice the CVT shuddering once, but then the next time it was fine.
  • The RAV's performance was a little better, but still pretty lack luster
  • The 1.6L turbo in the Tucson is amazing! It's mated with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and although there is a slight turbo lag when flooring it from a dead stop, once it gets going it has power in spades!
  • I kept thinking how the Tucson reminded me of the Mazda CX-5 because of the fun-to-drive factor.
Audio System - Winner: Honda
  • This category is a biggie for me
  • The CR-V comes with a 7-inch touchscreen that is fine. Most controls work the way you would expect, but it feels dated and a little clunky. I do like the iMid so that I can have the audio information on one screen and navigation on another. Plus it is covered so there is no possibility of glare.
  • The RAV4 has some nice features, but I found the interface hard to navigate and I had trouble seeing it due to glare from the sun. I connected my phone via bt and started playing some music. I tried to browse my playlists, artists, etc, but the "browse" button had completely disappeared. I had to disconnect my phone and reconnect it to get it to show up. FAIL!
  • The Tucson has a touch screen that is fine and it's intuitive enough, but it also feels dated and is way to small (only 5 inches). A beautiful 8-inch screen with an equally beautiful and modern interface is available, but you have to buy the upper trim level to get it.
  • As for Apple CarPlay (something that is important to me), Toyota has announced that they have no intention of integrating it into their vehicles so that is a deal breaker for me. There is hope that the CR-V and Tucson may have it soon, but it is all speculation and rumors... nothing concrete :(
  • I gave this one to Honda because even though it isn't very good, it is still better than the other two. It isn't difficult to use, it has a decent size screen, and I feel it has the best chance of getting CarPlay since Honda was beta testing it.
Color Choices - Winner: Hyundai
  • Color choices are another important factor for me. I get so tired of the same old black, white, gray, and silver.
  • I also strongly prefer beige interior (which seems harder to find these days)
  • On the CR-V I like the Urban Titanium and the Mountain Air Metallic.
  • On the Rav4 I like the Pyrite Mica
  • On the Tucson I like the Mohave Sand and the Ruby Wine
  • I gave this one to Hyundai because their color choices are just outstanding
 

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Great recap! I'm looking forward to see what cars you choose.
 

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Brand/Quality
  • This one is really important to both of us. Since we tend to keep our cars a long time, we want them to be reliable and not rack up a lot of repairs.


  • Longer warranty doesn’t mean better, I’m still skeptical over Hyundais long term reliability.

    Can’t go wrong with Honda or Toyota, but I still think Honda wins that category too.
 

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Great write-up, sbarne3. I'd hire you any day to compare.

Have you been able to do any functional comparisons of the entertainment electronics? I see several posts here about problem/concerns with '15 CRV's.

You have no interest at all in CX5's or Escapes? Any concerns about CRV's vibration issue? Noticed it at all?

:)

Edit: Sorry. Re-read your initial post. You did talk about radios etc.
 

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I believe overall cost of ownership of Honda crv is most likely the lowest. Tuscon fuel consumption is not as good as CRV or Rav4 and after the first 6-7 years maintenance is a bit higher than Hondas.
Personally I don't like look and design of most Toyotas but that is just me :). I feel Hondas are more nicely done, the CRV is an all round winner, space, cargo, fuel economy, reliability, low cost of ownership and well done interiors.
For families I just cant see any other SUV in this segment that has so much space in the rear seats and cargo area.
FYI - the factory brakes on my 07 CRV lasted 125k kms !!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I believe overall cost of ownership of Honda crv is most likely the lowest. Tuscon fuel consumption is not as good as CRV or Rav4 and after the first 6-7 years maintenance is a bit higher than Hondas.
Personally I don't like look and design of most Toyotas but that is just me :). I feel Hondas are more nicely done, the CRV is an all round winner, space, cargo, fuel economy, reliability, low cost of ownership and well done interiors.
For families I just cant see any other SUV in this segment that has so much space in the rear seats and cargo area.
FYI - the factory brakes on my 07 CRV lasted 125k kms !!
I agree with you, but you didn't mention the vibration issue which may or may not be a big deal depending on who you ask. Also I feel like Toyota and Honda aren't trying as hard as they used to and are just skating by on their past reputation. If you look at studies such as the J.D. Power Initial Quality study, Toyota and Honda have moved down quite a bit on that list and the Korean brands have moved up. All of this has me wondering if Toyota and Honda are still the safe bet that they used to be.

Here's a link to the J.D. Power study
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Great write-up, sbarne3. I'd hire you any day to compare.

Have you been able to do any functional comparisons of the entertainment electronics? I see several posts here about problem/concerns with '15 CRV's.
Edit: Sorry. Re-read your initial post. You did talk about radios etc.
Yeah, I did compare them a little, but I am planning to spend more time on them on my next round of test drives so if you have any specific questions I would be glad to check them out for you.

This last round was focused more on the vehicle itself. I only got to spend about 5 minutes on each radio during the time when my wife was driving before we switched positions. I was distracted during those times though because I was trying to help her think about things like seat comfort, steering feel, acceleration, etc. As a result, I only got a vague impression of the usability of each one. Since the infotainment system will be a huge factor in my decision making process, I plan to revisit each one and spend some real time playing with each function.

You mentioned that there are "several posts here about problems/concerns". Maybe I have missed those. What problems have you seen?

You have no interest at all in CX5's or Escapes?
Nope... I still haven't reached the point where I trust American engineered vehicles again.

Any concerns about CRV's vibration issue? Noticed it at all?
I definitely have concerns, but as for feeling it myself. I was only able to reproduce the mode 1 if I turned everything off including the A/C (which I rarely do)
 

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I agree with you, but you didn't mention the vibration issue which may or may not be a big deal depending on who you ask. Also I feel like Toyota and Honda aren't trying as hard as they used to and are just skating by on their past reputation. If you look at studies such as the J.D. Power Initial Quality study, Toyota and Honda have moved down quite a bit on that list and the Korean brands have moved up. All of this has me wondering if Toyota and Honda are still the safe bet that they used to be.

Here's a link to the J.D. Power study
I forgot to mention, good write up :)

As for vibration is it really a big problem ? If so I doubt that crv would be sales leader month after month. I see a few people on here who keep ranting instead of moving on, some of them have even sold their crv and got other cars but still keep venting !
From what it is made to sound about the vibration issue on this forum, there would be thousands of people lining outside Honda dealerships, which I don't see happening. What i see is more CRVs being sold each month :)
 

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We were longtime Hyundai owners till our disastrous 2011 Sonata...
Hyundai had good long term reliability till their cars started getting more complicated. Our 1999 Accent was over 250,000 kms never opened the engine except for timing belt and water pump changes. Ran like a top when we gave it away never used oil, our 2007 Accent same, never a issue only kept it for 100,000 kms though.
They really really need to work on the steering and handing imo as well, the Sonata was atrocious in any wind even with alignment,yoko tires etc. Seems to be common especially in the Elantra.
A breakdown of what I can remember in warranty repairs for our Sonata, it was dealer serviced as it came with the service package for 4 years , 80,000 kms.
Dash gauges replaced because of blown pixels, tie rods replaced, srs computer replaced, rust on trunk repainted twice, leaking taillight replaced , both edge of the taillights where they come to a 'point' on rear fenders had to be filed down, was rubbing the paint off, master cylinder,booster,all pads and rotors replaced because the car would not release right front and rear brake .
All hardware for e brake : backing plates,cables, parking brake shoes replaced because of chronic seizing and not releasing spite being serviced and used everyday .
Strange deceleration rattle to the engine, and at 95,000 it started to flare and slip with a thud when cold from 2-3 shift.
My thermostat housing burst one winter night after just coming from dealer to replace thermostat because the car had no heat in city driving .
Probbly forgot somethings lol
IMO the vibration thing is over blown, i feel it at times but wouldn't stop from buying another touring.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I hope this great comparison review by sbarne3 does not end up in a bunch of brand hating anecdotes.
I've had nothing but positive feedback and people sharing their experiences so far... no brand wars. I also posted it on a RAV4 forum and a Tucson forum... same result there.
 

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I thought the CRV infotainment system looked great when I test drove it. As a CRV owner, I find it now very confusing! I don't have any comparisons between the other brands to say which is better though.

I find it interesting that you found the CRV seats comfortable (or better than the others). My CRV has leather and I find them uncomfortable - I just did an 8 hour trip on my CRV and immediately went out and bought a cushion. I would use it all the time but my head is hitting the ceiling. I can only compare it to the seats in my 2004 Camry and my Camry won big time. I have no clue if Toyota has kept up with great seats or not. Maybe the CRV has the best seats or maybe the non-leather ones are more comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I thought the CRV infotainment system looked great when I test drove it. As a CRV owner, I find it now very confusing! I don't have any comparisons between the other brands to say which is better though.
Yeah, I honestly wasn't happy with any that I tested (though I still want to go back and spend more time with each one)

I find it interesting that you found the CRV seats comfortable (or better than the others). My CRV has leather and I find them uncomfortable - I just did an 8 hour trip on my CRV and immediately went out and bought a cushion. I would use it all the time but my head is hitting the ceiling. I can only compare it to the seats in my 2004 Camry and my Camry won big time. I have no clue if Toyota has kept up with great seats or not. Maybe the CRV has the best seats or maybe the non-leather ones are more comfortable.
I drove the one with cloth seats so maybe they are built different?
 

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Yeah, I honestly wasn't happy with any that I tested (though I still want to go back and spend more time with each one)

I drove the one with cloth seats so maybe they are built different?
I think someone mentioned that the pad numbers for the leather and cloth are different (maybe that was the HR-v though...) which would indicate they are slightly different.

FWIW, I thought the HR-V cloth seats were slightly more comfortable out of the gate. I needed to play around with the CRV for a bit before I found a comfortable position. I like firmer seats though so neither were a problem.

I do agree that the most comfortable seats are going to be found on higher trim levels of Toyota and Lexus as a whole.
 

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Comparison between Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5

Comparison between Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5

I recently looked at small SUVs. I first read several ratings articles of ‘Top’ compact SUVs and used that to narrow down my choices, this narrowed it down to CR-V, CX-5 and Forrester. I had several criteria: I wanted good MPG as it was going to be my commuter, good cargo area as for work as a coworker and I travel once a month 500 miles to work on/use an optical system that takes up a 4 x 8’ optical table; we take a 3 foot high, 5 drawer toolbox, and several large boxes of detectors, electronic equipments, manuals, cables, bolt kits, etc. plus suitcases, or to hold my bike. Here are some of the things I found. These findings were mostly for top of the line trim levels as only those offered certain features. These are some of the differences I found.

mpg - This I compared AWD models and I have to give it to CR-V, though several people say they don’t get the estimated mpg that Honda lists, I didn't find such complaints about the CX-5, so actual might not be too different.

cargo area - Again I have to give this to CR-V, with the rear seats down the volume for CR-V was about 70 cu feet, where as the CX-5 was about 65 cu feet. Forrester was slightly less. The CR-V height (40” according to my measurements) was also greater.

lane keeping warning - This is where Honda is far above the competition. All three had what they called lane change warning that would give you an alert (beep and dashboard flashing icon). This happens if you begin to drift out of your lane. I found the beep not loud enough if your talking and didn’t notice the dashboard icon flash. However Honda goes one step further, in that it will actually steer your car back into its lane (aka lane keeping assist), if you have a firm grip on the wheel it will vibrate the steering wheel, which I did notice. This comes standard on the CR-V touring trim, but is an $6,000 option only on the CX-5 Grand Touring trim. Forester offers it on its next to top trim level.

wheels - disadvantage CX-5. To get the lane changing warning on the CX-5 you need to get the Grand Touring trim, which only comes with 19” wheels. I found the tire pickings for these 19” wheels pretty slim (on TireRack.com) and considerably more expensive compared to the 18” wheels on the CR-V Touring trim. The Forrester also had smaller wheels. Why do you need performance tires on a SUV?

headlights tracking - only on the CX-5, the headlights track your steering. Since part of my monthly travels involve driving 20 miles up and down a twisty mountain road at night I thought this actually might be very useful.

roof rails - These came standard on the CR-V touring, were optional on the CX-5 Grand Touring.

transmission - Big difference here. The CX-5 has a 6 speed automatic with a manual shift mode. The CR-V and Forrester have a continuously variable transmission (CVT). One thing I noticed is the CVT in the normal drive position gives you very little to no engine braking. I did read that down shifting to ‘S’ for sport mode increases the engine breaking and further down shifting to ‘L’ mode gave even more.

oil consumption- Honda did have some problems with the 2010 - 2011 CR-V and oil consumption and issued extended warrantees. That said, both Honda and Mazda say that burning up to one quart of oil / 1000 miles is normal, several other manufactures say that too. I think they are all in collusion with each other. Who here thinks this is normal? A consumer Guide survey said 98% of 2010 - 2014 car owners say no oil is needed between oil changes, now that is what I consider normal. This survey said the Forrester was one that used more oil.

towing - advantage? CX-5. The CX-5 states 2000 lbs, the CR-V says 1500 lbs. Still this is pretty minuscule, your not going to be hauling a small ski boat around either way.

insurance - I found the insurance cost to be greatest for the Forrester, least for the CR-V.

color - I really like the red on the CX-5, nothing close on the CR-V. The CX-5 also comes with a spoiler, this is a dealer option on the CR-V.
 

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Great write up.
Perhaps safety aspects, crashworthiness, and crash avoidance and mitigation, can be also considered, as generally, vehicles continue to get better, safety wise, over time.
 
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