A good compact crossover SUV is a remarkably multitalented vehicle. For a similar price to a mid-size sedan, it has tons of cargo space, a higher seating position, and at least a modicum of towing and off-road capability. What’s more, today’s crossovers can rival or even beat many sedans for on-road driving dynamics and fuel economy.
Two of the most popular compact crossovers are the 2021 Toyota RAV4 — America’s best-selling vehicle that’s not a big pickup truck — and the 2021 Ford Escape. They’re fundamentally similar: Both start at around $25,000, are about the same size, sip fuel (especially with their optional hybrid powertrains), and are pleasant to drive. But there are key differences as well, meaning each crossover might be ideal for a different type of customer. Read on to explore how the Escape and RAV4 stack up in different areas, and which one is our overall winner.