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A blue 2019 Ford Escape is parked outside a sweets shop downtown.

2019 Ford Escape vs. 2019 Toyota Rav4 Showdown

Sometimes in life, it’s time to buckle down and do the research. If the best product at the best value is a must, you have to tie on your big-boy shoes and dig deep into the dark abyss of the web, braving the pages and forms asking for name, phone number, email, address, and the promise of your first-born child. Well look no further my brave patron of the interweb, if a comparison of the top-selling compact SUV’s is what you seek, you have landed on the right page. Here you are looking for the 2019 Ford Escape vs 2019 Toyota RAV4.

These two juggernauts have been fighting it out in this segment since Slick Willie held office. That’s over 20 years of back and forth for best in class. For 2019, both Ford and Toyota have built strong value into this tough segment, which one holds its own best in this competitive class?

Head to Head

To start this little friendly competition brought forth in the most competitive class on the market, we will look into several of the categories that are of the highest importance to most customers. We plot the two hottest contenders head to head in a friendly competition.

Price

Price is clearly the first question into any buyers mind. In a class as competitive as this, pricing has to be set at a finely tuned amount for the customer to hold value against the manufactures profits. This segment is full of low-ballers and high-rollers, giving you either a vehicle that is too cheap or too expensive for its own good. Finding that middle ground is a task not easily achieved by manufacturers and dealers, and is often further offset by rebates and incentives. Overall in this battle, the Ford does take the crown, though in the top trim level, not by a wide margin. Both these vehicles are aggressively priced, and the best value will ultimately come down to the features available on each trim level.

To start, the base level 2019 Ford Escape S has a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) that starts at $24,105, which is nearly a dead ringer for the mean price of all compact SUV’s. But the real value of an Escape comes with the added options. The next two trim levels, the SE and the SEL start at $26,500 and $28,445 respectively. The top trimーthe one loaded with the optionsーis the Titanium, which starts at $32,620. Adding four-wheel drive is a $1,500 additional option to all the trim levels (not available on the S). Additional options and features are of course also available.

The RAV4 is similarly priced but, in traditional Toyota fashion, does come with a slight premium. The MSRP for the base level 2019 RAV4 LE starts at $25,500, followed by the XLE at $27,300 and the XLE Premium at $29,500. The next trim level, the Adventure, is a rugged, off-road version of the RAV4 with plastic cladding and a little “tougher” appearance that starts at $32,900. Last, and certainly not least, the Limited, is the top trim level and starts at $33,500. AWD is a $1,400 option and additional features are also available.

WINNER: Ford Escape

Interior and Features

Features are what make everything worth the while. Features are what takes the long, hard day at the office, on the job site, with the kids; and makes it worthwhile. When you hop into your vehicle and it has every single option that you could have dreamed of. Which compact SUV has the best interior in the 2019 Ford Escape vs 2019 Toyota RAV4?

The Ford Escape is well equipped and has a comfortable and inviting cabin. The interior feels relatively put together, with a well thought out layout. Most touched surfaces are solid enough at this price point; however, some of the plastics are a bit hard and cheap and the buttons and dial could have a more satisfying action. The higher trim 2019 Ford Escape uses the most updated version of Ford SYNC 3, which is a fantastic infotainment system. However, the basic SYNC system found in the lower trims leaves much to be desired. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both an integrated part of SYNC 3 as well as an optional 10-speaker Sony premium audio system. Heated seats are available, but unfortunately, ventilated seats are not an option. Overall, the interior is a very welcoming and attractive place to be and is well equipped; however, its age is starting to show itself.

The RAV4 is newly developed for the 2019 model year. Front to back, top to bottom, it’s a new car. This means the interior is completely redesigned, and it is very obviously a newer interior that utilizes updated manufacturing and design techniques. The RAV4 has a modern center stack that is well-designed and ergonomically viable. The components are well made and it is surprisingly feature-rich. The RAV4 comes standard with features that are only available on higher trim level Ford Escapes. These include Bluetooth, 7-inch touch screen, Siri Eyes Free, Wi-Fi hotspot, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. These are standard features. It also has additional features such as a larger 8-inch screen, HD radio, additional USB ports, and ventilated seats.

WINNER: Toyota RAV4

Interior Space

The entire reason to buy an SUV is for its interior space, the additional space and higher ride height make for a much more conveniently packaged vehicle. Between these two top-selling vehicles, the 2019 Ford Escape vs 2019 Toyota RAV4, which offers the best interior space?

The Ford Escape has seating for five, with two front and three in back. Front passengers have about 56 inches of shoulder room, 39.9 inches of headroom, and 43.1 inches of leg room. Rear passengers are offered 55.2 inches of shoulder room, 39 inches of headroom, and 37.3 inches of leg room. Even more important is cargo capacity. The Ford Escape has 34 cubic feet with the seats up, and with the second row folded down, 68 cubic feet. An impressive amount.

A woman is sitting in the back of her 2019 Ford escape with her dog, bag, and yoga mat. The Escape wins when comparing cargo space in the 2019 Ford Escape vs 2019 Toyota RAV4.

The RAV4 has a similarly impressive amount of interior space. Front passengers are graced with 57.8 inches of shoulder room, 37.7 inches of headroom, and 41 inches of leg room. Rear seats have a reasonable 37.7 inches of headroom, 56.4 inches of shoulder room, and 37.8 inches of leg room. Cargo space comes in at a moderate 37.5 cubic feet to the second row and 69.8 cubic inches with the seats folded.

WINNER: Ford Escape

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy has become one of the largest contests of the modern automotive era. Each mile per gallon is more difficult to achieve than the last, and consequently, more important. Average Americans drive 13,476 miles per year, so fuel economy plays a major role when making an automotive purchase. In the competition of the 2019 Ford Escape vs 2019 Toyota RAV4, fuel economy is a close call. The Ford Escape is capable of achieving an EPA estimated 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. The RAV4’s EPA estimation is 41 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.

WINNER: Toyota RAV4

Safety

Safety is the first consideration that should come to mind when comparing the 2019 Ford Escape vs 2019 Toyota RAV4, which is why, naturally, it is last on this list (the first and last thing you read are the ones that stick in your mind). What safety features are available on the 2019 Ford Escape and the 2019 Toyota RAV4?

The Ford Escape is available with a wide range of available safety features. It has a five-star safety rating from the NHSTA and the highest rating of “Good” from the IIHS. The only negative ratings were an “Acceptable” for the driver-side small overlap front crash test and a “Poor” in the passenger-side crash test. Standard safety features include review camera and Ford MyKey for monitored driving. Available safety features include blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning, rearview camera, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning and automatic braking, and rear-cross traffic alert. However, these features are an additional cost.

The 2019 RAV4 has not yet been tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS as of yet but comes with nearly every safety feature as standard. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is a standard feature and is a full array of both semi-autonomous driving and active safety features. These include lane departure warning and assist, road sign assist, pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, rear camera, and automatic high beams. These are all standard features available on even the base model RAV4. Once the safety associations have the opportunity to crash test this vehicle, it will be very interesting to see the outcome of these tests.

WINNER: To Be Determined

Champion

Who then, in this competition of two power hitters in the compact SUV segment, the 2019 Ford Escape vs 2019 Toyota RAV4, who comes out the winner? Overall, these are two overly competent vehicles in an extremely competitive class. Competition has Darwined these SUVs to put up or shut up and they have both proven themselves time and time again. When comparing the 2019 Ford Escape vs 2019 Toyota RAV4, the winner will be a difficult decision. Purchasing either vehicle will leave you driving one of the most capable and comprehensive vehicles on the market today, however, as of now, the Ford Escape takes the cake. Once the safety ratings are released, the outcome may change, but until that time we have a winner, the 2019 Ford Escape.

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