Do you like the versatility of SUVs, but don't love the size or the less-than-stellar fuel economy? Take a closer look at the compact SUV class. You'll get the features you're looking for, combined with a car-like driving experience. In this matchup, we've paired two popular models, the 2017 Hyundai Tucson and the Toyota RAV4. But which is best?

2017 Hyundai Tucson vs Toyota RAV4


If you want comfort in a compact SUV, look no further than the 2017 Hyundai Tucson. You can nestle comfortably in seats perfectly positioned in a spacious cabin. Even the backseat passengers will have plenty of room to stretch out, which can't always be said of compact SUVs. If you have kids back there, you'll absolutely love that one available feature is stain-resistant fabrics. Hyundai has kept things simple, with uncomplicated, clutter-free controls on the dashboard and 31 cubic feet of cargo space for all your luggage, gear, or groceries. It's hard to imagine wanting much more from your SUV.

The Toyota RAV4 has plenty of cargo space too, 5 cubic feet more than the Tucson, but its cabin feels and looks dull because of its lackluster design and hard plastic materials. You'll get plenty of space in the five seats and the back row can recline--great features! But the thin driver's seat might have you squirming to find a comfortable spot after a half-hour or so on the road.

TECHNOLOGY: Hyundai Tucson

One of the most exciting improvements for the 2017 Hyundai Tucson is the availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in some trims. This smartphone compatibility, along with Bluetooth and USB, makes your SUV a hub of communication and entertainment. The Tucson also comes with rearview camera standard, plus a bunch of upgrade options, like smart power tailgate that opens whenever you stand behind your SUV for a few seconds, fob in hand.

The RAV4 is similarly techy, though it doesn't offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Instead it uses Toyota's Entune system, which functions similarly. The standard model offers 6.1-inch touch-screen display, USB port, Bluetooth, voice recognition, and six speakers. Optional features include 7-inch touch screen, navigation, Siri Eyes Free, satellite radio, HD Radio, 11-speaker sound system,, proximity key, push-button start, and household-style power outlet.


This category is where the 2017 Tuscon really shines. Drivers will enjoy fuel economy close to 25/31 miles per gallon, with decent power and graceful handling. While the Tucson is not the most athletic SUV out there, it performs well in the passing lane if not on the racetrack.

The RAV4 doesn't fare as well in terms of fuel economy, getting only 22/28 miles per gallon. That wouldn't be so bad but vague steering, soft suspension, and poor acceleration don't make up for the RAV4's less impressive efficiency ratings.


The Hyundai Tucson earned overall five stars on government crash test rating, and the coveted Top Safety Pick from IIHS. This already-safe SUV also offers active safety options like lane-departure warning, rear parking sensors, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.

The RAV 4 also earned five stars and a Top Safety Pick+ recognition, making it a tremendously safe car as well. The standard model comes with an entire active and passive safety package, including things like anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, rearview camera, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.

Learn More about the Hyundai Tucson

While the Toyota RAV4 is a safe, popular model, the RAV4 can't compete with the Hyundai Tucson in interior comfort, overall performance, and cutting-edge technology. What's more, the Tucson has a lower retail price than the RAV4. It's rare to find a budget-friendly SUV that gives you nearly everything you want, but the 2017 Hyundai Tucson is just that and our winner in this head-to-head comparison.