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When considering a new SUV purchase, the Toyota RAV4 and the Toyota Highlander stand out as compelling choices. This comprehensive comparison between the 2023 Toyota RAV4 and the 2023 Toyota Highlander aims to shed light on the distinctive features of these two vehicles.

Performance and Gas Mileage

In the realm of performance, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 presents three engine options, providing a range of power from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 203 horsepower to a hybrid with 219 horsepower, and a robust plug-in hybrid, the RAV4 Prime, boasting 308 horsepower. Conversely, the 2023 Toyota Highlander offers two engine choices: a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine producing 265 horsepower and a hybrid version generating 243 horsepower.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the RAV4 emerges as the frontrunner. The gas-powered RAV4 boasts an estimated fuel economy of up to 30 combined MPG, while the RAV4 hybrid achieves an impressive 40 combined MPG. Additionally, the RAV4 Prime, functioning in electric-only mode, reaches a fuel efficiency of 94 MPGe, and 38 combined MPG when in hybrid mode. Comparatively, the gas-powered Highlander delivers a fuel economy of up to 24 combined MPG, while the Highlander Hybrid attains 36 combined MPG.

Towing Capabilities

The Toyota Highlander takes the lead in towing capabilities, boasting a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds for the gas-powered variant and 3,500 pounds for the Highlander Hybrid. In contrast, the RAV4 holds a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds.

Off-Road Proficiency

While both SUVs feature all-wheel-drive systems, the Toyota RAV4 stands out as the better choice for off-road adventures. With higher ground clearance (up to 8.6 inches compared to the Highlander’s 8.0 inches) and specialized off-road editions like the Woodland, Adventure, and TRD Off-Road trims, the RAV4 is tailored for off-road exploration.

Safety Ratings

When it comes to safety, the Highlander takes the lead. Although the specific IIHS crash test scores for the 2023 models are pending, the 2022 Highlander earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Award, showcasing its commitment to safety. In comparison, the 2022 RAV4 secured the IIHS Top Safety Pick Award, placing it one tier below the Highlander.

Passenger and Cargo Space

With its larger dimensions, the Highlander offers superior interior space, accommodating up to eight passengers with a total volume of 141.3 cuft. Conversely, the RAV4 comfortably seats five with a total passenger volume of 98.9 cuft. Additionally, the Highlander provides more storage capacity, boasting a maximum cargo space of 84.3 cuft compared to the RAV4’s 69.8 cuft.

Warranty Coverage and Price

Both the RAV4 and Highlander are supported by a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. As for pricing, the specifics for the 2023 models are pending, but it’s anticipated that both will see a slight increase from their 2022 counterparts.

In conclusion, the choice between the 2023 Toyota RAV4 and the 2023 Toyota Highlander depends on individual priorities. The RAV4 excels in gas mileage, off-road capabilities, and potentially a lower price, while the Highlander shines in towing capacity, safety ratings, and offering ample passenger and cargo space. Understanding your preferences and priorities will guide you to the SUV that best suits your needs and preferences.