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Old 30th October 2016, 09:06   #1
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Default East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

East vs. West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape – it is a matter of Heart over Mind.

At the outset, I want to make a few things clear –

1. This comparison is not to pit fanboys of one maker against another
2. This is to provide a better view to what is available in the developed markets, so that we consumers in India can start demanding better cars and hence more bang for our buck.
3. This is my first review on T-BHP or anywhere else. The only other reviews I have had is the countless number of arguments with friends over various cars. So, if there are things that I have missed out or if the comparison comes out crude, please point them out. I will try to make it better. (I already know the pictures are bad!)

With that said, we will pit the Toyota RAV4 – representing the east with the Ford Escape – representing the west.

Why RAV4 vs Escape, when there are so many other cars. Because a friend of mine and I were able to rent these cars out. They both are similar in size, similar in price and similar in dimensions. They belong to the same segments. The Toyota starts at approx. $25,000 and the Ford at $23,000.
But, please note, the Toyota is a base variant and the Escape is the top end variant (but does not have all the options on it). We really cannot pick and choose a rental car and it’s variant. It was by chance that my friend and I landed similar cars. And I thought of this comparison. Having said that, many things between the top end and base variants remain same for comparisons – such as build quality, space, design, comfort – the main difference being the features. Will discount them at appropriate places (we know that leather seats of the Ford does not give an edge over the Toyota’s fabric but Ford’s more comfortable seats matter). Also, the cars are not clean! Pardon that, please!

Let’s begin with the exteriors.

Here is a comparison of the front. The Toyota looks much more macho and butch compared to the Ford. The Ford comes out more like a car and less like a SUV.

East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape-1.png

Once again, Toyota trumps the Ford at the rear. The tail lamps of the RAV4 look so much more striking. The rear fog lamp designs are also much better. Notice that the rear bumper projects out over the tail gate on the Toyota, much practical design. Downside being while loading heavy things, will chip the paint of the bumper. However, this matters much less for the US market. Also notice dual exhausts of the Ford and the tiny single exhaust of the Toyota.

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The stop lamp on Toyota is clear lens. Both are LEDs though.

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The base version of the Toyota has a shark-fin antenna vis-ΰ-vis Ford’s conventional one. Also observe the Toyota’s roof designed for more strength than the Ford’s.

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The profile – the clean side profile with a big shoulder line (just above the door handles) of the Toyota is much better/muscular than the Ford’s. Also notice the bigger D-pillar of the Ford. Both have chrome lining across the windows. Both have wrap around tail lamps.

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The beefed up shoulder line makes the car feel bigger while driving the Toyota. The RAV4 seems wider and heaver at lower half of the car, in a way lowering the center of gravity.

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Both have their rear cameras just below their logos. The Ford’s camera is much better. It covers a wider area. More about the camera later.

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Coming to the tires. The R18s on the Fords are much better than the R17s. The Ford grips better, particularly on wet tarmac, rides better, and easier on turns. The Ford comes with a 235 50 R18 against the 225 65 R17 of the Toyota.

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The side mirrors are India friendly! Although the Toyota’s are much more easy to move them back. But, both have them an inserted smaller convex mirror to have a better view of a wider range. I have seen this across all Fords. This is the first time I see it on the Toyota. It is very helpful, particularly on highways. The Ford has better rearward visibility. Also notice a small indicator on the Ford’s mirror, which lights up whenever there is a car on the next lane behind you, indicating to you that it’s not a good time to switch lanes. No such thing on the RAV4. This indicator is present on all Fords, but the current one did not have the mechanics behind it (I believe it is an additional option to add onto your car. The rental car did not have it). The Ford also has puddle lamps. I am not sure if the top end of Toyota has it (probably not!).

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All Ford’s come with an auto fuel cap. This is much friendlier. There is no remote lock for the lid. You can open the lid, put in the fuel hose and fill it up. The Toyota’s is conventional here. You have a remote lock. And then a manual cap to the fuel inlet. It is in such areas, where the Ford is much better taught out and classier. This is across variants. It is such things that tip the scale towards the Ford. Many more of such things in the interiors, discussed later.

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The Toyota comes with conventional wipers. The Ford, with the much cooler Civic/Hexa type of wipers. The Toyota has the water nozzles better concealed under the hood. The Toyota has them on the hood.

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The side skirts of the Toyota is much bigger and complements the profile pic. But notice the Toyota’s side skirt glue coming off! And you thought Toyota quality is better than the Ford’s!

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With this, I conclude my exterior comparison. All though how a car looks can be purely personal, I believe the Ford is much more docile looking and car like for a SUV. On the other hand, the Toyota with a strong shoulder line and clean exterior has better SUV looks. But then, things like better wipers, brighter headlamps, modern fuel filler caps, better rear view camera and rear view mirrors make the Ford score some brownie points.
So, when it comes to exteriors, there is not much to choose between them. But then the story completely changes when you get into the interiors. The heart will say one thing, the mind will fight for the other. We shall see that in the next post.

I conclude this section with the below parting shots.

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Old 30th October 2016, 19:12   #2
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Default re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

The interiors – here is where things change. Yes, the Escape is higher variant than the RAV4. But then, things like ergonomics, AC vents, space, door handles, positioning of speakers, luggage space, positioning of gear levers are all going to be the same across variants.

Starting from the back, the luggage space on both the cars are similar. But, there are a few things that demonstrate the Ford is much better thought out. The Ford has better luggage hooks, automatic boot light compared to the light with a switch on the RAV4. The Ford also gets a 12V socket.

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The spare wheel is beneath this storage space (compared to the awkwardly placed spare wheels in Indian models, access from outside). The Ford has many storage sockets compared to the Toyota. However the RAV4’s floor splits into half and can be easily removed.

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The tail gates open to the same height. Although the Escape’s tail gate is much lighter and easier to close. Also, since Ford is a top end, it has an auto close button. But what’s cool about it, you can save a tail gate open position/height. The next time, the tail gate opens up until there. So, if you are short, you don’t have to be worried about the tail gate opening too high.

On another note, both the cars can have their second row seats folded flat.

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Neither have third row seating.

Moving ahead to the second row. There is not much to choose between the Escape and the RAV4. But then, the Escape has slightly better knee room. But, Escape trumps the RAV4 in terms of seat width. Also, the Escape’s seats are more ergonomic. Although, neither will be comfortable for 3 on long distances.

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Both middle rows have an arm rest with 2 cup holders. They are arranged differently though.

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Moving ahead to the front row, the design on the Ford is again more ergonomic. The door handles are case in point. On the Toyota, I have to sometimes to search for the door handle. But it is a chunky one. The Escape has a rod right next to window up/down buttons.

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All the buttons on the Ford are well laid out. The driver has auto up/down for ALL windows. The Toyota comes with auto down only for the driver’s window. Also, the Ford has better door pockets.

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The front row seats are much more comfortable in the Ford. They are flush, better lumbar support (although adjustable), better side bolstering. Also, Ford has electronic 6-way adjustable seat. Compared to manual 4 way adjustable Toyota.

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The dashboard, this is a world of difference in both the cars. The AC vents on Ford is stylish compared to the old looking rotary knobs. The buttons on the steering wheel are much better arranged. The buttons on the Toyota get pressed unintentionally sometimes, when you holding at the steering wheel. Also, the cruise control is a separate knob. The Ford on the other hand as well laid out buttons. The cruise control has a separate set of buttons on the steering wheel. The dials are so futuristic on the Ford, compared to the conventional dials on the Toyota. The Ford has a screen to display different modes too. This is almost a standard across variants.

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The dashboard on the Ford has a larger screen compared to the puny Toyota screen. Also, Ford’s screen is much nicer and more responsive to use.

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The Toyota has a traditional floor mounted gear lever. The Ford has a more dashboard integrated lever. The Ford’s gear leaver is reachable with minimal effort as it is closer to the steering wheel. Also notice the 12V socket on the Ford is on the floor, where as the socket in Toyota is beneath the raised AC knobs, making it difficult to view and access. The cup holders are separated from one another in the Toyota. I find the cup holder close to the dashboard a little difficult to reach, especially while driving. Also notice the seat heater rotary knobs on the Ford.

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The Ford comes with a split glove box. The Toyota has an open storage area on the dashboard and a small conventional glovebox. More storage in the Ford.

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Both have sun visors with mirrors and lamps. The Toyota has a lamp mounted on the roof, which switches on automatically when you lower the sun visor. The Ford’s light is integrated with the sun visor, lamp switches on when you open the lid of the mirror.

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The center armrest in both cars has storage. The Ford houses a couple of USB ports and a 12V charging point (yes, over and above the one near the cup holders and the power socket just below the AC vents for the rear passengers). The Toyota has slightly better storage.

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The AC knobs on the Ford are better. They offer Auto AC (maybe because it is higher trim level). But then, just the additional knobs, as the AC can also be controlled by the touch screen makes it so much better. It does not feel too many buttons on the dashboard either.

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Talking about the driving experience – many of us know Fords give us cars that delight drivers. The Escape is no exception. Get into the car, hold the relatively small sized steering wheel, push the ignition button, the engine revs up smoothly. Tap the accelerator, the car gets going with ease. Push the pedal hard, the car responds immediately and you have picked up pace with no virtual drama. The suspension is quite well balanced, and offers a well cushioned ride soaking up potholes and at the same time not making the car too wobbly. But, push the car had in a tight right hand turn or a long left hand turn, you will sense the body roll. You immediately realize you are driving the car is tall and not very wide. But the tires offer good grip and the precise steering restore your confidence almost immediately. If need be, the onboard electronics will come in to correct driver errors. Although the body roll is noticeable, it is not a deal breaker on US roads, which tend to be long straight arrows rather than twisty winding roads. The breaks are progressive, and have enough bite. You will never feel the need for more braking ability. Overall, a responsive engine, quick shifting gearbox, well balanced suspension and Ford’s well calibrated steering provide a good driving experience, if not an enthusiastic one.

On the other hand, the moment you enter the Toyota, you are disappointed with the interiors. Switch the ignition on, you can hear the engine in the cabin. Once it settles down, slot the clunky gear lever into Drive mode, and tap the accelerator you get going while you hear the engine revving up! Push the pedal hard, you immediately realize that the Toyota does not deliver power as linearly as the Eco boost engine. Once you pick up pace, and settle in to cursing speed, this is where Toyota comes to its own. The engine is at its best at cursing speeds and does not like sudden throttle responses. The suspension is slightly on the stiffer side, with most undulations soaked in, the one odd larger potholes are transferred to the cabin. But this stiffer suspension helps when making rapid turns. Body roll is much more contained, the car feels wider and shorter, and gives you confidence to push it harder. Although driving position is good, the car tends to feel wider and more cumbersome to ride. It does take some getting used to the vague steering feel of the car. There is quite a bit of steering play (feeling gets accentuated if you drive immediately after the Ford). The other letdown of the Ford is its brakes. They are quite wooden and at times keeps you guessing. It can catch you off guard and is better to break a tad early. Overall, the engine offers good drivability at cursing speeds and suspension does a fine job; but the car is let down by a rather boring steering feel and less than satisfactory breaks.

It is a combination of all the above make the Ford a much better place to be. Every time you enter the car, it welcomes you with a smile. But the Toyota does no such thing. Yes, Toyota might be more reliable. Be lower on maintenance costs. Slightly better fuel efficiency too. And better resale value. But, the Ford has a much more responsive 2.0 L Eco boost engine compared to Toyota’s boring 2.5L. The power delivery is so much more linear in the Ford. The engine truly complements the much superior steering feel of the Ford. The Toyota’s steering takes some getting used to, with a steering play that can unsettle new drivers. It has some amount of vagueness. The 4 spoke steering wheel on the Ford helps too. The cruise control buttons, are on the steering wheel. It makes so much easier to use them.

The Ford's cabin is much quieter. Every time you hit the accelerator pedal, the Ford picks up pace with much less drama. You can hardly hear the engine working hard. Come to the Toyota, you can hear the engine roaring in the cabin. It takes a second for the engine and gearbox to respond, particularly when standstill or at lower speeds, to gain momentum. Both engines are very free revving though. The Toyota comes with a Eco and Sport mode switch. The Sport mode does seem to make it slightly more responsive. It is not very noticeable. But, in sport mode, you can see the instantaneous fuel efficiency is lower than in the Eco mode. The on board computer does a good job of calculating it.

Overall, the bottom line is, the Ford's cabin is much plusher, quieter. It is the easier one to drive. The fact is, you spend more time in the car and that is where the Ford leaves the Toyota far behind.

And this is the reason I call this a matter of mind vs heart. The mind would say pick the reliable and cost efficient Toyota. It is logical. You will not go wrong with it. But the Ford, will win your heart. The way it drives, the feeling of plushness it gives its occupants is unbeatable. It just puts a smile on your face, every time you hop into it. For me, it is the Ford all the way! Thank you.

Last edited by GTO : 2nd November 2016 at 08:43. Reason: Taking live
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Old 30th October 2016, 20:55   #3
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Default re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

A few other small things!

The second row has separate vents. But, there is a power outlet for your laptop. There are plenty of 12V ports, but the back seat passenger might want to charge his/her laptop when chauffeured around.

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The Ford’s doors have small reflectors.

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The Innova like dash, with AC vents lifted up makes it difficult to view the buttons/access the ports below this part. Also notice the Sport/Eco buttons.

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Next to the Ford’s front seats, there is a small storage space of sorts. If something drops out of your pocket, this will catch it and you don’t have to go searching below the seat.

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Beneath the lid of the arm rest, the Ford has two slots to hold USB and Cards. This again proves that the designers at Ford have taught of almost everything and have paid great attention to detail

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The rear view camera on the Ford has two modes. One normal, another zoomed in. Additionally, they have guide lines that respond to steering input. No such thing on the Toyota.

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The Ford comes with interior mood lighting. Also, the door lock handles are sturdier in the Ford. Also notice the seat position memory switches. The quality of switches and knobs on the Ford is much better than the Toyota. No cost cutting here!

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The digital lock system on Ford is fancy. It is called the my Key.Apart from the key less entry system. I have not used this. But it exits. It has to be set up. (Too lazy to do that on a rental car!) More details at http://www.mainlandford.com/blog/what-is-ford-mykey/

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Both cars have spacious foot wells. Notice the dead pedal on the Toyota. So tiny. Again, a cost cutting measure!

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The Toyota has a flimsy rear view mirror. We see such things on smaller hatchbacks in India. The Ford has an auto dimming rear view mirror. It works like a charm!

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Old 2nd November 2016, 08:43   #4
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Default Re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Test-Drives Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2nd November 2016, 11:17   #5
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Default Re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCar View Post
A few other small things!
Very nice comparison. Though both these models aren't on sale in India at the moment, it gives an idea of how feature rich and well thought out the Ford is when it comes to convenience.

For the ones abroad, this is a useful read to make the decision based on the Interior Quality and comforts in the car. It would be the Ford Escape for me, the 2017 version. Looks even better than this model.

- Good looking interiors on the Ford.
- Center Console is nicely light
- small touches like storage next to the driver seat, very useful for me

Good Job, well done.

Last edited by TorqMaster : 2nd November 2016 at 11:17. Reason: Appreciation
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Old 2nd November 2016, 11:28   #6
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Default Re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCar View Post
East vs. West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape – it is a matter of Heart over Mind.
Thanks OrangeCar for the review These 2 cars would definitely have good potential in India given the SUV craze. If at all they plan, both Toyota and Ford have the room in their portfolio to position these SUVs in India

The rear of the Escape is similar to Ecosport, the character lines and tail lamps

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and the ORVM design is the same

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Last edited by Karthik Chandra : 2nd November 2016 at 11:35.
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Old 2nd November 2016, 18:24   #7
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Default Re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karthik Chandra View Post
Thanks OrangeCar for the review These 2 cars would definitely have good potential in India given the SUV craze. If at all they plan, both Toyota and Ford have the room in their portfolio to position these SUVs in India
Yes. The rear looks similar to the Ford Ecosport. Many compare it to the Ecosport also because of its similar proportions of size (ratio of width X height X length). But in the US, this is a small sized SUV and is pitted against other cars such as Honda CRV, Hyundai SanteFe and cars of similar segment.
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Old 2nd November 2016, 21:02   #8
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Default Re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

Fantastic comparo OrangeCar. Ford seems miles ahead of the Toyota in convenience.

I don't think Toyota's reliability will be a major deal-maker. Ford cars are pretty reliable too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCar View Post
The Ford, with the much cooler Civic/Hexa type of wipers. The Toyota has the water nozzles better concealed under the hood. The Toyota has them on the hood.
Err.. Didn't you mean 'ford?'
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Old 2nd November 2016, 21:24   #9
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Default Re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

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Err.. Didn't you mean 'ford?'
Oh yes, good catch landcruiser123. I meat Ford. Thanks for pointing that out!
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Old 3rd November 2016, 00:27   #10
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Default Re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

OrangeCar,

Awesome job with the comparison. I too had a chance to test drive these two cars very recently. One thing I would point out - at equivalent trim levels these cars are so much more similar. It is so difficult to choose between the two.
All 2017 Toyotas come with Radar assisted Cruise control and Emergency braking assist at all trims.
Also, the Toyota Care maintenance plan needs to be mentioned. 2 years, zero cost maintenance plan and it is included in the cost of every new car that they sell.
Sigh... These are the things I wish we had in India.
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Old 3rd November 2016, 01:18   #11
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Default Re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

Good comparison.

I was in this dilemma while looking for a used compact crossover (2015 or later) here in USA, couple of months back. I loved the Escape, the eco boost engine was great and they definitely had a nice interior. Although overall I felt the Escape was smaller in size, especially the passenger seats - that looked smaller to me. Rav 4 was definitely noisy and boring to drive with no feel good features, and crazy resale prices quoted on them.

Finally ended up buying a used 2015 Santa Fe - this is one size bigger than Rav 4 and Escape. The very high resale on used Toyota meant, I got the Santa cheaper with most of the depreciation taken care of. I am enjoying it so far, especially the bigger size and nicer features on the Hyundai.

Hopefully it wont frustrate me on reliability front !!
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Old 3rd November 2016, 21:24   #12
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Default Re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

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Finally ended up buying a used 2015 Santa Fe - this is one size bigger than Rav 4 and Escape. The very high resale on used Toyota meant, I got the Santa cheaper with most of the depreciation taken care of. I am enjoying it so far, especially the bigger size and nicer features on the Hyundai.

Hopefully it wont frustrate me on reliability front !!
The Hyundai's offer 10 year - 100,000 mile warranty, best warranty on the market. So, Hyundai's should be reliable. Can see Hyundai & Kia replacing Toyota & Honda's as reliable and frugal cars.
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Old 7th November 2016, 06:13   #13
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Default Re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

A nice review of Toyota RAV4 with the Honda CRV & Volkswagen Tiguan. Some points discussed in this thread is mentioned here. The drive, interiors and interior quality! For your viewing pleasure -
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Old 8th November 2016, 21:43   #14
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Default Re: East vs West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCar View Post
East vs. West – Toyota RAV4 vs Ford Escape – it is a matter of Heart over Mind.
In my days traveling for work I had rented quite a few different cars (one every week) - and these two constantly came up for rental for me. I used to hope to get an Escape over a RAV4 because of the fancy features and far nicer interior. This was in 2014. But let me also add another side note to it - the fancy stuff on the Ford were prone to errors. I once had an Escape switch heating to cooling (temperature went to 58F or 14 C in the HVAC), the temperature outside was about 18 F (-7 C?). The touchscreen had gone buggy that controls the temperature and I had to pullover on the side of an expressway in a minor snow storm and restart the car 3 times to get it to work properly. The RAV4 while simple and straighforward always worked. Toyota is a notoriously slow adapter of change. While everyone was throwing in small turbo engines and direct injection and 8 and 9 speed transmissions, they were sticking to their regular engines and 6 speed automatics. I think they definitely wait for a technology to mature before throwing it out on mass market cars - usually Lexus adopts technology first. Ford, meanwhile, democratizes everything. I sincerely hope such issues are a thing of the past now for when you have to take a heart over mind decision.
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Old 11th November 2016, 20:56   #15
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Originally Posted by vineethvazhayil View Post
I think they definitely wait for a technology to mature before throwing it out on mass market cars - usually Lexus adopts technology first. Ford, meanwhile, democratizes everything. I sincerely hope such issues are a thing of the past now for when you have to take a heart over mind decision.
There lies the point. If Ford can bring new technology to cars in the mass market. Take the risk. Make an attempt to win you over. You tend to give in to the temptation. Even though your mind says no, there will be issues.

And that is why Toyota's are tending to become boring. There is nothing new or exciting. Quality is no more a differentiated feature. It is expected. Innovation is.
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