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Safety

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Tucson’s standard Downhill Brake Control allows you to creep down safely. The Rav4 doesn’t offer Downhill Brake Control.

The Tucson Limited has a standard Blue Link, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Tucson and the Rav4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Hyundai Tucson is safer than the Toyota Rav4:

 

Tucson

Rav4

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

172

279

Neck Injury Risk

21%

35.8%

Neck Stress

219 lbs.

505 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

64/54 lbs.

502/540 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

226

388

Neck Injury Risk

37%

37.3%

Neck Stress

162 lbs.

236 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

45/43 lbs.

396/219 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Hyundai Tucson is safer than the Toyota Rav4:

 

Tucson

Rav4

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

94

168

Abdominal Force

107 G’s

163 G’s

Hip Force

356 lbs.

381 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Tucson comes with a full 5-year/60,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Rav4’s 3-year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Tucson 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Toyota covers the Rav4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Rav4 ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Tucson’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Rav4’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Tucson second among small suvs in their 2016 Initial Quality Study. The Rav4 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked fourth.

Engine

The Tucson Eco/Sport/Limited’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. produces 23 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 172) than the Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Tucson Eco/Sport/Limited 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Toyota Rav4:

 

Tucson

Rav4

Zero to 60 MPH

8.1 sec

9.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.1 MPH

82.3 MPH

Transmission and Drivetrain

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Hyundai Tucson Eco/Sport/Limited, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Rav4.

The Tucson offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Rav4 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The Tucson has a true all-wheel drive system, which uses a four wheel traction control system to redirect engine power to the axle and wheel that still has traction to keep the Tucson moving if even only one wheel still has traction. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a true all-wheel drive system; it could get stuck while one or more wheels still have traction.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Tucson’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Rav4:

 

Tucson

Rav4 LE

Rav4 XLE/Limited

Front Rotors

12 inches

10.8 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.2 inches

11.2 inches

The Tucson stops much shorter than the Rav4:

 

Tucson

Rav4

 

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Tucson Sport/Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Rav4 (245/45R19 vs. 235/55R18).

The Tucson SE/Eco’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Rav4 LE/XLE’s standard 65 series tires. The Tucson Sport/Limited’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Rav4 Limited/Platinum’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Tucson Sport/Limited has standard 19-inch wheels. The Rav4’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Tucson has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Rav4’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Tucson has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Rav4 doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Tucson is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Rav4.

The Tucson SE handles at .82 G’s, while the Rav4 XLE pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Tucson Limited AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the Rav4 XLE (27.1 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 29 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Tucson has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Rav4 (6.4 vs. 6.1 inches), allowing the Tucson to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Tucson is 7.3 inches shorter than the Rav4, making the Tucson easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Tucson has 1.3 inches more front hip room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 1 inch more rear legroom and 5.6 inches more rear hip room than the Rav4.

Servicing Ease

The Tucson has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Rav4 doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The Tucson Limited has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The power windows standard on both the Tucson and the Rav4 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Tucson is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Rav4 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Tucson’s variable intermittent wipers have an adjustable delay to allow the driver to choose a setting that best clears the windshield during light rain or mist. The Rav4 LE’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Tucson Limited offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Rav4 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Tucson’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Toyota only offers heated mirrors on the Rav4 XLE/SE/Limited.

The Tucson’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Rav4’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

Both the Tucson and the Rav4 offer available heated front seats. The Tucson Limited also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Rav4.

Optional air conditioned seats in the Tucson Limited keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Rav4 doesn’t offer air conditioned seats.

Both the Tucson and the Rav4 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Tucson Eco/Sport/Limited has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Rav4 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Tucson is less expensive to operate than the Rav4 because typical repairs cost much less on the Tucson than the Rav4, including $318 less for an alternator, $47 less for front brake pads, $100 less for a starter, $176 less for fuel injection, $357 less for a fuel pump, $30 less for front struts, $1381 less for a timing belt/chain and $110 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Hyundai Tucson will be $365 to $774 less than for the Toyota Rav4.

Recommendations

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its December 2016 issue and they ranked the Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD two places higher than the Toyota Rav4 SE 4WD.