Difference Between Toyota RAV4 and HighLander

SUV’s over the last few years have become extremely popular in their segment. Offering better comfort and more space, the sales for SUVs are now on the rise more than ever. One of the most popular brands to provide excellent SUVs is Toyota. There are many offerings by Toyota but two models worth comparing are RAV4 and Highlander.

Toyota RAV4 vs Highlander

The main difference between Toyota RAV4 and Highlander is that the RAV4 offers a capacity for 5 passengers to sit comfortably whereas Highlander provides easy seating for 8 passengers. Even though the two models originated from the same manufacturer company, they are meant to target different audiences.

Toyota RAV4 vs Highlander

Toyota RAV4 is a compact crossover SUV vehicle made by the Japanese automobile company Toyota. The first model of RAV4 was launched in 1996 and it was the first compact SUV in its time. It was designed to provide the core benefits of full-fledged SUVs at that time.

Highlander is a mid-size crossover SUV made by the Japanese automobile company Toyota. The first model of Highlander was launched in 2001. At the time of its launch, it became one of the first car-based mid-size SUV vehicles. Toyota Highlander is also known as Toyota Kluger.

Comparison Table Between Toyota RAV4 and Highlander

Parameters of ComparisonToyota RAV4Highlander
CapacityComfortable seating for 5 passengers.Comfortable seating for 8 people.
Horsepower203hp Horsepower295hp Horsepower
Fuel Tank CapacityUp to 12 gallons.Up to 17.9 gallons.
Fuel Economy27 miles per gallon for roads and 35 miles per gallon for highways.21 miles per gallon for roads and 29 miles per gallon for highways.
Towing CapacityIt can tow up to 1500 lbs.It can tow up to 5000 lbs.

What is Toyota RAV4?

Toyota RAV4 is one of the most famous compact crossover SUVs manufactured by Toyota. The first model of RAV4 was launched in 1994 and was both critically and commercially praised. The compact size, easy handling, and generous equipment methods attracted a lot of customers. As a result, the production was immediately doubled due to its high sale. Since then, there have been five generations of RAV4 models.

With the RAV4, Toyota has implemented the all-wheel-drive feature. This ensures smooth handling and optimized performance even when the road is uneven or muddy. One of the biggest advantages of RAV4 is that all RAV4 models are built-in Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 which prioritizes passenger safety in unexpected circumstances.

One area where RAV4 falls behind is the luggage space it provides. The luggage space provided is noticeably less and falls pale in comparison to other SUVs of its segment.

The latest RAV4 2021 comes in six models including LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited. A great mileage in its segment and the safety features it provides stand out from the crowd. RAV4 is Toyota’s best-selling SUV model and it surpassed 10 million sales at the end of February 2020. In 2019, RAV4 was the best-selling SUV in the world

What is Highlander?

Highlander or also known as Toyota Kluger is a mid-size crossover made by Toyota. Launched in 2001 at the time when most SUVs were built like pickup trucks, Highlander was a perfect balance of car-like unibody construction in the form of an SUV. Compared to the bigger truck-based SUVs at that time, Highlander was exactly what people were looking for. Since its first release in 2001, there have been four generations of Toyota Highlander.

With Highlander as well, Toyota has implemented the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. In addition, Highlander comes with an easy-to-access LATCH System for child safety as well. Highlander provides best-in-class seating quality and its interior is well muted from air noise further improving its ride quality by a substantial margin. Because the car feels bulky, the AWD is a plus. It adds additional balance and smooth handling which makes it easy for long and difficult routes.

One area where Highlander lacks is the less cargo space it offers because of the extra third-row. It provides only 16 cubic feet of cargo space in the third row, which is relatively low in its segment.

Highlander comes in six models including L, LE, XLE, XSE, Limited, and Platinum. Highlander is known for its whopping 5000 lbs of towing capacity, which is the best in its segment.

Main Differences Between Toyota RAV4 and Highlander

  1. Toyota RAV4 offers a much better fuel economy as compared to Highlander, which is an added advantage.
  2. Though RAV4 offers better mileage, the fuel capacity however is much less than Highlander at just 12 gallons as compared to 17.9 gallons in the latter.
  3. For consumers that are interested in off-roading, the RAV4 is available in rugged models as well that the Highlander can’t match.
  4. Even though both the RAV4 and highlander are only available with one engine, the performance offered by RAV4 is substantially lesser than the highlander’s performance.
  5. For towing purposes, RAV4 is not the one to pick and offers only 1500 lbs. On the other hand, the towing capacity of highlander is much larger at 5000 lbs.


While Highlander is superior in many areas, RAV4 still offers some considerable advantages over Highlander. RAV4’s offered mileage is much better as compared to Highlander. If someone is looking for a smaller car in the SUV form factor, then RAV4 is the one to pick. Even if someone lives in high traffic region, the smaller form factor of RAV4 is an added advantage. On the other hand, Highlander has a larger build and provides more seating capacity and therefore, it is recommended for big families.

One area where Highlander is far ahead of its competition is the towing capacity for a regular mid-crossover SUV. It can tow around 5000 lbs of weight as compared to RAV4’s 1500 lbs towing capacity. Highlander offers more durability, more strength, and a more futuristic interior than RAV4. However, RAV4 doesn’t fall behind in its segment by any means. RAV4 is undoubtedly the most successful SUV that Toyota has ever produced as it offers the most value in its segment.

Both Toyota RAV4 and Highlander have created a big impact in the automobile market. The standards set by Toyota through their SUV lineup are pretty high to compete. Even though both of these SUVs are offered by the same manufacturing company, they target different audiences.


  1. http://www.evchargernews.com/miscfiles/sce-rav4ev-100k.pdf
  2. https://search.proquest.com/openview/bc9253332bd857b3633ae9900d14b2c2/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=38869
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