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Car Battles: 2012 Toyota Rav4 vs. 2012 Hyundai Tucson

Last updated 6 years ago

Car Battles: 2012 Toyota Rav4 vs. 2012 Hyundai Tucson

On this edition of Car Battles we matched up the Toyota Rav4 with the Hyundai Tucson. Need we say more? Let’s take a look.

The first impression on both vehicles is great. They both offer a sleek, sporty design that is easy on the eyes. Neither vehicle pulled ahead in this category so we have to give it a draw.

For this category the match up starts very evenly as both the Rav4 and the Tucson come equipped with standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, as well as front side-impact and head airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all-wheel drive.

Now here is where the Rav4 comes out ahead:
Studies by the Canadian government show that driving with lights on during the day helps reduce accidents by 11% as drivers become more conspicuous. For this the Toyota Rav4 comes equipped with Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. The Tucson doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

As mentioned in our previous blogs Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on all Toyotas for 2 years and 25000 miles. They will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Hyundai doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Tucson.

Toyota’s “Toyota Care” Package makes it very dominant in this category. So far “Toyota Care” is unmatched and it’s definitely something for car buyers to consider as it will save them a lot of money.

Have a need for speed?

In that case the Rav4 is for you as its standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cylinder engine produces more horsepower (179 vs. 165) and more torque (172 vs. 146) than the Tucson GL’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cylinder engine. It also beats out the Tucson GLS Limited in horsepower (179 vs. 176) and torque (172 vs. 168)

One thing that proved to be a pet peeve of ours is that the Toyota Rav4 comes standard with an automatic transmission, which is great for driver comfort, meanwhile an automatic transmission costs extra on the Tucson. Bad Hyundai! Bad!

Brakes and Stopping
Motor Trends brake test found that the Rav4 stops shorter from 60 to 0 MPH than the Tucson (123 vs. 124)

Tires and Wheels
If you live in an area where there is snow or any kind of slippery situations you will know about the importance of having good tires. The Rav4 Sport’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Tucson (235/55R18 vs. 225/60R17), giving the Rav4 better traction.

So you’re driving down the highway and all of the sudden you pop your tire. This can be one of the most frustrating moments for any driver as changing a flat near traffic is not only inconvenient but it’s dangerous too. For this reason the Rav4 comes equipped with run-flat tires available that can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Tucson doesn’t offer run-flat tires.  

Suspension                                                                                       Love off roading? I know we do. For greater off-road capability the Rav4, hands down, is the vehicle to go with. It has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Tucson (7.5 vs. 6.7 inches), which allows it to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

While both vehicles offer a sporty and stylish design, the Rav4 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. which is significantly lower than the Tucson (.37 Cd.) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and allows for better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space
For these types of vehicles we look for a sporty feel with a spacious interior. The Rav4 has 37.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Tucson (139.2 vs. 101.9). It also has 1.4 inches mor

e front headroom, .6 inches more rear headroom and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Tucson.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Rav4’s middle row seats recline. The Tucson’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity
Cargo capacity goes hand in hand with passenger space. The Rav4’s cargo area provides more volume than the Tucson.

This is another category that goes to the Rav4. The 2012 Rav4 offers almost twice the maximum towing capacity of the Hyundai Tucson (3500 vs. 2000). 

One cool feature that Toyota that has been a trend on Toyota vehicles is the remote vehicle starting system, used so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. The 2012 Toyota Rav4 comes equipped with this feature as well, which allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The Tucson doesn’t offer a remote starting system.  Along the same line, Toyota offers a Smart Key System, standard on the Rav4 Limited, which allows the driver to unlock the doors, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from their pocket or purse. This is a convenient feature as it eliminates having to take time to search for your keys to get inside the vehicle (especially in the rain!). The Hyundai Tucson doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

To help keep rear passengers entertained (this one is for you parents), the Rav4 Limited offers a set of optional rear seat controls for the radio, which can also play a separate audio source. The Tucson falls a little further behind again as it doesn’t offer rear seat audio controls.

The rear seat radio controls aren’t the only entertainment feature the Tucson falls behind in. The Rav4 Limited has optional Entune, which allows the driver and the passengers to access select programs on their smart phones. Some of these include: reading text messages out loud, playing music from internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later, finding fuel prices at nearby service stations and, most importantly, search the internet and other online activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Tucson doesn’t offer factory integrated smart phone program access.

One of the coolest features in the Rav4 Limited is the optional 115-volt a/c outlet in the center console. This neat little addition allows you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters, which can break or get lost. This is fantastic for road trips as passengers can plug in their laptop and appliances for a nice distraction from the boredom of a long drive. The Tucson doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

We have done some serious research on every aspect of both vehicles. So who will win this Car Battle? Drum roll please.

For this edition of Car Battles the ultimate winner is the 2012 Toyota Rav4. The Rav4 proved to be the best all around vehicle. It’s faster, it’s roomier, and it has more towing power, better off roading capabilities and talk about features! Toyota’s Rav4 is a vehicle for all groups and ages and one that promises not to disappoint.

That’s it for this edition of Car Battles. Come by Jerry’s Toyota at 8001 Belair Rd Baltimore, MD 21236 and check out our selection of 2012 Toyota Rav4’s. Or check us out on our website at and follow us on twitter at @jerrystoyota and on facebook at


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