Comparison Test: 2007-2008 Compact Crossovers

2007-2008 Compact Crossovers Comparison Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests
  • Comparison (2)
  • Long-Term

2007 Toyota RAV4 SUV

(2.4L 4-cyl. 4-speed Automatic)

  • Comparison Test
  • Second Opinion
  • Top 9 Features
  • Stereo Evaluation
  • Data and Charts
  • Final Rankings and Scoring Explanation

The best thing about a compact-utility vehicle is, it doesn't smell like dirty diapers. A small crossover combines carlike size with trucklike utility, but it doesn't post a sign in the rear window that tells everyone you're a breeder in the making. Sure, it's a practical package for couples, but there's every chance that the cargo area contains a beach chair, a bicycle, a gym bag and a furniture box from Ikea.

By our count, there are already 17 compact vehicles in the class of crossover vehicles and more are on the way. It seems as if every manufacturer has taken to converting its small-car platforms to utility use, and the crossovers have been enthusiastically embraced. Honda put 170,028 CR-Vs on the ground in the U.S. in 2006, and Toyota nearly matched it with 152,047 RAV4s.

These small crossovers are evolving into niches just as distinct as you'll find in the car market. There are practical ones, sporting ones, tough ones and comfortable ones. We've brought together the 2007 Honda CR-V, 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander, 2008 Nissan Rogue and 2007 Toyota RAV4. All share a gestalt of efficiency and social responsibility, yet each has a unique set of qualities and options. We've designed this all-wheel-drive crossover comparison within a frame of affordable enthusiasm, kind of like "gimme all you got for under $30K." Each one delivers a different level of equipment and varying degrees of performance and utility.

4th Place (74.3 points) 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD
As fate would have it, Edmunds actually owns a 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD as part of our long-term test fleet. Its attractive base price of $25,635 quickly inflated to $30,615 with the three major options packages we elected: Luxury, Navigation, and Sun & Sound. You can hypothetically bypass the innovative 30-gigabyte hard drive-based navigation system (including a 6GB music server) to save $1,800 and squeeze the price under the $30K barrier for our test, but it's fair to note that the Honda CR-V still includes navigation for $220 less.

Every Outlander comes with a 220-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and this example has full-time all-wheel drive. The engine sings a sporty song, but it's far from a benchmark in terms of acceleration or fuel efficiency. The best sprint to 60 mph we can manage with this Outlander is 9.0 seconds, and we coaxed only 18 mpg from it over a 1,000-mile distance. These unexpectedly disappointing performances can be attributed to the Outlander V6's weight, a substantial 3,887 pounds that tops our fearsome foursome.

Plan on 5, Not 7
The standard 50/50-split third-row seats for the XLS represent a clever, space-efficient design, but they're so insubstantial in construction, so awkward in operation and so nearly unusable by humans that they might as well be replaced with aluminum-framed beach chairs from the top shelf at your local drug store (right next to the Styrofoam coolers).

But a quick drive in the Outlander V6 makes you forget all that. The transmission shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel of the XLS model enhance the Outlander's ability to engage a back road with the enthusiasm we expect from a true sport wagon. With its hefty steering effort, leather-wrapped steering wheel, supportive sports seats and adjustable all-wheel-drive system, the Outlander plays to its strengths on a twisting mountain pass, whether you have a pair of skis on the roof or a mountain bike.

The Enthusiast's Choice
Our group of test drivers — driving enthusiasts all — score the Mitsubishi Outlander highest in the categories of braking performance, handling and fun-to-drive, as well as exterior design. The Outlander also earns 2nd place when our editors are asked to select the vehicle they'd purchase if price were not considered. The Outlander XLS is clearly the enthusiast's choice, yet its compromises in comfort, everyday utility and fuel efficiency mean it places 4th in this crossover contest.

3rd Place (75.1 points) 2007 Honda CR-V EX-L Navi
Less than one point ahead of the Mitsubishi on the overall scorecard is the Honda CR-V. For $28,595, the 2007 Honda CR-V 4WD EX-L Navi is distinguished from lesser CR-V models by its all-wheel drive, leather seat upholstery, a DVD-based navigation system with voice recognition and rearview camera, and an upgraded audio system including MP3/aux jack and satellite radio.

There isn't a third-row seat or V6 available in the CR-V line, so the EX-L Navi can offer a lot of features without a noticeable price penalty. A high-revving, 166-hp 2.4-liter inline-4 is mated to a five-speed automatic, and acceleration is adequate but far from inspiring. The engine and transmission combination is perhaps our biggest gripe about the CR-V, and we didn't find the additional 10-hp increase over last year's CR-V's engine to make a difference.

Gear Hunter
We sometimes find the CR-V reluctant to hold a gear while climbing a hill and prone to cycling between ratios at inopportune moments, an indicator of a calibration for fuel efficiency at the expense of drivability. Until the CR-V acquires a torque-enhancing turbocharger for the engine or a "Sport" mode for the transmission shift schedule, the Honda's powertrain will never be far from your consciousness.

Because the CR-V's all-wheel-drive system is the least sophisticated of the bunch and its engine produces the least amount of torque, the CR-V is the only vehicle here that failed to negotiate the steep, slippery dirt trail that comprised our test of minimal off-road capability.

OK, so the CR-V is no off-roader. But what you might not suspect is that it did manage to post the fastest slalom speed in this group. Thanks to its short 103.1-inch wheelbase and relatively light 3,527-pound weight, the Honda responds quickly to its slightly overboosted steering. The flip side of these dimensional and directional assets is a freeway ride that feels a little choppier than the rest.

Industrial Design Award
Where the CR-V really shines is in the way it's designed. It's a tool that makes your life easy and pleasing, a perfect example of intelligent industrial design. Now in its third generation since its U.S. debut in 1997, the CR-V has steadily been improved, and we all feel its build quality deserves special recognition. In other words, Honda gets the stuff right when it comes to how and why a vehicle is screwed together. As a driving appliance (and we mean that as a compliment), the CR-V is as good as it gets in this group. You understand it intuitively, and the CR-V feels completely natural to drive.

2nd Place (76.4 points) 2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD
It's often hard being the new guy, but the 2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD manages to turn that awkward moment into an opportunity. The Rogue is based on the platform of the new, stretched Nissan Sentra, only it's better-looking, better riding and more useful. If you're looking for a compact crossover that drives most like a car, this is the one.

The Rogue is outfitted with a 170-hp 2.4-liter inline-4, and this torquey engine is matched with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Both front- and all-wheel-drive versions are available.

Isolationist Theory
The Rogue's all-independent, long-travel suspension balances a supple ride with polished control. As a result, the Rogue is very stable at speed and confidently tracks a line, and the electric-assist power steering is exceptionally well tuned as well. On looks alone, we never would have guessed that the Rogue's 105.9-inch wheelbase (and 182.9-inch overall length) is the longest of this foursome, but this also plays a role in the Rogue's well-damped, big-car ride.

Its lengthy dimensions combined with a surprisingly light 3,544-pound weight also help explain the Rogue's excellent performance on the skid pad with a mark of 0.79g, but also contributes to its 61.5-mph run in the slalom, a last-place effort in which the Rogue feels a half-step behind driver inputs. Meanwhile, the Rogue stops shortest from 60 mph in a remarkable 123 feet.

The New Economy
The Rogue returns the best observed fuel economy of the test at over 22 mpg, with one tank returning 27 mpg. Frugal, but unfortunately not invigorating. Acceleration from a stop feels like it takes an eternity, even though the Nissan nearly caught the Mitsubishi with its 9.2-second sprint to 60 mph. The CVT feels like it has some components made from elastic, and it's not a feeling you can get away from, since the CVT and 170-hp 2.4-liter inline-4 is the only available powertrain.

We like the long-stroke engine with its balance shaft to reduce vibration, but would rather experience it firsthand than through the bland-o-nator CVT. This is just not the right technology for a small engine when more than a fuel-efficient commute is called for, and it's necessary to use the shift paddles to not only make back roads more interesting but also to soothe the ears.

Quality Where It Matters
The Rogue's interior is one of the vehicle's best qualities, and separates it from this budget-minded group. There's no glare-inducing touchscreen (nor even an available navigation system, by the way), the material colors are warmly tasteful and the well-organized presentation is superior. The six-way power seat that comes with the optional leather upholstery is deemed the best in this group. But if you want a third-row seat, you'll have to look elsewhere. Nissan's estimate of $28,500 (official pricing has not yet been announced) for all this factored heavily in its 2nd-place finish.

First Place (86.4 points) 2007 Toyota RAV4 Limited 4x4
Ever since Toyota introduced the RAV4 to the U.S. in 1996, it has been refining the hardware. It shows, because this 2007 RAV4 Limited 4WD waltzed through our various evaluations. Scanning the logbooks for something other than praise is like trying to drive two miles in Santa Monica without spotting a Starbucks.

Within this group of crossovers, the RAV4 is available in the widest array of prices and models, and this optioned-up RAV4 with all-wheel drive and a V6 comes to $29,374. We'd forgo the $700 third-row seat option to lower the price further; if you need seating for seven, get a Highlander.

How'd They Do That?
The RAV4's engine makes exactly 103 more horses than the CR-V. But adjusted for 2008 model-year EPA test methods (as each of the 2007 models has been for comparison purposes), the RAV4's V6 earns exactly the same EPA fuel-consumption estimates as the CR-V's inline-4, with a rating of 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway. Our real-world experience backs up these numbers, as the Honda's combined average computes to 20 mpg and compares to the Toyota's 19 mpg.

The RAV4's all-wheel-drive system switches unobtrusively between front- and all-wheel drive based on various conditions in order to maximize fuel economy or traction. The system can be locked into a split of 50 percent front/50 percent rear below 25 mph. The Nissan Rogue employs a similarly intelligent system, but it cannot be manipulated. The Mitsubishi AWD system is perhaps the most advanced, with three modes of driver-selectable operation, but no locking feature. ("4WD Lock" is actually a sportier, rear-biased AWD setting.)

Further enhancing the RAV4's off-road competence is an ABS-derived downhill assist (DAC) that maintains a snail's pace in 1st gear down steep inclines without driver intervention. The flip side to DAC is hill-start assist control (HAC), which keeps the vehicle stationary while starting on a steep or slippery surface. All this helps make the Toyota RAV4 the choice for hauling your gear into the forest.

Speed and Space
The Toyota's horsepower advantage played out decisively at the drag strip, outrunning the rest of the field to 60 mph by between 1.7 to 2.2 seconds. An aggressive (and undefeatable) electronic stability control system relegates the RAV4 to the back of the pack when it comes to delivering grip on the skid pad, but it proved largely permissive in the slalom test, allowing the RAV4 to make the second-fastest run overall at 62.5 mph.

Figuratively stretching a tape measure across all the interior dimensions of these crossovers shows them to be remarkably similar in size. The cargo bays also show remarkably similar volumes with the exception of the Rogue, which loses nearly 15 cubic feet to the competition because its second-row seat is more spacious, while a pop-up package organizer raises the height of the cargo floor. Meanwhile the RAV4's low 23-inch liftover height into the cargo area is friendly to your back, as is its rear hatch that swings open like a door.

The combination of subjective superiority, an overachieving 269-hp V6, impressive features and a competitive price adds up to a winner.

Look, people. Each of these sub-$30,000 crossovers is an outstanding do-it-all vehicle, as you can see from the narrow 2.1-point gap that separates 2nd from 4th place. Choose according to your tastes and needs, but do some homework first. If any of the following are deal breakers, don't choose the vehicle in parentheses: No navigation system offered (RAV4 and Rogue); no V6 offered (CR-V and Rogue); need to tow more than 1,500 pounds (CR-V and Rogue); no third-row seat available (CR-V and Rogue).

Mitsubishi usually packs more fun under the greenhouse than any other Japanese manufacturer, and the Outlander is no exception. We love the way it looks and the way it eagerly plays in the twisty bits, and we wish every vehicle had the Outlander's optional hard-drive music server that records and stores a stack of CDs. Just don't expect third-row passengers to be as enthusiastic about any of this as you might be.

If you're the type who doesn't like to take chances, the 2007 Honda CR-V will suit you just fine. It's the cleverest package, the choice for people who think. With its simplified model range and uncomplicated, undemanding personality, the CR-V is a cup of black coffee in a world where there are those who believe a half-caf, half-decaf, soy, latte macchiato over crushed ice almost sounds normal. The CR-V will get you to work and back. It'll do your errands on Saturday. But it doesn't like to get down and dirty.

The 2008 Nissan Rogue does what few all-new vehicles do well, especially in a mature market. Nissan has learned from the mistakes of others and offered an attractive, competitive package at a fair price. Our chief gripe lies with the CVT, a design that we know works well with a V6 in the Nissan Altima but proves distracting and disagreeable when matched with an inline-4. Still, there's a lot to like in the carlike Rogue and that's why it earned 2nd place.

Finally, if you ever find yourself saying, "Sure, I'll take the upgrade," then the 2007 Toyota RAV4 is the best choice for you. It's the benchmark in this segment. It makes a statement with power, but it backs up the message with fuel economy. It rides well, yet goes anywhere. And it combines utility and carlike comfort in a way that fits in your life in every way. The other guys are catching up, but for now, the Toyota RAV4 is still the one to beat.

Edmunds purchased the Mitsubishi Outlander as part of our long-term test-car fleet. Honda, Nissan and Toyota provided Edmunds with vehicles for the purposes of this evaluation.

Deputy Managing Editor Caroline Pardilla says:
For my money, I'd go for the Toyota RAV4. Sure, there are three other vehicles in this particular battle of the kawaii compact SUVs, but the RAV4 created the segment and still shows everyone how to do it right. The Honda CR-V might be the best-selling SUV, but it looks boring and its performance to 60 mph is tame. The Mitsubishi Outlander is the fairest of the bunch (with shift paddles no less), but what a shameful excuse for a third-row seat, and the sluggish throttle response is a deal-breaker besides.

And don't get me started on the Nissan Rogue. Is it wrong to assume that if you're coming late to the party that you'd have ample time to learn from all the other players? And perhaps offer something new other than a purse holder behind the front passenger seat? As it is, no third-row seat and a high liftover height remind you that this is a dedicated people mover, not a versatile cargo hauler.

On the other hand, the 2007 Toyota RAV4 offers the usability of a large SUV with its adult-rated third-row seat, as well as a low liftover height and fold-flat second-row seats for ease in cargo loading. And yet the RAV4 tackles a freeway on-ramp like a sports car, leaving the other three in the dust. Game over.

With so many crossovers on the road today, and with the continued splintering of the segment, there are various features that are not yet standard throughout the industry. Scoring of features is based upon whether a test vehicle was equipped with a particular feature as standard, optional and included in our as-tested price, optional but not included, or not available at all on that particular model.


2007 Honda CR-V 4WD EX-L Navi 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD 2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD 2007 Toyota RAV4 4WD Limited
Dynamically controlled all-wheel drive N/A S S S
Electronic stability control S S S S
Front-occupant side airbags S S S S
Leather seating O O O O
Lockable all-wheel drive N/A N/A N/A S
Navigation system O O N/A N/A
Premium audio O O O O
Rear-occupant side curtain airbags S S S S
Rollover detection S N/A S S

Dynamically controlled all-wheel drive: Some all-wheel-drive systems use information from a variety of sources to distribute power to either the front or rear axle. If the Honda electronically senses a spinning front wheel, it sends power to the rear axle. The other all-wheel-drive systems in this comparison are far more complex, incorporating information from steering angle, brake/throttle application, yaw sensors, etc., in order to determine the appropriate distribution of driving torque for optimal traction.

Electronic stability control: This technology can help prevent bad things from happening (such as the car going off the road) by automatically and selectively applying the brakes to whichever wheel(s) it deems necessary to correct oversteer (fishtailing) and understeer (plowing) and keep the car on its intended course. It can't, however, repeal the laws of physics.

Front-occupant side airbags: Mounted within either the seats or door panels, these airbags provide torso protection, and sometimes head protection, in the event your vehicle is hit from the side.

Leather seating: The leather-versus-cloth debate rages on when it comes to comfort, cleanliness and durability, but we just thought you should be aware that some have it; some don't.

Lockable all-wheel drive: Many sport-utilities feature all-wheel drive, which means driving torque is likely distributed automatically to the front or rear wheels, and thus the wheels with the most traction. Some of these all-wheel-drive systems also have a way of locking front and rear axles together manually so they turn simultaneously. This lockable AWD option improves traction when the trail turns to deep sand or if you're trying to pull a boat out of the water on a slippery ramp.

Navigation system: It used to be a luxury item, but now navigation systems are everywhere — except in the Nissan or Toyota where they aren't even available.

Premium audio: Like navigation, premium audio systems are now quite common, and optional for all four of these crossovers.

Rear-occupant side curtain airbags: Side curtain airbags protect occupants from head injuries in a side impact or rollover (if so equipped — see Rollover detection below) by inflating between the heads of the occupants and the windows. Some sport-utilities (and minivans) feature protection for all three rows of seats; others only cover the first two rows. The Mitsubishi's side curtains extend to the third-row seats; the Toyota's do not.

Rollover detection: Many manufacturers are now promoting a safety feature in which a combination of vehicle sensors interact with predetermined protocols to deploy side curtain airbags prior to an impending vehicle rollover (and remain inflated for a sustained period). This protects outboard seat occupants from the obvious dangers of potentially lethal head injuries.

2007 Honda CR-V EX-L Navi

Overall Grade: A-
Brand Name: N/A
Watts: 270
Speakers: 7
Optional Equipment: Optional to CR-V line, but standard on this model
Price if optional: N/A
CD Player: Six-disc changer
Formats: CD, MP3, WMA
Aux Jack: Yes
iPod-Specific Connection: No
Hard Drive: No
Bluetooth for phone: No
Subwoofer: Yes

How does it sound: B
The sound quality overall is better than average. The addition of a subwoofer really gives the sound a nice, full quality and the bass it delivers is not prone to a lot of distortion. Occasionally, bass can get boomy but it's well controlled for the most part.

The highs aren't always well defined but are crisp enough to add a little detail to most tracks. Midrange, which usually means vocals, is especially clear. Separation is also good.

How does it work: B+
Operation of the sound system is easy and intuitive for the most part, but there is one drawback to opting for the nav system. The navigation screen forces the CD changer to move to the center console. To load a CD into the magazine-type changer you have to eject the cartridge, slide little drawers out, put the CD in, then slide it back in and reinsert the cartridge. It's not the end of the world, but multi-CD changers from Audi and VW accomplish the same task without making you fumble with a magazine. To Honda's credit, the changer doesn't seem to excessively infringe on storage space.

Also, we like the fact that the center-mounted touchscreen houses most of the audio functions, but that screen also contains a lot of information and can occasionally be confusing.

Special features: This upgraded audio system sounds very good but we give it a high score mainly because of its flexibility and ability to play music from many different types of media. It can handle MP3s, WMAs, PC card and traditional CDs, and it has an auxiliary jack for portable MP3 players, as well as XM radio capability. You can't ask for more than that.

Conclusion: With excellent flexibility and great sound, CR-V owners who opt for the EX-L will be pleasantly surprised with this premium sound system. — Brian Moody, Road Test Editor

2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS AWD

Overall Grade: B-

Brand Name: Rockford Fosgate
Watts: 650
Speakers: 9
Optional Equipment: Navigation package adds a 30-gig hard drive that stores music and includes Gracenote software. Sun & Sound Package includes 650-watt Rockford Fosgate stereo and six months of Sirius Satellite Radio.
Price if optional: Accessory Nav package $2,190 Sun & Sound Package $1,580
CD Player: Six-disc changer
Formats: MP3, WMA, CD-R/R-W, DVD video (Video won't play in front seat while car is in motion.)
Aux Jack: Dealer-installed option for portable MP3 playback
iPod-Specific Connection: No
Hard Drive: Yes
Bluetooth for phone: Yes
Subwoofer: Yes

How does it sound: B
Overall the sound is very good, but perhaps not as rich as we expected, especially since Mitsubishi has made high-quality sound systems and hip music a cornerstone of the brand. Bass is rich and deep but distortion in the highs comes in too soon. Midrange sounds good, and you don't have to dial the mids out in order to get good, clean sound — a definite plus.

The system has the added feature of DSP (digital signal processing), which produces various sound profiles. Although settings like "Rock," "Pop" and "Jazz" work well, we found the "Normal" setting sounded best. There are also settings such as "Live" and "Hall," which especially delivers a noticeable feel of surround sound.

If you like loud, you'll love this optional system. Considering the Outlander's price and the optional hard drive, this whole system will please an audiophile on a moderate budget.

How does it work: B-
With the optional navigation system and Rockford Fosgate audio system, the Outlander's head unit is trying to accomplish a lot in a limited space. For the most part, all the features work well. One area of compromise we don't like is the lack of a simple, round knob for the volume control. Volume control is the one thing that absolutely should be a round rotating knob — most consumers expect it and there's little reason to deviate from that norm. We can almost accept a rocker switch for station tuning, but we think most people prefer a round knob there, too. Accessing the bass and treble adjustments is easy enough once you figure it out, but it isn't instantly intuitive.

On the other hand, we like many of the Outlander's thoughtful features. For example, while listening to music from the hard drive you can scroll through the list to find or sort songs, and a touchscreen button pops up to navigate you right back to the track that's currently playing. The Gracenote software automatically names stored CD tracks — an excellent feature that makes it easy to keep track of your stored music.

Special features: A 30-gigabyte hard drive is included as part of the navigation system, but only 24 gigs of memory are consumed by the nav system. This leaves 6 gigs for storing music. It doesn't sound like much, but it should be good for close to 1,000 songs (depending on the size of each file). The hard drive has interesting features, like "Top 50" that shows you the 50 songs you've listened to most often within the last 30 days. Don't blame us if High School Musical shows up closer to the top than you thought it should; computers don't lie.

Conclusion: Recently, Mitsubishi has made a serious push to offer in-car audio systems that are in keeping with the brand's youthful image. The Eclipse, Gallant Ralliart and now the Outlander are all examples of a car company getting it when it comes to giving you in-car audio that delivers a big bang without the big bucks. — Brian Moody, Road Test Editor

2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD

Overall Grade: A

Brand Name: Bose
Watts: N/A
Speakers: 7
Optional Equipment: Part of the Premium Package
Price if optional: N/A
CD Player: Six-disc changer
Formats: CD, MP3
Aux Jack: Yes
iPod-Specific Connection: No
Hard Drive: No
Bluetooth for phone: Yes, part of the Premium Package
Subwoofer: Yes

How does it sound: A
This optional Bose stereo sounds very good and is easily the best among these compact SUVs. The bass is deep and pretty rich, although we'd like a little more punch given that a subwoofer is part of the package.

Highs add nice detail and only distort slightly at higher volumes. The positioning of the three front speakers is just about perfect, as the front soundstage has both depth and presence. There's no midrange adjustment, something we expect in a premium sound system. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to matter much, as vocals and other midrange tones sound great — clear, detailed vocal reproduction is what this system does best. From the gruff Kurt Cobain to the lilting Julieta Venegas, the vocals have a texture that makes listening to all types of music fun. Acoustic guitar also sounds very nice.

How does it work: A
Simple and straightforward, the Nissan head unit has no surprises, and everything is where it should be. We especially like the way the CD changer function moves to the selected disc with a simple press of the corresponding button on the dash. Every CD changer should work this way.

Redundant steering-wheel-mounted controls (also part of the Premium Package) are well placed for the most part. In a perfect world, the often-used volume control would move up to where the voice command button now resides. As it is, adjusting the volume feels like an unnatural move when driving.

Special features: The upgraded Bose audio system is an option but it comes in a larger package. It's hard to know just the price of the stereo as the package includes XM Satellite Radio, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, speed-sensitive volume control, paddle shifters, drive computer, outside temperature display, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, xenon headlights and Intelligent Key.

Conclusion: On paper, Nissan's Rogue doesn't offer any special features above and beyond what we'd expect from a loaded compact SUV. Its sound system doesn't really offer more features than the competition; what it does have is excellent sound quality. Judged on sound alone, the Rogue's Bose stereo is the best in its class. — Brian Moody, Road Test Editor

2007 Toyota RAV4 Limited 4x4

Overall Grade: C+

Brand Name: JBL
Watts: 440
Speakers: 9
Optional Equipment: Yes
Price if optional: $640
CD Player: Six-disc changer
Formats: CD, MP3
Aux Jack: Yes
iPod-Specific Connection: No
Hard Drive: No
Bluetooth for phone: Yes
Subwoofer: Yes

How does it sound: C
The sound quality of this optional system is clearly better than the stock system, but overall it is only a little above average. Even with the optional system's subwoofer, the bass is just OK. It's prominent enough, but it lacks true kick and can tend to be muddy when the volume is turned up. We found the best sound profile is to have the bass and treble boosted almost all the way up with the mids at about +1. But, hey, this means the stereo has a midrange adjustment and we like that.

The highs are never overwhelming but even with the treble bumped up to +3 or so, much of the music lacks detail. The system sounds very good overall but there is a softness to the sound that can detract from some harder-edged music. The Nissan's newest Bose system offers a more aggressive sound when you want it.

How does it work: B
The display and controls are all Toyota-style, which is to say they are practical and functional. The head unit is mounted high and the buttons are large and easy to use with just a glance. Even so, the steering-wheel-mounted controls are the likely access point for most drivers. These simple buttons are clustered clearly on the left side of the wheel. Like the rest of the car's controls, the ones for audio are very intuitive to use.

Special features: This optional stereo lacks any real special qualities. It has the bases covered, so it includes a subwoofer, multi-disc CD changer and auxiliary jack, but vehicles like the CR-V and Rouge offer more.

Conclusion: Like the RAV4 itself, the optional JBL stereo is a step up, but ultimately lacks a wow factor. While the sound quality lacks edge, the system overall is easy to use and blends seamlessly into the driving experience. — Brian Moody, Road Test Editor

Engine & Transmission Specifications
Warranty Information
Performance Information


Exterior Dimensions & Capacities
2007 Honda CR-V 4WD EX-L Navi 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD 2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD 2007 Toyota RAV4 4WD Limited
Length, in. 177.9 182.7 182.9 181.1
Width, in. 71.6 70.9 70.9 71.5
Height, in. 66.1 67.7 65.3 66.3
Wheelbase, in. 103.1 105.1 105.9 104.7
Manufacturer Curb Weight, lb. 3,527 3,887 3,544 3,690
Turning Circle, ft. 37.8 34.8 37.4 34.8
Interior Dimensions
2007 Honda CR-V 4WD EX-L Navi 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD 2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD 2007 Toyota RAV4 4WD Limited
Front headroom, in. 38.9 40.3 39.3 39.5
Rear headroom, in. 38.5 38.3 37.6 39.7
Front shoulder room, in. 56.9 56.4 55.9 57.1
Rear shoulder room, in. 56.0 56.1 53.6 55.3
Front legroom, in. 41.3 41.6 42.5 41.6
Rear legroom, in. 38.5 36.8 35.3 38.3
Cargo Dimensions
2007 Honda CR-V 4WD EX-L Navi 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD 2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD 2007 Toyota RAV4 4WD Limited
Cargo liftover height, in 28.5 25.0 28.5 23.0
Hatch grab handle height, in 72.0 73.0 75.0 N/A
Cargo volume behind third row, cu ft N/A 14.9 N/A 12.0
Cargo volume behind second row, cu ft 35.7 36.2 28.9 37.2
Cargo volume behind first row, cu ft 72.9 72.6 57.9 73.0

Engine & Transmission Specifications

Engine & Transmission
2007 Honda CR-V 4WD EX-L Navi 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD 2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD 2007 Toyota RAV4 4WD Limited
(cc / cu-in):
Engine Type Inline-4 V6 Inline-4 V6
Horsepower (SAE) @ rpm 166 @ 5,800 220 @ 6,250 170 @ 6,000 269 @ 6,200
Max. Torque, lb-ft @ rpm 161 @ 4,200 204 @ 4,000 175 @ 4,400 246 @ 4,700
Transmission 5-speed auto 6-speed auto Continuously variable 5-speed auto
2008 EPA Fuel Economy City, mpg 19* 17* 21 19*
2008 EPA Fuel Economy Hwy, mpg 26* 23* 26 26*
Edmunds Observed Fuel Economy combined, (best/worst) mpg 20 (22/14) 18 (22/14) 22 (27/19) 19 (23/15)
* Adjusted for 2008-model year EPA test methods for fuel economy


Warranty Information
2007 Honda CR-V 4WD EX-L Navi 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD 2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD 2007 Toyota RAV4 4WD Limited
Basic Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain 5 years/60,000 miles 10 years/100,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Roadside Assistance Dealer option 5 years/Unlimited miles 3 years/36,000 miles Dealer option
Corrosion Protection 5 years/Unlimited miles 7 years/100,000 miles 5 years/Unlimited miles 5 years/Unlimited miles


Performance Information
2007 Honda CR-V 4WD EX-L Navi 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD 2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD 2007 Toyota RAV4 4WD Limited
0-60 mph acceleration, sec. 9.5 9.0 9.2 7.3
Quarter-mile acceleration, sec. 17.0 16.8 16.9 15.3
Quarter-mile speed, mph 75.5 83.4 83.4 90.9
60-0-mph braking, feet 131 130 123 128
Lateral Acceleration, g 0.75 0.77 0.79 0.74
600-ft slalom, mph 63.0 61.9 61.5 62.5

Final Rankings

Final Rankings
Item Weight 2007 Toyota RAV4 4WD Limited 2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD 2007 Honda CR-V 4WD EX-L Navi 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD
Personal Rating 2.5% 81.3 37.5 56.3 75.0
Recommended Rating 2.5% 81.3 37.5 93.8 37.5
Evaluation Score 20% 76.5 73.9 77.3 73.8
Feature Content 25% 77.8 70.4 66.7 66.7
Performance 25% 93.3 68.8 57.4 67.5
Price 25% 96.9 100.0 99.7 92.6
Total Score 100.0% 86.4 76.4 75.1 74.3
Final Ranking 1 2 3 4

Personal Rating (2.5%): Purely subjective. After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the vehicles in order of preference based on which he or she would buy if money were no object.

Recommended Rating (2.5%): After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the vehicles in order of preference based on which he or she thought would be best for the average consumer shopping in this segment.

30-Point Evaluation (20%): Each participating editor ranked every vehicle based on a comprehensive 30-point evaluation. The evaluation covered everything from exterior design to yaw delay. Scoring was calculated on a point system, and the scores listed are averages based on all test participants' evaluations.

Feature Content (25%): For this category, the editors picked the top nine features they thought would be most beneficial to the consumer shopping in this segment. Standard and optional equipment were taken into consideration. A vehicle that arrives to the comparison test with a bagful of standard equipment earns more points. Conversely, an otherwise equally priced vehicle that lacks the former's equipment will not score as well.

Performance Testing (25%): As their moniker suggests, crossovers are designed to cross over the line between cars and sport-utilities. For this comparison, we subjected each participant to our normal battery of instrumented track testing, as well as everyday commuting chores. As a test to see if each one could fulfill the promise of a minimum of off-highway use, we chose increasingly difficult trails and sandy riverbeds in a designated off-highway-vehicle (OHV) site to separate the non-off-road-worthy from the pack.

Price (25%): The numbers listed were the result of a simple percentage calculation based on the least expensive vehicle in the comparison test. Using the "as tested" prices of the actual evaluation vehicles, the least expensive vehicle received a score of 100, with the remaining vehicles receiving lesser scores based on how much each one costs.

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