2019 Lexus NX Series vs. 2019 Toyota Rav4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus NX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Toyota Rav4 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The NX Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Rav4 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The NX Series has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the NX Series and the Rav4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the NX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Rav4 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The NX Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-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 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the NX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Toyota covers the Rav4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Rav4 ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The NX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Rav4’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Toyota vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Toyota is ranked second.

Engine

The NX 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 184) than the Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The NX 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 32 more horsepower (235 vs. 203) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 184) than the Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Lexus NX Series is faster than the Toyota Rav4:

 

NX 300h

NX 300

Rav4

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

6.9 sec

8.8 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

15.3 sec

16.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.5 MPH

91 MPH

83.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the NX Series 300h’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the NX Series 300h’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Rav4 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The NX Series’ standard fuel tank has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Rav4 (15.9 vs. 14.5 gallons).

Transmission

The NX 300h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the NX Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Rav4:

 

NX Series

Rav4

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12 inches

The NX Series stops much shorter than the Rav4:

 

NX Series

Rav4

 

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The NX Series offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Rav4’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The NX Series 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.

The NX 300h AWD handles at .80 G’s, while the Rav4 Limited pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The NX 300 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the Rav4 Limited (27.2 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The NX Series has 1.8 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front hip room and 6.2 inches more rear hip room than the Rav4.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the NX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Rav4 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the NX Series. The Rav4 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

The NX Series’ liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The Rav4’s swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Lexus third in service department satisfaction. With a 44% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 17th.

Ergonomics

The NX Series’ instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Rav4 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The NX Series’ standard 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.

The NX Series has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Rav4 has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the NX Series F Sport has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Rav4 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The NX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The NX Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Toyota charges extra for heated mirrors on the Rav4.

When the NX Series with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Rav4’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The NX Series offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Rav4 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The NX Series has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Rav4 XLE/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus NX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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