Performing comparison tests are great for discovering the tiniest detail differences between models within a specific category. Driving them back-to-back, on the same day, and in the same conditions provides us with valuable data on which ones are the best. Because, let’s be honest, there are no bad new cars or trucks for sale anymore.
Usually, our plan is to round up the new or redesigned models in a category and pit them against our current favourites, such as Auto123.com Award
winners or victors of previous comparison tests. A good old Toyota RAV4
and a brand new Ford Escape
were among the six competitors we took on our latest comparo drive of compact crossovers. And one thing hit me:
In its current form, the RAV4 has been around since 2005, launched as a 2006 model. The 2013 Ford Escape is all new for the US and Canada and is based on the European Ford Kuga, but tailored for the North American market.
|Photo: Michel Deslauriers
The Toyota looks old, mostly because its styling is so familiar with so many on the road today. The Ford looks modern, edgy, sophisticated.
The RAV4 uses a good, old 2.5L four, which develops 179 hp. The Escape we tested boasts a 1.6L turbo-four with direct injection, good for 178 hp and better fuel consumption ratings.
Technologically speaking, the RAV4 can be equipped with Bluetooth, a navigation system and an intelligent key system. That’s about it. In the Escape, you can get a MyFord Touch infotainment system, active park assist (i.e., it parks by itself) and a blind-spot monitor -- all stuff the Toyota doesn’t offer yet.
On paper, the Ford is better equipped, more fuel efficient, more sophisticated and, well, newer.
Yet, despite its age, the Toyota RAV4 has more interior space. Its outward visibility is better (function over form, right?). It still offers a great ride. It’s just as versatile as it was in 2005. It’s as fuel efficient as the Ford’s 1.6L EcoBoost. OK, I’ll stop there; let’s not spoil the results of our upcoming comparison test.
Bottom line: Some vehicles age gracefully, some don’t. However, in this case, when you compare a 6-year-old design to a new one, they don’t seem worlds apart anymore; at least not to the average consumer who is simply looking for an affordable, reliable, cheap-to-run and easy-to-live-with vehicle.
Is the “newness” factor really important to you? Or would you rather get a good deal on a car or truck that’s been around for a while?