RAV4 comes in three models: LE, XLE, and Limited. The Limited is the most expensive and offers the most amenities. All RAV4 models have an eye-catching exterior and an interior that is soft, with seductive materials that can take you places in luxury and comfort.
The LE is the entry level and comes in at less than $24,000, but offers ample exterior features like 17-inch steel wheels, projector-beam headlights, color-keyed rear spoiler, and power outside mirrors. Backup camera, 6.1-inch Display Audio, soft touch interior accents, power windows, and door locks and remote key entry system are also standard.
The middle model is the XLE ($26,000) and it adds features including front seats with sport bolsters, integrated fog lights, power moonroof, dual-zone climate control, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The $27,010 Limited trim adds, among others, SofTex and leather interior, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat, 18-inch alloy wheels, Smart Key System, and Programmable Power Liftgate. The Entune Premium Audio on the Limited model includes Navigation, Entune App Suite, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a free 90-day all-access trial.
There is a Multi-Information Display that adds to your welcome. I would have preferred the screen to be somewhat larger with a button specifically for navigation that is initially visible. The leather-wrapped steering wheel houses audio, Bluetooth, voice recognition, and Multi-Information controls. The most impressive thing about the interior was the beautiful two-tone terracotta seats.
The RAV4 has 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded, and the RAV4’s low load-in height lets everyone get themselves and their gear in and out easily. The 60/40 fold-down, second row seats recline by simply pulling a handle, and offer the occupants more than 37 inches of leg room.
The Power Liftgate is height adjustable, making it easy for my wife to retrieve items from the back, and for me to unload things when parked in the garage. Just position the liftgate to your ideal height, press and hold the button on the liftgate, listen for the beep—you’re finished. The liftgate also has jam protection as you adjust to your custom height.
The Limited and XLE have dual zone automatic climate control that allows you to regulate your own environment. The Limited also has SofTex trimmed seats that offer multiple stages of warmth. I never realized what a quality technology this was until the U.S. suffered numerous days of bad, cold weather over the holidays. Just getting out of the car was terrible. I kept thinking how nice, warm, and toasty it was inside the RAV4.
The RAV4 is every bit a driving machine. It sits up high, and has easily read knobs and buttons to dispatch your instructions. It corners well and holds the line on angular roadways. The front seats are more than adequate for both size and comfort. Though small, the navigation screen has good color texture and highlighted restaurants and stations on the travel route.
The RAV4’s standard 2.5 liter 4-cylinder DOHC engine produces 176 horsepower, along with 172 lb.-ft. of torque. There is also Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) technology. Long roads become shorter and bumpy roads become smooth. And with estimated mileage of 24 city and 31 highway, driving costs less.
The six-speed transmission allows impressive acceleration and improved fuel economy. The electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) provides optimized power output. Adjust to the Eco mode for a little adventure, yet save some money.
The sleek, aerodynamic body not only has good looks but offers great efficiency. The Sport mode gives spirit to the drive and a better feel for the road in the turn.
The RAV4, like all Toyota products, has a variety of active and passive safety features including: Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Brake System, Electronic Break-force Distribution, Smart Stop Technology, and eight standard airbags, to name a few. But my favorite is the LATCH System, which stands for “Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.”
Exclusively for the Limited model, there is a technology package for an additional $1,400 that includes Blind Spot Monitor with Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Alert, and Auto High Beam.
36 months/36,000 mile Basic Warranty
60 months/60,000 mile Powertrain Warranty
60 months/unlimited mile Rust Through Warranty
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or [email protected]