The RAV4 SUV has three models to choose from, all with body-on-frame construction. Each seats 5 and has 42.6 and 37.2 inches front/rear leg room, plus 73.4 cu. ft. cargo volume behind the front seat.
The entry-level LE model offers quite a collection of entries like power door and window locks and air conditioning with cabin air filter. Eco and Sport modes are standard for all models. Entune Audio with a 6.1″ touch-screen housing multi-information display and backup camera, privacy glass, and soft-touch interior accents are part of the entry-level RAV4, starting at $23,680.
The XLE is the midrange model offering everything in the LE model plus items like dual-zone automatic climate control, power tilt/slide steering wheel, moon roof, French-stitching accents, and Entune Audio Plus. MSRP is $25,240.
The Limited was my drive vehicle model and was most impressive. Besides all the items displayed in the first two models, the Limited adds SofTex-trimmed 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with memory function and power lumbar support, providing additional comforts.
The infotainment system also steps up to Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite. The Smart Key System and Push Button start, plus automatic height-adjustable headlights make RAV4 easy to start and easier for you to see. Height-adjustable power lift gate with jam protection allowed access to the trunk sporting 38.4 cu. ft. of storage.
The RAV4 sits tall (6.3-inch ground clearance) and the Limited rests on 18-inch alloy wheels instead of 17. The MSRP is $28,450.
The RAV4 has a 2.5 L 4-cylinder engine featuring DOHC 16-valve with Dual VVT-i, which puts down 176 hp at 6,000 rpm and 172 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm. This sweetheart is sporty, yet the engine gets 30-highway mpg, and drops to 26 mpg average for combined driving.
Don’t let the 4-cylinder motor fool you. The 6-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) married to that engine allows you to kick a little buttock. When you are passing on a super highway or narrow country lane and need extra thrust, just set your jaw, press the pedal, and “let her rip.” The torque won’t pop your neck, but will rattle unsettled dentures.
It doesn’t matter whether you drive on a straight-away in the Texas Panhandle, dodge snow drifts near Boston, or approach a San Francisco fog bank, you can’t help but feel good about driving the RAV4.
The RAV4 handles well and easily parks while stroking your ego like a soft hand on the tummy of a fluffy kitty.
There is plenty of room, great visibility, and a remarkable price, which all add to good reasons for buying one.
Some SUVs give the feeling of being a box or top-heavy vehicle, especially on a curve or in high winds. But the RAV4 seems sure-footed, regardless of terrain or weather. A good-quality, safe SUV under $30,000. Seems like a good buy.
Standard safety features include 8 airbags (Appreciate the driver’s knee airbag), plus Star Safety System:
Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
Traction Control (TRAC)
Antilock Brake System (ABS)
Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD)
Break Assist (BA)
Smart Stop Technology (SST)
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or email@example.com