By on February 16, 2016

2016 Toyota RAV4 LImited Exterior

2016 Toyota RAV4 Limited

2.5-liter, DOHC I-4, CVVT (176 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 172 lbs-ft @ 4,100 rpm)

Six-speed automatic

22 city/29 highway/25 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

23.9 (Observed, MPG)

Base Price: $25,235*

As Tested: $35,625*

* Prices include $885 destination charge.

Compact crossovers are big business and the Toyota RAV4 is one of the segment’s corporate all-stars.

In 2015, the RAV4 almost outsold Mazda. I’m not talking about the RAV4 outselling the Mazda CX-5, which it did handily by over 200,000 units. No, I’m talking about the RAV4 outselling Mazda in its entirely. Everything Mazda sells. All model sales put together. The RAV4 almost outsold MAZDA.

Toyota’s fourth-generation crossover has received a nip-tuck to keep it fresh after just three model years on the market. Its lineup is bolstered this year with the addition of the new RAV4 Hybrid, which we’ll be getting our hands on that in a few weeks. In the meantime, let’s take a deep dive into the second best-selling CUV in the USA in traditional gas-burner guise.

Exterior
The RAV4 and Honda CR-V kickstarted the compact crossover craze in the ’90s with unibody vehicles styled like mini-trucks. Over time, the industry evolved and replaced those rough-and-tumble SUVs with the minivan-esque people haulers we see today. To wit: The 2013 Toyota RAV4 reduced ground clearance to 6.3 inches, ditched the rear tire and squared off its rear to swallow more cubic feet of stuff.

Dimensions and hard points for the refreshed 2016 model remain unchanged, and the RAV4 remains one of the longer compact CUVs in the segment at 181.1 inches (close to half a foot longer than the new Hyundai Tucson), but it still doesn’t offer third-row seating like its generational predecessor or the Nissan Rogue.

Many automakers adorn their vehicles with common corporate designs, and Toyota has resisted that urge — until now. The new front end borrows cues from the Murai and Prius, and LED headlamps are now optional. While the look is more distinctive than the previous bumper, it’s still not my cup of tea.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Limited Interior-008

Interior
Toyota has made no drastic changes to the RAV4’s innards and has opted to refine the existing cabin instead.

Awkward shapes and textures aplenty will distress the OCD crowd, and you’ll still find hard plastics strewn about the RAV4’s cabin. Yet, quality remains high and harder plastics are generally kept out of reach.

Stitched pleather inserts snazz up the main dashboard much like the more expensive Toyota Avalon. The previously featured low-rent steering wheel is now restricted to base trims and makes other grades feel more premium in comparison. But, faux carbon fiber trim located in high-traffic areas around the cupholder and window switches has a finish that’s far too eager to wear the war wounds of daily service.

The RAV4 refresh does address some complaints I had about the 2014 model. Seats now provide more bolstering, and a power seat with adjustable lumbar support is now available. Yet those upgraded seats still can’t be had wrapped in genuine cowhide; our limited model uses the same SofTex faux-moo that Lexus uses in its base models. Front seats are a little less comfortable than those in the Nissan Rogue, but they’re softer and better suited to my six-foot frame than the average CUV.

Rear legroom and cargo room are exceptional thanks to the RAV4’s overall length. You’ll find a cargo area that’s 33-percent larger in the RAV4 than the segment average, or roughly the same size as a Ford Edge or Lexus RX. Folding the rear seats flat increases that volume to 73.4 cubic feet, allowing for storage of 4×6-foot items with the right amount of juggling.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Limited Interior-002

Infotainment
In a segment where base modes usually receive hand-me-down stereos, Toyota surprises. The LE trim starts with six speakers, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth speakerphone integration, a single-slot CD player, backup camera and full USB/iPod integration with voice commands as standard. XLE and SE trims receive the same screen and number of speakers, but a software upgrade to Entune Plus adds HD Radio, smartphone-based navigation, and HD Radio-sourced traffic and weather displays. Limited trim models swap in a 7-inch touchscreen with navigation and smartphone app integration. If you care enough about your tunes to check an extra option box, there’s an 11-speaker JBL system with subwoofer in available in SE and Limited grades.

Toyota’s Entune software received important updates back in 2014, and it still compares well to GM’s latest systems with its snappy interface and easy to navigate design. HD Radio downloads traffic and weather data for free, eliminating the need for an XM subscription for those features. Toyota has also killed its subscription-based Entune smartphone integrated services such as Pandora, OpenTable and Bing. CarPlay and Android Auto integration are suspiciously absent, but you’ll find them in the Tucson and new Sportage if the exemption of those by Toyota is a deal breaker.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Engine

Drivetrain
Toyota killed off the RAV4’s V6 back 2013, leaving just the 2.5-liter inline-four as the sole powerplant. Toyota’s logic was this: the RAV4’s main competitor is the CR-V and that model is offered solely as a four cylinder.

Output figures for the 2.5 liter are in line with the competition at 176 horsepower and 172 lbs-ft of torque — yet fuel economy figures are middling. You should expect 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway in front-wheel-drive trim, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s two miles-per-gallon behind the CR-V and Tucson Eco.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Limited Interior-001

Drive
Our tester was equipped with the optional $1,400 AWD system — and that changed the character of the RAV4 in unexpected ways.

The system uses a multi-plate clutch pack like most crossovers, but Toyota’s software is peculiar in that the driver can fully lock the coupling electronically. It acts like a traditional four-wheel-drive system with a locked center differential when driving below 25 mph. You’ll even experience driveline binding if it’s engaged on pavement. Go over that 25 mph limit and the lock disengages, allowing a single axle to receive 100 percent of available engine power when the other axle is slipping. Even more of a surprise: Engaging sport mode shifts an unexpected amount of power to the rear and makes the RAV4 feel more like an all-wheel-drive Audi.

While the all-wheel-drive system is an engaging partner, the suspension and steering are more highway cruiser than corner carver. Our Limited model wore 235/55R18 tires, yet its road holding ability was squarely middle of the pack due to its soft suspension manifesting itself with plenty of body roll, and a steering rack that was too overboosted and disengaged for spirited driving.

2016 Toyota RAV4 LImited Exterior-005

The biggest dynamic challenge for the RAV4 is acceleration. At 3.4 seconds to 30 mph and 8.9 seconds to 60, the RAV4 is almost the slowest crossover we’ve tested recently, besting only the base 2.0-liter Mazda CX-5. The traditional six-speed auto and lack of a turbocharged engine option are the two main reasons for the lackluster performance. The CR-V is only a little more powerful, but its CVT helped it run to 60 mph a full second faster than the Toyota. The 25 mpg combined EPA rating and our 24 mpg average were also notably behind much of the competition. On the other hand, the hybrid model will easily return over 30 mpg — making it the most efficient — while also improving acceleration.

While the Ford, Mazda, Hyundai and even Honda crossovers have become firmer and more “European” over time, Toyota has stuck with a compliant suspension tune. If a long highway trip is in your future, the RAV4 is going to be the most comfortable companion by far.

Following the trend of bringing luxury features down market, Toyota now makes most of the Lexus feature set optional on the RAV. Our Limited trim had radar adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, LED headlamps, and an Infiniti-like 360-degree camera system.

2016 Toyota RAV4 LImited Exterior-006

Toyota has a history of playing to the “meat” of every segment. Rarely does Toyota build anything extreme, be it the cheapest car in its class, the most expensive, fastest, slowest, etc. That describes the RAV4 to a tee. I wasn’t offended after a week with the RAV4 — but neither was I enraptured. Toyota’s trucklet is reasonably priced, ranging from $24,350 to $35,715, and in most trims represents a decent (but not extreme) value compared to the competition. Yes, the CX-5 is more exciting, but the base engine is slower than the Toyota, and the other trims will actually cost you more. Hyundai’s new Tucson disappointed me when it came to interior quality and the way they chose to bundle features causes the Toyota to be a better buy in mid-level trims. The CR-V is quieter, but it’s also $1,500 to $2,000 more expensive.

Oddly enough, the RAV4 is more capable than any of those crossovers in mud or snow thanks to the locking center coupling. While you’ll find this feature in some Cherokee models, you won’t find a fully locking coupling in the Subaru Forester.

Why are the RAV4’s sales so high when there are more fun options out there? The reasons can be found in its strong value proposition, a soft ride about which journalists often complain, included scheduled maintenance and Toyota’s reputation for reliability.

The 2016 RAV4 isn’t going to like many souls on fire, but it gives the average CUV shopper more of what they obviously want.

Toyota provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 3.4 seconds

0-60: 8.9 seconds

1/4 mile: 16.7 @ 84 mph

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

189 Comments on “2016 Toyota RAV4 Review – The Soft Soft-roader...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The awkward shapes and mismatched textures put me in mind of another SUV…

    The Montero, from 1988. Good lord it’s a mess in there. Unacceptable at $35,000.

    Also I think the trim around the switches and cup holder is faux wood grain, not faux carbon fiber. I don’t see any of the weave detail present when I think of faux carbon fiber.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      That said, this interior immediately bests the CR-V by offering a volume knob.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Dave has priorities.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        But has it got SUPER AWESOME-O TAILGATE SPEAKERS!? That is the most gigantic ad fail I’ve seen in a while. Honestly the money would have been better spent harping on interior quality, or visor mirrors, or something.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          “the most gigantic ad fail I’ve seen in a while”

          I’m gonna nominate the Ridgeline’s bed speakers.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I guess I’m the only one has ever done yard work, worked on a vehicle, job site, or worked outside in general.

            I must be the only one here that does physical work haha.

            Also plus +10 to Dave, a vehicle without a volume and tune knob is automatically off my list of purchasable vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “I must be the only one here that does physical work haha.”

            You may be the only one who still has to. BAFO, too, maybe. Hard to discern through his gibberish.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “I guess I’m the only one has ever done yard work, worked on a vehicle, job site, or worked outside in general.”

            I do the second one all the time. I just don’t listen to the radio in that situation.

            Admittedly, I’m not big into yard work though.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Hey, I’m a farmer. Well, not in the winter. Only 4 of our normal-use tractors are open-station, but 3 of them are so loud you have to wear ear protection. You can wear radio or aux jack earmuffs if you want, but even under the cans you won’t hear much over the engine.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Hummer – you jest?

            My dad used to tell my brother and I, “Get an education. You can easily keep lifting with your brain when you get old but that isn’t the case with your back.”

            I’ve done my share of manual labour and that is why I listened to my dad!

          • 0 avatar
            SpinnyD

            A bluetooth capable boombox will work with my iPhone and won’t leave me with a car that won’t start after a few hours of playing. Been there, Done that.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I’ll tell you this much, my grandfather had a degree in engineering and he still worked outside of his house as long as he lived for, you won’t find me sitting on a couch or directing people from a chair. Tending a garden, cutting up trees, working on whatever needs to be worked on. Doesn’t matter what your doing, being outside is still healthy for the brain and body no matter your age, plus walking outside and smelling that fresh (insert season) air never gets old.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The correct answer for “music while outside” is one of those Black & Decker sturdy boomboxes.

            Take it with you.
            Is very sturdy and won’t break.
            Doesn’t drain your battery.

            Anyone doing any -serious- work outside, let’s face it, isn’t going to have a Ridgeline anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I’ll give you that.
            Truck music is for in a pinch I’ll finish whatever I’m doing in < 1 hour.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            RideHeight,
            I’m worried about you. Do you have some fetish for me?

            As for hard yakka, I’ve done my share when I was a younger man.

            I’ve worked on farms, drove every kind of tractor and loader, from John Deeres, David Browns, Hinnomoto if you’ve ever heard of that brand and even a Zetor.

            One job I worked I even drove a Case W22(?) articulated front end loader that had a 10 yard bucket.

            As a chippy I did form work and concreting to frame bashing. I gave all that up and decided to use my brains.

            I suppose I’d better stop. I might be turning you on a little here and you might start violating yourself.

          • 0 avatar

            Maybe I’m reading to much into this, but sometimes there seems to be a lot of disrespect for blue collar workers on here. I had lots of opportunity to go to college when I was younger (would have been paid for to) but I decided early on I preferred to work with my hands and went to trade school. Oddly enough and likely do to the skill sets that would have allowed me to have gone to college I was quickly promoted at my early full time jobs to management where I have more or less stayed in (at least staying white collar) these positions. Now in my mid 30’s I really miss working with my hands and would take a job doing it again if it paid the same. (3 kids to take care) So now I resign my self to try and make enough money so I can start my own business working with my hands again as my kids get older. I should also note some of the hardest working blue collar workers I knew lived well into their 90’s one was still working a side job landscaping at 78.
            In short blue collar work can often be a choice (not a curse) and sometimes a good one just not usually for your wallet.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, good. Finally a crossover review summary I like. “isn’t going to like many souls on fire.” Who wants a CUV that likes something like that?

  • avatar
    VW16v

    When we test drove the RAV4 last year it seemed that the front seat bolstering was at odd uncomfortable places? Does the 2016 have more bolstering or are they just updated to be more comfortable from last year’s model? Other than the painful front seats it seems like a solid cuv.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Fresh from car show, I have to say, I love to seat in RAV4. For that matter, every Toyota truck, I loved to seat in. Highlander, Rav4, 4Runner – all had great comfort for the driver. I understand, sitting in it is not the same as driving it. But it was pleasant. Where, in contrast, in Mini Clubman, it wasn’t.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “soft suspension manifesting itself with plenty of body roll,”

    Is this changed from the initial 2013 version? Because I rode in one of those a year or so ago and found it incredibly harsh in the ride department.

    Honestly just get a CR-V. It’s a superior car.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      The 2013 Limited I’ve spent time in is harsher than I’d like given the zero handling benefits. Our roads are OK so I didn’t find it too objectionable, but roads aren’t OK everywhere. Apparently the lower trims with smaller wheels and more sidewall ride more appropriately given what this car is intended for.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      “I rode in one of those a year or so ago and found it incredibly harsh in the ride department.”

      My parents went with a Ford Escape for this very reason. The RAV4 was very stiff riding based on their test drives last year. For reference their vehicle at the time was a Sonata turbo. My mother had some hip/back problems and declared the Escape’s seats and ride to be the most comfortable of the current CUV offerings. They found the Mazda was the best handling, claiming it was the most car-like and actually kind of fun to drive (Zoom-zoom). They were fine with the CV-R too, however the lack of memory seats made it a deal killer. My mother and father are on opposite ends of the height spectrum so finding a vehicle that both of them are comfortable in is not easy. About once a month they drive over 2 hours to visit the grand kids so ride quality was paramount. They got rid of the Sonata and went to an CUV just for the ease of access. Getting in the “low” Sonata was just too painful for my mother.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I also wanted to bring up this rather unbelievable statement by Alex. My fiancé’s folks have a ’13 Limited and that thing rides like crap. Downtown Cleveland was damn near literally painful.

        Her parents, faithful Toyota buyers now for over a decade, openly admit to being very disappointed with the car because of this specific issue.

        I’m glad to hear that this has been addressed, my remaining question is if the rear seat cushion has been made any softer, and whether the door card touch points have been improved at all. They really are very nice and logical entrants in the compact CUV field, they are seriously roomy on the inside in terms of both people and cargo space. And like Alex mentioned, the AWD system has a very real (and potentially very useful) AWD lock mode. The CRV AWD system falls short by comparison. Toyota’s 2.5L/6A combination doesn’t set the world on fire, but it is well mannered and will probably run for 200k miles without any worries or added expenses from direct injection or potential CVT worries.

        • 0 avatar
          EAF

          This is exactly what goes through my mind, (OCD), if I were in the market. Lack of a CVT, multi-port injection, and an electronic lock. These three merits alone would seal the deal over a ’16 CRV.

        • 0 avatar
          Coopdeville

          In the RAV’s defense, there are VERY few vehicles in which downtown Cleveland wouldn’t be painful. In fact I’m struggling to think of one. ’95 Town Car? Citroen 2CV?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Fixing the air ride on a ’95 Lincoln is painful, at least financially.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            ’95 Town Car gonna get jacked in Cleveland.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Is Cleveland more or less disintegrated than Dayton? Last time I was in Cleveland, they still had a Sea World!

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @ 28carslater, no it is not financially painful to fix a TC’s rear air suspension unless you get ripped off by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing and just throw every part at it, thanks in part to the companies that sell those every part kits. Fact is 20min and $20 worth of O rings fix the problem most of the time if you do it when it first starts acting up.

          • 0 avatar

            I got it. 91 Topaz. As long as the rear wheels haven’t detached from the car due to rust.

          • 0 avatar
            Coopdeville

            @Corey – Comparing downtowns/metro areas only, my seat of the pants observations are: Economically = tie, Physically = Cleveland but only because of the harsher winters and more extreme salt application. The climate difference between northern Ohio and southern Ohio cannot be overstated, and it can really be felt in the downtown roads and back roads. Every time I visit the folks I’m struck by how fast the roads crumble, even in their modestly well-to-do neighborhood.

            If you take in the surrounding communities, Dayton wins the misery contest hands down. Cleveland has quite a lot more old and new money hiding in the suburbs than Dayton ever dreamed of.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ha, well if you rope in Dayton surrounding areas, then you end up including Middletown as well. And that’s always a fail.

            The people with money in Dayton live south of town, all 12 of them.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Same here. I drove one last year and couldn’t believe how harsh it was. There was no upside either, it was like the shocks were seized.

          I’m not really convinced that a Rav4 will last longer than other CUVs. They’ve cut a lot of costs. For instance, rear diff leaks are very common (on AWD models, of course).

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        What qualifies for “soft” from many auto writers is probably “firm” for everyone else. I have found Toyota SUVs to usually be too firm for what most people actually use them for.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          My parents just got a 2011 Highlander (basic, 4WD SE, cloth, no sunroof – bleh), and while a vast improvement over their BOF Pathfinder, it’s still a bit jiggly for my tastes.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            As a Highlander owner let me say that it is a perfect Oldsmobile when it comes to ride quality. ;-) It just needs some fake wood to complete the effect, although I suppose that acres of satiny silver plastic is our generations fake wood.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            Principal Dan, we must have driven different Oldsmobiles in the past.

            I really don’t think any modern car rides that smooth anymore, even cars that are basically made to be a isolation pod like a new Lexus ES350 have a taut ride, despite the fact nobody ever buys that car for “European” handling, I guess Lexus was more worried a car magazine would label it “soft”.

            I’m not saying I want all cars to ride like they did decades ago, but I definitely think the pendulum has swung too far to placate auto writers. And since when is a luxury ride on a “non” sports car such a horrible thing?

      • 0 avatar
        Clueless Economist

        We rented the RAV4 one week and then the Escape three weeks later. Night and day. Hated the RAV4 but loved the Escape. While I didn’t care for the Ford’s styling, it was a better vehicle in every way. Well probably not long term quality, but for a rental that isn’t an issue.

        I can’t imagine anyone actually buying a RAV4 unless they didn’t actually get in any of the competitors’ CUVs. I recently tested the Fiat 500x and it was more appealing.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          For my fiancé’s parents, it was a simple matter of their previous Highlander making it to 170k in 8 years with absolutely minimal outlay for repairs, ditto their ’09 Prius. Both cars had incredible resale as well. That’s honestly all it takes for many consumers and frankly I don’t blame them. I do recall them trying out the Escape and deciding that it wasn’t roomy enough, and the plastic trim on the dash made it feel too cheap. Never mind that the Rav4 has plenty of cheap plastic as well, but it has a stitched piece of pleather on the dash that apparently made all the difference.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      +1, Corey. The CR-V is quieter, faster, more economical, and doesn’t leave you sticking to plastic seats.

      Speaking of which, I absolutely despise this trend toward plastic upholstery. It’s hot when it’s hot, cold when it’s cold, and doesn’t breathe. Give me the quality corduroy velours of cars like the older Camcords, Corollas and CR-V’s any day. And since the only reason this discussion is necessary is cost-cutting, liberate the money to do so by cutting a couple of geegaws from the iPad in the console that I didn’t ask for.

    • 0 avatar
      zip89105

      I’ve read elsewhere the Rav4 isn’t the truckish ride it has previously been, so apparently the suspension has changed.

    • 0 avatar
      MUSASHI66

      Really? We just traded wife’s 2013 RAV4 XLE for a 2016 Forester XT. I test drove a 2016 CR-V SE and it was so…blah. Felt slower than the RAV (didn’t test the numbers, just felt slower), that CVT transmission just kept droning and felt horrible enough to ignore anything good about the car.

      In all honesty, RAV4 and CR-V are so similar, put two people in a car with a sticker over the logo, and most won’t know if they are in a Toyota or a Honda. What exactly do you think makes the CR-V superior?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I still miss the V6 model, just because for many model years it was the fastest Toyota sold that year. That always made me smile lack of “sport” in Toyota’s lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      maxxcool7421

      We still have our 2011 v6. Love it.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Dan, a viable alternative is offered by the Jeep Cherokee which does offer a respectable V6. It may not possess all the charm of a RAV4 or CR-V, but if a person is so inclined, the V6 version of the Cherokee is worth considering.

      A couple I know in their seventies recently bought a 2015 model to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. But for the same $36K they could have bought a Grand Cherokee for more room.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        With their unproven transmissions and questionable build quality, I wouldn’t touch a new Cherokee model. I suspect you’ll take a beating on resale, as well – especially so considering the shaky future of FCA.

        I’m betting in 10 years time, FCA will lose the F and be controlled by someone else.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Corey, you make a great point but the way to get around that is to LEASE.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Corey,

          Are you becoming the DW of FCA?
          Their product is far from the worse.

          Who cares who owns them in 10 years? GM is already effectively Chinese.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “Their product is far from the worse.”

            This published reliability survey says the opposite.

            http://www.consumerreports.org/cars/highlights-consumer-reports-2015-annual-auto-reliability-survey

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I’m right there with Corey in regards to Chrysler quality control and design robustness in general, with or without FCA. I kind of wonder how things would have turned out if they simply stuck with their pretty-okay (aside from our own Mr. Kreutzer’s van’s transmission crapping the bed at 12k miles) 6 speed automatic in the Cherokee and Renegade. The fact that the company with the most reliability woes continues to try to cram in all sorts of bleeding edge tech into their cars seems insane to me. But hey, Jeep sales are up so their strategy seems to be working. As long as they can draw in enough new customers to offset all of the disheveled owners of Cherokees with failing transmissions with warranty claims and zero chance of buying an FCA vehicle again, their business model will work.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            What CR measures isn’t reliability, as most people understand it. If you read the article you will see that they admit it.

            Their two big complaints are infotainment systems and rough shifting. Those are annoyances, not reliability problems.

            I’m not sure what to make about internet rumors of failing 9-speeds. My friend the senior FCA tech tells me there’s no such thing, at least in this part of Canada. Maybe they are failing in 100+ degree heat, or crossing the Rockies with a heavy trailer?

            There have been software updates for that transmission. A lot of the info out there is outdated.

            I think a lot of Jeep’s problems with that transmission go back to when they cancelled the original press launch. That pissed-off a lot of automotive writers (no money, no exotic vacation, and no car that week). They got their revenge later. Those same writers love the ZF 9-speed in Honda and LR products!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Fair point about the heat and revisions to software. But you know what they say about using the customer as beta tester.

            As well, places be hot, man.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I’m not aware of any well known failures of the 9HP. Just a lot of shift quality complaints.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Heavy, you and your senior FCA tech friend should read up on some facts:

            “As of today, we counted a total of 145 unique owner complaints posted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 126 of which explicitly named the 2014 Cherokee’s transmission. Another 10 transmission complaints were lodged for the new 200, and eight have been posted to the TLX’s log file. There were no complaints recorded for the Evoque.

            Jeep Looks To Improve 9-Speed Shifting in Cherokee

            But these allegations are far worse than the sluggish and delayed gearchanges we’ve experienced testing the Cherokee and Evoque (and yet absent in the 200 and TLX). Cherokee, 200, and TLX owners have each reported conditions such as sudden lunges from unexpected downshifts, a lack of kickdown upon entering highways, front-axle vibration in low gears, and complete failures in which the transmission shifts into neutral while driving and lights up the dash with warning lights. Other owners have reported rollaways in which the vehicle indicated it had engaged park when it was actually in neutral. One of these reported instances involved a Cherokee that went into a lake, having first rolled over someone’s foot and dragged the person into “eight to 10 feet of water,” according to one NHTSA complaint. In December, Honda recalled nearly 9400 Acura TLX sedans for this very problem.

            While NHTSA has not launched an investigation, Jeep dealers are replacing between 12 to 15 transmissions a week, according to AN. Aside from Honda, there have been no recalls for this transmission, only lots of frustrated owners from these first-year vehicles.”

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            gtemnykh,

            That’s roughly 1 complaint per 1,000 customers, mostly to do with software on the early models. Actual transmission failures are much less common (1 in 10,000?). It may sound like a lot to you, but it’s not. I remember one year when Toyota 1.5 blocks were piled-up high behind dealerships.

            The repair vs. replace thing is SOP. There are only a few repairs that FCA lets dealers perform on that unit. Not unusual in this day and age, and not limited to FCA or to that transmission. It’s cheaper and faster to do it that way.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          DongFengChryslerAutomobiles

        • 0 avatar

          Despite the issues most jeeps other then the compass tend to have excellent resale. And even the compass has good resale compared to it’s caliber stable mate.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        “… charm of a RAV4…” – ?

        It’s a utilitarian enough vehicle, but I think maybe an older Trabant has as much charm as a RAV4.

        I mean, it’s not even trying to be charming.

    • 0 avatar
      zip89105

      You’d love the Escape 2.0

  • avatar
    JimZ

    One thing which really irks me about the RAV4 (with the JBL audio system) is how bad the speaker-induced buzz and rattle is in that thing. Especially the subwoofer in the liftgate trim. makes the car feel like it was hastily slapped together.

    • 0 avatar
      maxxcool7421

      It’s the grill. I took a black napkin put a tiny folded bit in the “snap on points” on the edges of the speaker cover and fixed that #$%^ing rattle before we even left the lot. I agree that the SUB was a last minute addition ..

      only other complaint is the floor mats. jesus they stain easy.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Not that it matters to 99.9% of buyers, but Toyota preserved the excellent approach angle, making it more competent than many of its competitors on rougher dirt roads. I have to respect that even if the market couldn’t care less.

    The rest of the vehicle is a carefully targeted utilitarian proposition that makes it an excellent family vehicle with no real verve or character. This is not an overtly exciting segment, and I still prefer the driving character and more competent high speed highway abilities of even base-trim midsize sedans.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I do like the two tone interior treatment, but not a fan of the design. I think if I were to buy one it would be the Hybrid. Faster AND over 30 mpg city.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I was expecting at least five B&B comments by now on how 0-60 in 8.9 seconds is completely unacceptable and makes the RAV4 a death trap because it is so slow.

  • avatar
    ant

    Turbo, direct injection, and CVT are all dead ends compared to Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive Hybrid technology.

    What took so long to offer this in a hybrid version?

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      “Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive Hybrid” With extra hybrid – because that is what really powers it so far past turbo, DI, etc.

      It’s like they took whatever makes Toyota styling so corny and transmogrified it into the written word.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I agree – the Hybrid now looks like the superior option, now that the V6 is no longer offered. It’s probably quicker than the CRV and CX-5, and the efficiency is probably much better, too.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I never have understood why so many car companies feel the need to tune their ride to be so firm on so many cars when 99% of the customers would prefer a serene ride. If Toyota went soft, good for them.

    Who on Earth would want a Rav4 or a CR-V with a stiff suspension? As if anyone in a car like this doing such serious off roading or corner carving that a nice ride would just be out of the question.

    The few people that really want bleeding edge handling performance on a small crossover like this can find solutions in the aftermarket.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “bleeding edge handling performance”

      You mean like the Edge Sport!? Practical tires and handling FTW.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The Edge Sport is better than it was. At least now it has the 2.7TT. 22s aren’t an option anymore (21s! are). I must admit that I’d rather pay more for an MKX AWD 2.7TT with 18s and less features than have an Edge Sport with 21s.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Mostly I wanted you to come say something funny about the tires/rims on the Edge Sport!

          I agree on the MKX vs. Edge Sport. Every time I see one, I think “Crap, that thing is just trying too hard.”

          I don’t like the trapezoid LED on the new model Edge either, it’s very odd looking. Like they had a big plastic panel to fill, and just couldn’t possibly use a practical fog light.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The 22s were SOOOOOOOO BAD. My wife has a friend that had one with 22s. She complained about how it was not good in the snow, even though it was AWD, and that the ride was harsh.

        • 0 avatar
          jacob_coulter

          The big rims are all about a “look”

          The actual handling improvements from a car with 21″ or 22″ rims on low profile tires are negligible at best. And you can easily accommodate a large caliper on a more modest sized rim.

          In fact, most of the data I’ve seen actually shows handling goes down as rim size goes up after a certain point, with additional penalties in acceleration, fuel economy, road noise, suspension wear etc. And they just cost a fortune to replace.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            For the CD3 (last gen) Edge Sport, one wheel and tire that is eaten up by a pothole will cost basically $2000!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I feel like that “look” has passed us by, in about 2004 or so. Over-sized pimp wheels ain’t all that any more, outside of Atlanta or whatever.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Corey, you know nuthin’ bout them’ 26″ floaters on a two tone 2005 Impala! The trend is alive and well in Indianapolis LOL

            linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBKn0aGBt8k

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            OMG!

            So many nice old cars, ruined! I like the Ninety-Eight of course, as well as that Trans-Am.

            I did see a raised/hydraulics with 22″ circa 05 Lesabre this weekend.

            It just lacks any sense of taste. I don’t see the appeal. I wonder the average IQ and credit score of people who do this.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Unless they fit a comparatively stiff suspension in these tall thingies, they get too wallowy. Short, narrow and tall, isn’t really the ideal shape for good ride/body control tradeoff.

    • 0 avatar

      You don’t need 18 or 19 inch tires on most Daily Drivers, thank you !!!

  • avatar
    tubacity

    Thanks, Alex, for the complete review. Soft ride? Others said 2013 RAV 4 had a hard ride.

    Is the ride comfort objectively good, hard, soft or something else?

    Older RAV4 was criticized in some forums and Consumer Reports for having a hard harsh ride. Has the 2016 changed?
    Old CR video review says ride is,”tauter than before, but it doesn’t do much for the ride”

    Other forum post
    http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/84-rav4-forum/807729-2014-rav4-ride.html
    “have a 2013 RAV4 with 15k miles now, and my personal opinion is that the ride is (too) stiff and rough -”

    By the way, Alex, review of the old model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/review-2014-toyota-rav4-with-video/
    was in some places word for word the same. Maybe appropriate as the vehicle is not changed that much.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Toyota brought out an SE trim for those that want a stiffer suspension. The Limited, XLE, andLE got new, softer suspensions based on customer feedback.

      FWIW, I was very happy with the 2014 RAV4 Limited that we had. It handled decent, had nice seats, lots of tech (push button start, nav, memory seats, auto-dim high beams, blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, power lift gate), tons of room, and returned solid fuel economy. We put 24k on it before it was totaled by a drowsy driver. Great family car. The hybrid was super tempting but they were in short supply when we had to buy and I “needed” a 4Runner again.

  • avatar
    slawinlaw

    Do any other CUVs have the push button 50/50 front/rear lock other than the RAV4 and the Cherokee? The Hyundai/Kia versions did at one time. This seems like useful feature.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The EX35 should have this as well. Locks it up to ~35mph.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The rogue still has it, jeep patriots and compasses even with the basic FD1 used to get it, Mitsubishi’s outlander and outlander sport have something similar as well as I recall. Speaking of patriots, I’ve seen well trimmed latitudes (heated seats, awd) for as little as $16,500 if you look in a big radius. That little bugger is a good value, and actually rides very well from what I’ve read.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’ve ridden in a base Patriot with manual. While the interior was utterly appalling, the ride quality was not too shabby.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          What year was it? My understanding was that after the final interior revision it was actually pretty decent, for the bottom feeder segment anyways.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Checking out pics, I think it was a 2012. That suits the time period IIRC as well.

            http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2012/12/23-2012-jeep-patriot-review.jpg

            *shudder* Look at the shift surround.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I still like the honest blocky styling of the Patriot and it can be surprisingly good offroad in the right trim, but to me the value proposition degraded once you did so. Something like $26K for a car that feels like $16K, a CVT with bad reviews, somewhat poor mpg, lousy seats, and no joy or delight for the miles spent on pavement. Which is pretty much all of them.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The Dynamax AWD H/K vehicles still have it.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    We have one as a company car. I hate it. See how the door handles are way up front, with a big grab handle behind them? Makes opening the door uncomfortable. I want to pull the lever and use my elbow to open the door, but my forearm hits that grab handle. And the cowl’s very high, so forward visibility feels poor. Isn’t that the point of sitting high up?

    Then there’s all the usual driving enthusiast stuff that you’d expect me to dislike. The Rav4 wobbles back and forth when you come to a stop, as if it had old shocks. But that’s my only complaint. Previous generations had horrible tip-in but that’s been mitigated.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So if the base is 25K, the reviewed model is 35K, and there is no drivetrain upgrade, what do I get for another 10K over base?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Limited badge, leather stuff, a $hitty infotainment system, and voodoo AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Pure Toyota Goodness, that’s what.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      You get the right to brag that you own Toyota RAV4

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      So, this darned thing costs more than a 6MT Accord Coupe? More than a base 4Runner? As much as an Avalon, a mid trim Sienna or Taco, and a base full size pickup or 3 series? Crazy, I tell you! I’m sure they are very good, all use, cars for lots of people. But they still seem richly priced.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        These ( as well as Camry, Corolla, Prius and Sienna) are discounted at Dodge Dart levels.

        It’s a little game of chicken Toyota is playing with the purists and resale values. When someone tells you Toyota is the new GM– don’t dismiss them. It’s absolutely true.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          As I recall my fiancé’s parents paid $28k for their Limited. My guess is that an AWD LE can be had for about $22k, an XLE for $25k. Conversely, 4Runners are not discounted much at all, I know from my own sad experience. So there’s a pretty big price gap between a 4Runner SR5 4wd that sells for $33-34k ish after some haggling and a Rav4.

          It’ll be interesting to see where Toyota ends up in 10-20 years, but for now the big differentiator between it and GM in its heyday is that Toyota still makes cars that are at the top of the class in terms of reliability and longevity. Those $18k Camrys might be cost cut and cheap feeling in places, but they are still an incredibly long lasting and well built vehicle. I’d argue that in the overall scheme of things, Toyotas are the best values that they’ve ever been in terms of what you get for your money.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I guess I am just too practical. I want reliability, resale and safety. that is what the RAV and th new hybrid deliver. Like the interior and all of the features plus options the RAV offers. Anyone that would buy a Jeep or other FCA product needs their head examined. I bought a Ram Promaster and expect to get sodomized when i sell it if it lasts that long. Sure in is nice to travel in but quality, reliability and resale just don’t exist for this vehicle. I bought it but will recommend that my GF buy a new Rav Hybrid. It is a no brainer.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The Wrangler faithful may disagree with you.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Did you need the ProMaster for business or did you just want a horrible shovel faced creature for a vehicle?

      (It does drive relatively nicely and can hold a bunch of stuff)

    • 0 avatar
      EX35

      Is the JGC really that unreliable? It was my understanding it was pretty solid, other than the optional air suspension and infotainment gremlins.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        EX35, we’ve had real good luck with our 2012 JGC V6. It now has over 85K on the clock and still runs real good for our 25-yo grand daughter as her daily driver.

        OTOH, my wife’s sisters had issues with each of their 2014 JGCs – mostly transmission related, electrical, NAV, loss of functions, etc. Well documented in the automotive press.

        For our 2012 JGC there were at least four major recalls, where the diode board of the alternator and the vanity-mirror wiring were the most threatening.

        I inspected our JGC myself re the recalls and rusting power-brake vacuum chamber, power-steering fluid loss, etc, but found that none of the recalls had impacted our JGC.

        Before giving the JGC to our grand daughter in June 2015 I took it to the Jeep dealer where they went over it with a fine-toothed comb, reflashed the EEPROM with the latest and the greatest firmware to bring it up to date. Pretty thorough inspection that cost me dearly but IMO well worth it.

        Prior to that visit, our JGC had never been back to a Jeep dealer since we bought it in Phx, AZ. (I live in New Mexico).

        Seriously, I doubt I would ever buy another Fiatsler product, our good ownership experience not withstanding.

        There’s so much peace-of-mind and goodness to buying a Toyota product that I do not regret having converted to Toyota in 2008, when we bought our 2008 Highlander.

        With well over 100K on the Highlander odo, it still runs problem-free for our other 18-yo grand daughter attending UT El Paso.

        • 0 avatar
          EX35

          Thanks for the really detailed response. I would love my next SUV/CUV to be a Toyota product, but the JGC/Durango drive, in my opinion, so much better than the Highlander. Really, the T4R is the only Toyota product I’d consider, just for the coolness factor, despite the crappy onroad performance!

          The 2017 Armada looks interesting, but I imagine the price will probably start at 50K+.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          My 2009 Highlander had 7 recalls and 2 warranty repairs. Although, after those 1st year repairs it went 80K miles without a glitch. 3 recalls related to unintended acceleration. 1 – wrong door jamb labeling. 1 – power windows switch. 2 – software upgrade.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I think it was you who had previously mentioned the ProMaster purchase, seems like it didn’t take long for it to sour your taste for Fiats. What problems has it given you? If it is that bad then it is probably best to dump it now. It will never be worth more and if you get rid of it now you’ll never have to see just how bad it could get as it ages. The Transit is the best bet for a high top van, but if you don’t need that then the GM twins are proven to at least be OK.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      It’s not Rav4 vs. FCA product, though. You can buy a CX-5 and get reliability, mileage, and a modicum of fun. I personally think the ergonomics are far better in the Mazda, too. Or you buy a Forester and give up some of the fun and mileage, and get great visibility. Or a CR-V for reliability, safety, and tons of space. I think the Rav4 is only midpack.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So pretty much hand Toyota $7K in margin for nothing then? Nice gig if you can swing it.

  • avatar
    ixim

    Why no Equinox/Terrain love here? GM sells about 250,000 of these [more each year] despite the 7 year old design. Why? Nicer inside than the RAV4, better MPG’s, better ride. You can get a 300hp V6, too. Best of all, heaper OTD $$, in my experience. Yes, a little bigger outside while smaller inside. Not a deal breaker for most people.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      You say “better MPGs” and “available V6” as if they’re not mutually exclusive.

      • 0 avatar
        ixim

        Real world, and I’ve driven them both, with a light foot, you’ll see close to 30 MPG highway. In the city, the 6 gets less than 20 while the I4 can clock 4 or 5 MPG better.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I have a hard time believing the 4cyl ‘nox matches let alone beats the rav4 in fuel economy, it is substantially heavier as I recall. I think that there have been issues with the motors as well since they switched from the old port injected 2.4 to the DI 2.5.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            It doesn’t beat the RAV4. Consumer Reports fuel economy tests put the RAV4 at 18/31/24mpg city/hwy/combined and the 4-cylinder Equinox at 14/30/21. The V6 is quite a bit worse at 18 combined mpg.

            If ixim drove the Toyota in the same way, chances are it would be higher than quoted for his Equinox experience.

          • 0 avatar
            ixim

            cU and most auto journalists test new, unbroken in cars using heavy feet. My experience with owning two each RAV4’s and two I4 ‘Nox’s had all four getting better MPG past 15K miles. I give the Chevy a slight fuel efficiency edge here. Hopefully GM has refined the GDI I4 so that the carbon fouling problems are solved. Unlike Toyota, the General insists on top tier gasoline as part of the solution. As I said, lower OTD prices, although balanced by higher depreciation had me switching.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            This isn’t heavy-footed Car and Driver idiocy, it is a standardized method in which cars are put through the same city and highway loops with fuel meters spliced into the fuel line.

            http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/how-consumer-reports-tests-cars/index.htm

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Consumer Reports managed to get only 11 mpg in a Jeep Liberty CRD so I’m comfortable writing off their automotive testing side as a pack of morons.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I tend to think the same thing about waving off an entire testing procedure because it provided a result you don’t like. Can you point to some actual methodological flaw or are you content judging it on one outlying 11-year old example?

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            Only first year 2010 model 2.4’s were affected with the timing chain and oil consumption issues. Owners with newer Nox/Terrain’s have reported no problems with the DI 2.4 to date.

          • 0 avatar
            ixim

            Ongoing carbon fouling problems- on the intake valves and the throttle body necessitating the use of top tier gas and periodic tb service not specified in the owners manual. Hopefully valve and ignition timing tweaks on current GID I4s will solve the problem. Obviously Toyota’s DI engines avoid the issue.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      “Nicer interior”?

      I don’t think so. All of the plastics scream “OLD GM”; it reminds me of my friends 03 Equinox where all the buttons are mostly white because all the black faded off.

  • avatar
    vagvoba

    “you won’t find a fully locking coupling in the Subaru Forester”

    That doesn’t matter if the RAV4 is still the worst driving compact SUV in icy/snowy conditions. That’s according to Consumer Reviews, which compared the RAV4 against the CR-V and the Forester. The Forester beat both of its competitors by a lot.

    • 0 avatar
      vagvoba

      I mean Consumer Reports:

      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/09/survey-rates-suv-and-wagon-performance-in-snow/index.htm

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        These ratings are dumb. The Edge, Explorer, MKX, and Flex all have the same AWD system and are rated anywhere between 12 and 42.

        I’ve driven all four and the Explorer is probably the best of the four because of TerrainSelect (or whatever the [email protected] Ford calls it) and it has the most ground clearance. It was rated behind the MKX and Edge.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Maybe they’re all different weights?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The MKX and Edge aren’t. The Explorer and Flex are close in weight as well.

            I’ve driven all four in the snow within the last year. There really isn’t much difference.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Any difference in snow is going to be down to tires, which I am guessing were inappropriate on the cars that did less well.

            I’d rather drive my M235i on snow tires in the snow than ANY CUV on no-season tires. At least I will be able to stop.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “Our 2015 auto survey asked subscribers to rate their vehicles’ performance in snowy conditions…Sixty-nine to 92 percent of owners thought their 4WD and AWD SUVs and wagons were “very good” at snow performance.”

          I hold some respect for CR’s reliability ratings, but that is some crap methodology. Barely quantitative and cannot control for owner bias or winter driving skill, which ranges from fully competent to “panic, stomp brakes, then scream as you pirouette into the snowbank”.

          The top 3 ranked were all Subarus, the company that markets itself on AWD performance and is bought often on that reputation? That’s either a real pattern or it’s confirmation bias, you don’t know which.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            It is one thing when CR tests themselves. But I don’t even want to hear about people opinion how their car performed in snow. It is videos like this that can give you more real good info https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kE_suuR28g

          • 0 avatar

            “panic, stomp brakes, then scream as you pirouette into the snowbank” after flashers going for the last fifteen miles.

            FTFY

      • 0 avatar
        Truckducken

        Are the tires the same for all vehicles in this test? (Spoiler: No, they weren’t.) The last time I bought a new Toyota, the OEM tires were horrific. The only good thing about them was that they wore out quickly. I’m pretty sure tires will play a dominant role in performance (or lack thereof) on snow. All that fancy-schmancy torque vectoring nanny crap doesn’t mean a thing if you aren’t connected to the road. Even CR has noted this: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/09/do-you-really-need-awd-in-the-snow/index.htm

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        That’s not based on objective testing, it’s some subjective nonsense where people rate how well they think their cars do in snow. But I think in normal road conditions something like Subaru’s full time AWD probably feels better to most drivers. Based on Alex’s review a lot of the potential of the RAV4 is in being able to manually lock up the diff to get the car moving when it seems to be really stuck at low speed, so that’s really only going to be noticed by people when conditions are really awful.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Being able to lock the center, rather than relying on open diffs and brake mediated tc, is especially nice when towing. Say, a snow mobile on a trailer. Anything awd with proper snow tires will go virtually anywhere without a trailer, the main limit being ground clearance in deep snow, where the Subie is 2.5 inches ahead. But with a trailer in tow, it’s nice to not have half your engine power going into the brakes, until something overheats.

        • 0 avatar
          Jacob

          The manually locking differential feature is a pure gold for the urban folks who need an affordable and city-friendly vehicle that can climb up to the ski resorts in the winter and for having an occasional off-road fun in the summer. Even if such an epic snow storm happens once a year, you don’t want your perfect skiing weekend ruined by the vehicle stuck in the snow.

          Driving a Subaru is also a sensible choice for them, because all Subaru’s come with AWD included, no paying premiums for the options. The judgement is still probably out on which one is better at getting tracking in heavier snow. While Subarus have full-time AWD system (unlike 99% of “AWD” SUVs out there), I believe they don’t come with a locking differential.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Too many people think they “need” AWD when they could just drop a few hundred bucks on snow tires for their FWD vehicle and be all set.

          • 0 avatar

            I agree some folks need AWD, but really, look at it this way. You are dragging around some transfer cases…extra differential. You are spinning these gears. You need them less than 1 percent of the time. They hit you a few mpg, are more stuff to break, and the AWD steering (if the car has sporting pretense) usually isn’t as sensitive as the RWD set up.

            Now, I have a relative who drags snowmobiles around the rockies, and a friend who jet skis in Florida. These guys need 4wd with locking diffs. 99% of the rest of us just need snow tires.

            Clearly I’m wrong, here. When shopping the usual lux brands for my last car, you pretty much have to ask for RWD only….it is easier to find a sunroof delete !!! I was able negotiate a good price on my CTS because it was RWD-which was poison on the used car lot.

            So yes, you “need’ AWD, per the dealership sales manager.

            The CUV is the best possible car for NYC, though. The awd part is useless, but the longer travel suspension plus tires with an actual sidewall are key. Smaller is easier to park, and the high up seating position helps navigate traffic. You don’t get over 70 evn on the highways, and you just need a small squirt from light to light. If I lived in NYC, I’d probably have an RDX.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I don’t understand why reviewers often justifying prices: “Toyota’s trucklet is reasonably priced, ranging from $24,350 to $35,715,”?

    To me – this is ridiculous price. Just in 2009 I purchased a Highlander for 24,500. Price of cars went way up recently and I have no idea why, if they make a lot of them in Mexico now? I understand that price driven by demand. But still. $24K for base RAV4 is too much.

    In a separate issue – if RAV4 has this locking diff, it makes it much better than Tucson for those who expect driving in special conditions. I’ve seen Tucson test on youtube. You drive its front wheels into hole and try to get out – no way. This thing is not even moving. I’ll see if they did this test to RAV4.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      2009 was a once in a lifetime fire sale on almost everything, from 24,500 Highlanders to 24.50 AAPLs.

      Awfully good times if you leave out the fire.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        No doubt – I paid $23K for a brand-new Saab station wagon in 2009. Deal of a lifetime.

        Seems like a lot of people around here are still living in *1989* for car pricing.

        Though that said, I think $25K for something like this is fine. $35K for this with a bunch of tinsel ladled onto it is silly. I would rather have a stripped premium vehicle than a loaded tin box.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Inflation is a real thing, I mean oranges are 79 cents EACH at my local supermarket now and this is the cheapest supermarket in the area.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      One handy trick to get your car/SUV unstuck is to turn off the damn traction control systems, if this is possible. That’s because if the vehicle detects wheel spin, the TC system often cuts the power. Turning off TC has allowed me to climb up places in FWD car, where the same car would just sit still with TC on..

      I do agree that the manually locking differential, is a pure gold feature for people who want a more capable vehicle in deeper snow or off road, but don’t want to invest in a 4Runner. The way I see it, it’s a signature feature of the Rav4. Those who want a sportier and/or more affordable small SUV could otherwise be better served by Mazda CX-5 or Ford Escape.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I’m very gratified that so many commenters care about creeping ride harshness in Toyotas. The company is currently afflicted with an adolescent boob of a president/CEO and it shows.

    After reliability all I care about is a soft ride. I believe we need to demand a return to our earlier, unstinting standards for same:

    Can you safely do a circumcision in the back seat while driving potholed urban roads or no?

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      The problem is that making the marshmallow mushmobile is easy but developing a car for me is difficult.

      On the same platform, you can’t have 3″ of fore-aft float in the suspension bushings, vertical low-pass filtering in the strut tops, 2″ lateral movement of the rear end without hitting anything, suspension mounted to an additional isolated cradle it shares with the engine, and anything I’d want to drive.

      To give me my Bridgeport-mill steering and my foot-to-football ride connection with the pavement, all of the connections between these parts have to be stiff enough that the travel for an isolator wouldn’t fit. All that space has to be taken up by suspension part diameter or unibody body section.

      If we can get rid of ride quality and quiet in all cars, all a car above 2800# offers is room, and you’re only 2″ of seat lowering from being able to get 4 95th percentile men into a Focus.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Toyota has addressed this by splitting most of the lines. The Avalon now has two suspension tunes, as does the Camry, RAV4, etc. They made the ride plusher in the new Avalon as long as you don’t go for the touring trim which is the sport trim.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    I’m sure there’s a new vehicle out there with an uglier mug than the RAV4, but right now I can’t think of it.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “a steering rack that was too overboosted and disengaged for spirited driving”

    How can one even think the phrase “spirited driving” when evaluating a CUV? Must every vehicle be weighed on the scale of reckless hoonability?

    These are for boring scaredy-cats like me. I want an appropriately boring scaredy-cat reviewer. This is my only criticism of Dykes’ reviews: there’s still a car guy module buried somewhere in his make-up.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      Overboosted, vague steering, imo, makes relaxed driving more difficult. Especially when OEM’s seems to combine this with a quick ratio to make it “sporty!” for idiots on test drives – the ones that think a quick steering ratio makes for a good handling car, same ones that think e-throttle tip-in shenanigans make a car “peppy” or “whoa, this thing has some pep!” when it only puts out 150 hp.

      Back to steering – The result (of overboosted, vague steering) is excessive steering inputs requiring more correction than normal to maintain a fixed line. Basically the opposite of what one wants when driving in a relaxed fashion.

      Is like the curse of older American barges. They were comfy from a suspension standpoint, but were so directionally unstable that they were not that comfy or relaxing to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        So much this. There is nothing relaxing about piloting (in the nautical sense) a wallowing barge, especially on the sort of lumpy back road typical in New England. Though too harsh is not good either. The ideal is a well-damped, but not wallowing ride. Something the Europeans are VERY good at, though too many Americans insist on the rock-hard sport package versions because “sporty” evidently means getting your fillings shaken out.

        Giant heavy wagon wheels just make it worse.

        The stupid over-eager throttle tip-in has nothing to do with e-throttles – that was an American car trademark back before electronic throttles were ever thought of. My folks ’85 Oldsmobarge felt like it had 500hp when you breathed on the throttle, but our lawnmower probably had more guts a full throttle.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Because what automotive journalists think makes a “good car” and what the people actually buying 200,000 of these things a year think is a good car are almost completely different.

      At this point automotive journalism is little more than preaching to the converted.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The previous version WAS a fun little trucklet to drive. Shockingly so for a Toyota product. Sharp, well-weighted steering, decent ride, decent body control for something tall and narrow. I liked renting them, and my roommate bought one (2010, I think) at my prompting. The new one sucks. Sounds like the updated-new one may be better or worse, depending who you believe, but still not as good as the old one.

  • avatar
    Ennis

    I cross shopped the RAV4 before buying a new CRV for my wife about three weeks ago. Both my wife (not enthusiast) and I (enthusiast) had the same reaction after driving a CRV EX AWD and a RAV4 XLE AWD within 30 minutes of one another – the interior of the CRV seemed to be of a much higher quality than the RAV4 did. This impression was both the general feel of the interior (materials, switchgear, etc.) and, oddly, one specific thing that she mentioned first but also stood out to me – the lever to adjust the manual seats in the XLE felt absurdly cheap, really flexing all over the place. I’m sure they are fine vehicles, but to us the CRV was worth the slight price premium.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I wonder how Toyota does it?

    They can constantly produce very mediocre products and they sell quite well.

    I’m waiting for the day the consumer realises this.

    The RAV4 here is relatively common and overly expensive, the dreaded Toyota tax.

    Here’s a cut and paste and link for a review between 4 popular CUVs. Oh, diesels of course;

    “The RAV4 has a history of failing to register highly in CarAdvice rankings. It remains pricey and continues to struggle put a best foot forward in any department, being below par in many areas. Despite its popularity — anchored no doubt on Toyota’s robust brand reputation – the value quotient is becoming increasingly questionable as newcomers such as the Tucson move the medium SUV game ever forward.

    http://www.caradvice.com.au/375054/hyundai-tucson-v-mazda-cx-5-v-subaru-forester-v-toyota-rav4-medium-diesel-suv-comparison/

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      No one cares what Australia thinks.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Quentin, I’ve always tried to be polite on here but BAFO and the RobertRyan guy continue to exhibit the worst sort of inferiority complex with no end in sight, so I’m inclined to agree with you. We don’t care!

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Hahahaha

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Actually Quentin,
        The manufacturers care, you might believe this.

        The manufacturers use Australia as a test bed for product evaluation.

        This is due to the market being extremely competitive, one of the most competitive in the world.

        So, yeah, Australia does count and much testing and development is done here by GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, etc for global markets.

        For the size of our market we do punch above our weight.

        Some great vehicles have come out of Australia, and not more exotic vehicles, everyday hacks. This does indicate that our influence towards to greater consumer market is large, even in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      because the vast majority of car buyers just want a car which does what they want with a minimum of hassle, and in general Toyota delivers on that.

      the average car buyer doesn’t give one rip about which CUV has more precise steering, less body roll, or any of that nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      “They can constantly produce very mediocre products and they sell quite well.”

      Their cars don’t break.

      That counts for a lot with an expensive machine that people rely on everyday.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Trip Computers LIE.
    My I 4 Equinox reads at least 1 MPG high.
    I average ~ 26 MPG > via the geekie engineer way. Gallons in / miles driven.
    90 % expressway – 10% city

  • avatar
    redapple

    Buying a new car is getting easy.
    No volume and tuning knob = NO BUY. (CRV)

    Butt ugly : Really nasty, objectionable styling = NO BUY (Toyota)

    Go Rogue!

  • avatar
    John

    It’s a Toyota – the B&B will whinge, the car buying public will snap them up like Roxies in Appalachia.

  • avatar
    Nurburgringer

    hm, I’m kind of smitten with the interior.
    Sort of a Lexus/Range Rover feel to it, and bravo for Toyota offering a color other than dreary black or boring beige: a rich looking “cinnamon”.
    Very nice looking steering wheel as well.

    I’ve never considered the RAV4 before but when the time comes to get a practical family vehicle (to supplement a minivan, which I will always own) will have to take one for a test drive.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “Sort of a Lexus/Range Rover feel to it”

      HAHAHAHAHA

      • 0 avatar
        Nurburgringer

        yeah surely not the same “feel”, I should have said “sort of a Lexus/RR look to it” :)
        The Escape (crazy shapes) and CRV (weird levels/double displays) dashboards don’t do it for me. The RAV4’s is rather handsome.
        How the real and fake stitching holds up over time is a valid concern though.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          While none of these lil’ things have great interior design, I’d place the CRV over the Rav. It at least looks consistent, cohesive (http://www.tflcar.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2015_honda_cr-v_dash_interior_steering.jpg). The panel gaps and weird shapes in this Rav don’t cut it for me.

          For example, look how the vinyl dash panel meets up to the trim at the right of the steering column.

          • 0 avatar
            Nurburgringer

            The CRV does look ok, just not digging the multiple screens in the center stack and it only comes in boring black, grey or beige. At least the RAV4 is interesting and available in warmer colors. Would definitely check it out in person to see if it’s truly too flimsy/cheap to live with.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            CR-V also comes in red, two shades of blue, white, and copper.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The CRV’s white is very pearly and nice, and the metallic copper looks good as well.

  • avatar
    joeb-z

    As to the price advantage vs. a Mazda CX-5, the Mazda dealers are pretty desperate and a CX-5 can be had for well below invoice. Get an internet quote from mega dealer Wayne Mazda (over 360 CX-5s in stock). Trot on over to your local Mazda guy. First dealer said he just couldn’t meet that price. Second did in a 20 minute transaction.

  • avatar
    09box

    I’ve driven the newer RAV4’s. I think they drive alright, are pretty roomy and Mrs. Box had plenty of room in the back seat. The CX-5 would probably be my first choice but if I wanted an appliance, i’d probably go with a 2wd RAV4 and some snow tires.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Having OCD and an insistence on manuals makes it very easy to buy cars these days….

    What’s left – the CX5 and Forester?

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Kick me in the head, but I like the look of the Mitsubishi Outlander, and even Outlander Sport better. Plus, the money saved would pay for a nice little vacation. Everyone can downplay Mitsubishi vehicles, but every one I have ever owned, lasted long, and sold well after I was done with them. 200K plus miles, no exception.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Kamil Kaluski, United States
  • Seth Parks, United States
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Kyree Williams, United States