By on June 20, 2016

2016 Toyota RAV4 SE AWD

2016 Toyota RAV4 SE AWD

2.5-liter DOHC I-4, (176 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 172 lbs-ft torque @ 4,100 rpm)

Six-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

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

26.7 (Observed, MPG)

Base Price (LE FWD): $25,235 (U.S.) / $27,100 (Canada)

As Tested (SE AWD): $31,550 (U.S.) / $36,730 (Canada)

All prices include $885 delivery fee (U.S.) or $1,860 destination/PDI fee and A/C tax (Canada).

“Competent” — it’s one of the least sexy words in the dictionary. Hell, the word “dictionary” is arguably sexier. You’ll find the term next to “cardigan” and “financial adviser,” which are probably familiar words for someone known to be competent.

Competent Guy is that dude in the office who doesn’t cause you any grief. He never fails to complete a task, doesn’t cause any drama, and avoids pissing everyone off. He’s the reliable friend people ask to help them move. It’s guys like this who keep an operation humming along, and their reward is being able to put down roots, grow old, and enjoy the spoils that come from being a respectable member of society.

The Toyota RAV4 is the Lucy fossil of crossover SUVs, and it didn’t get there by making a bad impression. No nameplate reaches 22 years of age by frustrating owners, and you don’t become (and stay) the top-selling crossover by being hard to live with. For volume-hungry automakers, the RAV4 (aka. Competent Guy) is a rolling how-to guide for sales success — do the basics well, avoid controversy, don’t offend with styling, and make a good enough impression during the test drive that buyers take it home after the date.

It’s after the vows are exchanged that Competent Guy starts to show off his quirks.

2016 Toyota RAV4 SE AWD

This tester wasn’t the RAV4 you see in every parking lot in the known universe. With Toyota buyers, the sexiest date seems to be the LE — pick any vehicle model, and that’s the trim suitors flock to. His value is just … irresistible. The new-for-2016 SE, however, is Competent Guy on the weekend, when he dons sharper duds for a sensibly priced and not-too-raucous night on the town.

There’s more flash with the SE, but don’t wish for more dash. Underneath it all, the SE’s drivetrain is the same as the value pick, but good on Toyota for making the RAV4’s packaging more diverse. Its edgy 18-inch rims, selectively blacked-out body panels and jutting front spoiler is the equivalent of a band t-shirt or tank top with factory-ripped jeans. The message it sends? Look out — I’m feeling responsibly wild today.

It helps that Toyota worked a little Transformers into the RAV4’s front fascia when it updated the model’s styling for 2016. That helps Competent Guy’s game every day.

Inside the roomy cabin, the weekend continues. Soft-touch surfaces with red stitching, gunmetal gray trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel and sport-trimmed shift knob and SofTex faux leather seats make a good impression. Not too frumpy or plain, but not too gaudy. Perfect to lure ’em in. The massive air vents flanking the dash resemble either the intake of a jet engine or the taillights of a Ford GT — very brawny things, either way.

2016 Toyota RAV4 SE AWD interior

Any buyer considering a RAV4 already has their mind three-quarters made up, but the seats are enough to seal the deal. Incredibly supportive and sport bolstered, they’re the firm, warm embrace that every single person buyer wants in their life. A couple Patriot and Rogue owners both agreed that the SE’s seats easily topped their own. And the reclining rear seats? Positively napworthy. Don’t wait up.

But what about sportiness? It’s a sport edition, after all, though these days the term has more to do with appearance than power. Strip away the t-shirt and the faded jeans with one, maybe two, holes in them, and you’re left with a powertrain straight out of the “office attire” closet. There’s nothing wrong with that, as the single engine and transmission choice is perfectly competent. Not sexy, but no slouch, either.

With 176 horsepower and 172 pounds-feet of torque on tap, the SE’s stock 2.5-liter four-cylinder shuns all that fancy direct injection and turbocharging stuff, but it motivates the crossover just fine. Acceleration is acceptably brisk, passing is easy, and because buyers clearly haven’t demanded more cylinders or a turbo, Toyota feels just fine offering the one powerplant. (The automaker offers a hybrid drivetrain in other trims, but it’s meant to satisfy the EPA as much as the marketplace).

2016 Toyota RAV4 SE AWD

The reasonably robust four-banger gets along fine with the six-speed automatic, which isn’t a technological marvel but shifts smoothly and when you want it to. Why add complexity if it isn’t needed? We’re talking about a volume crossover that’s bought to carry two kids and (maybe) a dog, not recreate scenes from Furious 7. No, a gear-holding sport mode, 55-series rubber, and a slightly stiffer suspension are the only performance bits you’ll get in the SE.

Spending about 99 percent of its time driving over broken pavement, this tester’s suspension had some definite bounce in its step, but the ride evened out at highway speeds. The SE handles fine, but even with sport mode engaged, the “higher rollover risk” warning sticker on the sun visor (coupled with vehicle feedback) suggests that aggressive cornering isn’t a great idea. Sure, he visited a gym once, but Competent Guy can’t be expected to learn parkour.

Sporting pretensions aside, owners stand to get more use out of the vehicle’s “Eco” mode, which slips electronic eggshells under the accelerator to speed upshifts and prevent downshifts. (That feature soon feels as pointless as sport mode.)

2016 Toyota RAV4 SE AWD

Over a week of city-heavy driving (avoiding rush hour when possible), the SE took a page from Competent Guy’s restrained weekend boozing regimen, matching the automaker’s combined fuel economy rating of 25 miles per gallon. Putting the SE’s highway legs to the test, a 200-mile weekend trip to cottage country — a journey that included crawling through forests where even banjos fear to tread — returned a reading of 29 mpg, the same estimated highway figure offered by Toyota. No secret drinking problem with this guy.

Only once, on a sandy forced road, did I ever feel the rear axle try to take over from the front. All-wheel drive is fine for a vehicle of this class, because only the foolhardy (or brave) try to take a RAV4 off-road. There’s Jeeps for that kind of thing.

Speaking of bumming around in the sticks, much applause goes to the SE’s standard LED headlights. They’re so bright, and cast their glow so wide, you’ll be able to paint those deer from memory. Hell, you’ll be able to spot that dime you dropped earlier in the day.

2016 Toyota RAV4 SE AWD

Overall, Competent Guy seems like a fine fellow to bring home to meet the parents, but spending long periods of time with anyone increases the odds that quirks, foibles and eccentricities they dutifully keep hidden will finally start to emerge. The road trip made a few things clear.

For starters, what’s with the door handle seriously cutting into the armrest space? Reaching the window switches from a relaxed position requires a Linda Blair-like wrist contortion. The door panel looks good and the handle is easy to reach, but the armrest is like 1980s Berlin. Mr. Toyoda, tear down this wall!

There’s also a lack of keyless entry and pushbutton ignition. Sure, this feature isn’t a necessity for anyone and it sounds elitist to gripe about it, but there’s plenty of downmarket vehicles offering it. It won’t be long before that ignition key is as dated as a telegraph key.

Despite its refreshed looks and that all-important t-shirt, the RAV4’s infotainment system seems a little dated. When the stereo was tuned to a radio station (who still does that, seriously … ), weird hiccups arose. The wrong song title often appeared, or the name of the song was only partially correct. “34 Hour Party People”? Huh?

2016 Toyota RAV4 SE AWD wheel

Out in the boonies, the navigation system’s maps proved primitive, though the voice commands worked well. Call it anachronistic, but I still like navigating with big, detailed maps. The remaining infotainment and safety technology — and there’s a laundry list of it — seemed up to par, so it doesn’t really matter that weekend Competent Guy isn’t a perfect Millennial. With so much to offer, no one’s going to turn him down just because of a few quirks. That’s just being hard to please.

The Toyota RAV4 boasts such massive sales numbers and boffo name recognition, it’s hard to imagine many buyers don’t just take a cab to their local dealer and drive away with one, no shopping around required. Other crossovers offer similar (or better) room for a lower price, or have more power and better handling, but the RAV4 checks enough of the major boxes during that first date to convince most buyers that the relationship will work out.

How else could one vehicle score with 315,412 Americans in one year?

Toyota Canada provided the vehicle and insurance for this review.

[Images: © 2016 Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars]

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94 Comments on “2016 Toyota RAV4 AWD Review – Competent Guy Gets the Reward...”


  • avatar
    Rday

    I love this vehicle and want to own the hybrid model very much. Hope to be an owner soon.

  • avatar

    The price of the RAV 4 was significantly higher than I expected it to be when I took a friend shopping for one.

    I like the older models better.

    The ones with the tire/cover on the back door seem more substantial.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      just don’t get one with the upgraded sound system. they put the subwoofer in the tailgate/rear door (whatever you want to call it) and it rattles the bejeezus out of everything. I find it hard to believe Toyota would have ever signed off on that much BSR.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    My wife and I had a 2014 Rav4 before it was totaled in a head on collision by a sleepy, uninsured, unlicensed, diabetic driver. Competent is spot on. It simply does what it is supposed to do and never complains. I also agree on the seats. The memory, power seats on our Limited were very comfortable. I’d definitely recommend the hybrid, though. More power, 1 sec faster to 60, and fuelly shows owners AVERAGING 33-36mpg (not downhill, Trifecta tune, Norm driving). That is phenomenal for a compact CUV.

  • avatar
    Snail Kite

    Saw one of these coming in to work today. Those wheels are sweet, but I prefer the size of the previous generation

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I do like the revised taillight design. RAV4s of every generation (I still occasionally see a 1st gen bumming around Gallup) are pretty popular around here. In the teacher housing there are at least 3 RAV4s with about 50 families living here. The only more popular CUV is the good ole Outback.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’ve seen a disproportionately-high number of 2016 RAV4s in my area, all of them in XLE trim.

    Thing is, the RAV4’s interior felt especially low-rent when it was redesigned for MY2013. Since I haven’t sampled one of the new ones, I’m curious as to whether or not Toyota rectified that for MY2016.

    • 0 avatar
      cblais19

      It’s better, but not class leading. The non power seats are also pretty terrible.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Interesting. I thought they did a good job improving the fit-and-finish of the 2015.5 Camry—although I’d still buy an Accord. But I guess the RAV4’s transformation was not quite as substantial.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Every time they change the RAV, they make me like it a bit less than I did previously. $31,000 seems like a lot of money for something with this interior and rather junky ride quality.

          The CR-V meanwhile, has maintained superiority throughout production.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I like the CR-V’s fit-and-finish better, but can’t stand the design. The cam’d prototype I saw for the next-gen CR-V doesn’t look to be all that much better. Ditto for the Escape, which (even for the 2017 facelift) looks odd and has too many creases.

            I do like the RAV4’s design, but like you said, it costs a lot and doesn’t offer much more than typical Toyota reliability for the money.

            Really, I don’t like too many of the cars in this segment at all from a design standpoint. The one I do like for sure is the CX-5. I had extended time in a 2016 CX-5 as a rental, and it was great.

            Alternatively, there’s the upcoming redesigned Tiguan, which looks great.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So which do you pick – the RAV or CR-V? You must choose one, and have to keep it for 50,000 miles.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I guess the CR-V. But it’d kill me. It’s such a boring vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      You pick the Mazda CX-5 like I did. Better looking and better driving than either the Rav4 or CR-V, even with the improved Rav4 SE trim. The Honda has the best cubbies and space utilization, but the Mazda is better than the Toyota even at that.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        CX5 gets smoked in seats-down cargo capacity, and beaten by a small but not insignificant margin in seat-up room. So nay on the space utilization claim.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Steph, I found the tenure of some of your comments to be rather dismissive of a large segment of the vehicle purchasing public.

    Didn’t a recent article just reveal that the average age of new car buyers was 57 years of age?

    People particularly in that demographic still listen to the radio in their vehicles. For instance in Ontario the Blue Jays draw huge numbers on the radio. Or listening to local travel and weather reports. Give us a radio with a proper volume dial and a search feature.

    2nd many of us find on/off push button starting to be attractive primarily to poseurs. Why did auto makers try to reinvent the wheel and return to a system that decades ago was found inferior to having a keyed ignition?

    Otherwise the greatest surprise were your comments regarding the ride. Others have commented on the RAV providing a rather ‘bouncy’ ride.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The door handle rant was not accompanied with a door photo, which put me off a bit as well.

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      @ Arthur: I’m with you. The dismissive comments made me want to do two things. 1) Buy one. Especially the hybrid; and, 2) kick something.

      Not every vehicle needs to follow all the others down the rabbit hole of increasing technology. I see some of those things as something else that can break. Love radios and ignition keys almost as much as stone axes..

      This would be a great candidate to replace both our cars. Seems to just about do it all. Factory puts the towing capacity at 1500-1750 so my truck can go and the 30mpg neighborhood would replace my car.

      Have to think about this one.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        One wonders why Toyota didn’t release a RAV4 Hybrid a long time ago.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          Rumor mill purports some sort of gentleman’s agreement re: the Ford Escape hybrid.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            As an Escape Hybrid owner who has done a fair amount of research into its origins, this is the first time I’ve heard this rumor. If true, then why the 4-year gap between the last 2012 Escape Hybrid and the Rav4 Hybrid? I suspect sales was the concern. Few 2012 Escape Hybrids were sold, and surely Toyota could have had a Rav4 Hybrid ready to go for 2013.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Supposedly it was tied up with Ford not contesting the HSD patents and agreeing to not get into a bidding war over the capacity of the Panasonic battery factory.

            The delay in a RAV4 hybrid was likely a combination of delaying development after 2008, and wanting to introduce it with a new model.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Good car, but not as good as it should be.

    Get rid of the ridiculous 18″ wheels and give us 15″ wheels with 70 series tires. It’s an SUV, fer chrissakes, it’s not a sports car. I want to be able to drive over potholes.

    Push button starting is just silly.

    Still poor visibility out the back, and don’t try to tell me that putting triangular windows in a rectangular panel is related to fuel mileage. It’s styling, pure and simple, and styling that is anti-functional.

    Plastic front grille will be destroyed to the tune of thousands upon only minor impacts, especially with car bumpers that are lower. Give me steel or aluminum bumpers with black rubber rub strips.

    • 0 avatar
      LIKE TTAC.COM ON FACEBOOK

      All very good points. Any minor bumper bump will require the replacement and painting of a very expensive piece of plastic.

      Maybe Toyota figures that good enough is good enough, and are saving the improvements for the next facelift.

      Speaking of faces, the front grill looks like a junkyard dog that just noticed a rat eating out of its food dish.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “Get rid of the ridiculous 18″ wheels and give us 15″ wheels with 70 series tires…”

      It could be argued that low-profile tires are an asset to safety, and make the vehicle less likely to roll over at highway speeds – *especially* if one gets a sudden flat tire in that situation.

      Most SUV’s see plenty of high-speed operation – I don’t think that 70-series tires are ever coming back.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Push button start is the bomb. Don’t know how I lived without it. Seriously.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      You could do that, and nobody would buy it. Those features are things people want. My CX-5 has crazy 19″ wheels, but handles potholes fine.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The AMC Gremlin-esque styling meme for the D-pillars of these types of vehicles is getting old.

      This has Escape written all over it. Except the Escape doesn’t have a schnoz only a mother could love!

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    It’s an excellent vehicle for its intended purpose but I can’t work up much affection for it. Lots of room, good front seats, anvil powertrain, enough features, and an approach angle that allows you to bounce out of a steep parking lot entrance ramp with no drama. There’s hardly a utilitarian fault to be found. But then I look around the $32K Limited interior and see Yaris-grade interior plastics, big panel gaps, seat heater buttons that move with the brittle charm of a 90s GM product, and compare it to the $32K V6 XSE Camry and I wonder where the money went.

    I liked the previous generation RAV4 with the tailgate mounted spare tire more. It felt just as cheap and had bad front seats and a 4 speed automatic but it also had some charm and spunk that just isn’t present in this current one.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “I look around the $32K Limited interior and see Yaris-grade interior plastics, big panel gaps”

      Yep, it’s poor.

      “I liked the previous generation RAV4 with the tailgate mounted spare tire more.”

      I agree. I mentioned above, every time they redo the RAV I like it less than previous.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      When I bought my Accord years ago I looked at the CRV and one of the first things I noticed was how much more low-rent the interior was on the CRV of the same model year. As in completely off putting the second the sales weenie opened the door compared to the Accord.

      They’ve fixed that in the refreshed CRV, but looking at it at the time I couldn’t help thinking they were charging more for the crossover simply because they could get away with it. I’d imagine it’s the same with the Toyo.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        This is big-time true. There has been a crossover premium attached to most of these because the body form and AWD are in high demand and people will pay for it even if it means getting ripped off on interior materials, fuel economy, and the other compromises one must accept to get that ride height and AWD.

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          You guys forget that a portion of the buying population actually uses these vehicles as “sport utility” vehicles.

          We drive a 1st Gen CR-V with nearly 300K miles on it and that “low rent” interior is nearly perfect after all this time despite being used as a utility vehicle in addition to a family hauler.

          I rented a Tahoe for a week (work trip) and the interior was very nice but it was clear at 30K miles that the interior was going to age quickly from people sliding in and out of the seats b/c of their altitude. The driver’s seat was already showing wear at 35K miles.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            You’re describing a seat material issue, I’m talking about switchgear, scratchy poorly textured cheap plastics in contact points and plain view, and big panel gaps. Improving that would have no effect on long-term longevity.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The CR-V is more akin to the Civic, not the Accord. Hence the differences.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      My wife and I test drove a RAV4 Hybrid. We couldn’t get past the aggressively cheap feeling in the interior, especially not at the Limited’s mid-30s price point. We ended up with a C-Max which has an interior that feels at least $10k more premium (although it’s hardly perfect).

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Those wheels are ridiculous and look pretty dirty all the time, I don’t like the paint color, and the interior is a let-down yet again. The blacked out trim bits look silly and police-spec.

    But it’s popular and people love it, so what do I know?

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Keyless entry and pushbutton start is standard on Limited, for whoever is interested in that.

    Surprised to not hear a complaint about the ride on the SE. My understanding is that for ’16, SE retains the ’13-’15 suspension tuning, all other trims were softened after massive customer complaints. My future in-law’s ’13 Limited rides like crap.

    I am also surprised by the compliments in regards to seats. I think the front ones are too narrow with not long enough cushions, and too firm. Rear seat bench is way too short and likewise way too stiff.

    I think you should have emphasized the Rav4’s dominance of the class in terms of seats up cargo space (a whopping 38 cu ft) as well as seat down space.

    The powertrain pairing is indeed very ‘competent.’ It’s no hot rod but it gets down the road just fine, and the transmissions shifts exactly when it should. Good real world fuel economy as well, all without any new tech that might make long term reliability and servicing costs questionable.

    I wish the Rav had about an inch or so more ground clearance, like the original variant. Make a Subaru fighter by offering a version with slightly higher clearance, a revised fascia for better approach angle, a front skid plate, and 16 inch wheels with some form of mild AT tire (Michelin LTX AT2?). Offer some version of a terrain management system that allows for aggressive viscous coupling lock and some offroad traction control (this is actually rather easy and cheap to implement IMO). I think there’s truly a niche for people that like the rough road performance of a Subaru but don’t care for certain “Subaruisms” in terms of reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      I think the make one with a lock. Locks it 50/50. When I was 4 Runner shopping and I stated that I wanted a Trail Model for the diff lock in the rear the sales person told me that I should look at the Rav 4 as it has a lock. I tried explaining to the salesperson that it wasn’t the same thing but he couldn’t understand.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Prior to going “all in” on maximum fuel economy Toyota’s 4wd/AWD systems for were better for leaving the pavement and or poor conditions than they are now.

        The 2nd gen Highlander (2009-2013) had a AWD system that did a constant 50/50 torque split as the default. When it detects wheel slip it tries to send power to the wheels that have more grip and it has a DAC (Downhill Assist Control) for slow descents that normally freak out the ABS system.

        The 3rd gen Highlander has an AWD system that defaults to FWD until trouble is detected. It then sends power to the rear for only as long as it has to.

        The “good” systems are now reserved for vehicles like the 4Runner.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        cgjeep, yes sales people are pretty darn clueless about 4wd hardware, then again so are many buyers so it all evens out I suppose. I think the current cars still have the locking feature. But PrincipalDan below nails it. Toyota shifted away from a ‘true’ mechanical AWD system a while ago (one with a center diff that’s always sending a bit of power to the rear) in pursuit of extracting every last bit of fuel economy. Current models are much more electronically-reliant, and as much as they tout the speed of their response to throttle and shifting weight, they simply cannot match the performance of the old symmetrical “STD I” system. Even the early Highlanders were already not quite as capable as 1990s Toyotas. A gen 1 rav4 with the 50/50 fulltime AWD with a center locking diff and the optional limited slip rear diff is a potent little machine that is not to be underestimated offroad. I reckon it could drive circles around any number of modern 4wd offerings, including pickup trucks and SUVs with traditional part time systems.

        http://toyota-club.net/files/faq/04-02-20_faq_4wd_eng.htm

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          Haven’t they improved the fwd slip&grip system by making it “predictive”? By monitoring things like throttle level to engage the resr wheels before the fronts start spinning. My 09 Escape has this, and it works very well.

          • 0 avatar
            cgjeep

            They work very well providing a little bit of help now and again. For instance in snow you really only need it to get going from a stop. If used a lot they overheat and revert to fwd only. It doesn’t take much.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Looking at this at 6:30:

            linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIexQBNl7iM

            Looks like Toyota’s traction control on these is both very aggressive, does not function in an off-road setting to brake the wheel that’s slipping to transfer torque across the axle to the wheel that isn’t spinning, and said TC cannot be easily turned off.

            Contrast with a Forester with a better tuned TC system, and I think more inherent power being transferred to the rear axle (@6:50):
            linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhOz5H9wAeA

            Even the maligned Outlander does an impressive job of it (@7:30):

            To be fair the Outlander had the driest conditions and the Rav the wettest.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            I’ve driven the Escape up steep moutain logging roads on gravel and in unplowed snow for up to half an hour without the rear clutch heating up or disengaging. Many times. The brake-based traction control works well and has a button to shut it off. Of course, it’s still no jeep.
            Also it has gotten through an uphill cross-diagonal situation that defeated a Subaru.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            @brandloyalty

            @5:36

            linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u0FGBSIDbo

            That traction control looks like the useless earlier variants, the kind that limits power overall rather than redirecting it using the ABS system.

        • 0 avatar
          paladin54692

          An anecdote about the potency of earlier Rav-4s: In 2011 I spent time in Kosovo as part of a US Peacekeeping misson. My guys and I drove around that country in 2008 Rav-4s set up with manual 6 speed transmissions, a competent awd system and Toyota’s D4D 4cyl diesels. We had no issues taking those things up the sides of mountains (on improved trails of course) They were far more capable than I would have initially given those little vehicles credit for. The low end torque and stout fuel economy was amazing in those little vehicles. You have no idea how badly I wanted to figure out a way to hide one in a connex and ship it back to the states.

    • 0 avatar

      Front skid plate is useless on RAV 4.x. Almost all the damage goes right between the axles. That’s where you want a skid plate the most.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Someone was saying something about a car of some kind…?

    Sorry, I was napping.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    CR-V has outsold RAV4 every single year since 2010, probably further back than that but I didn’t check that far.

    Several of those years the discrepancy was 80,000 to 100,000 units.

    Do you check this stuff?

  • avatar
    Acd

    I’m surprised the 2016 SE doesn’t have keyless and push-button start. Those were two of the things my wife had to have when we bought her 2015 Limited and it has both of them standard. I’m glad hers has the less aggressive looking painted wheels; these on the SE look like they’re trying too hard to project an image that’s too out of character from the rest of the car.

    Competent is an excellent one word description of the RAV4. It does everything you expect it to well enough and because its a Toyota it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to keep running and whenever you do decide to sell it shouldn’t be difficult finding buyers willing to pay a premium because its a Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      On the used market, the RAV4 commands the -same- prices as an RX350 with equivalent year and mileage.

      You MUST be on something to make that choice over the RX.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Corey, where on earth are you finding RX350s for the same price as the same model year RAV4? A quick search on autotrader for 2012-2014 MY showed an average price difference of $11000 between the two. I had to look at the 2009-2011 price bracket to get 2012-2104 RAV4 prices.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          You went too new. I’m talking 07-09 era.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I must have misunderstood your “equivalent year and mileage” statement.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            07-09 RX350
            07-09 RAV4

            Near identical prices.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Yes, that does equalize it quite a bit although I’m seeing a $2500 price difference in my area and that might be real money to someone hunting for a $14K 9-year old vehicle. If you could swing it, that $2500 buys a whole lot, though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Unpossible.

            MY09 Toyota Rav4 “4WD” V6 Limited

            05/25/16 Manheim Harrisonburg Regular $13,500 56,294 Above WHITE 6G A Yes
            05/23/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $12,800 66,674 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
            05/27/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $12,100 67,504 Avg TAN 6G A Yes
            05/23/16 Manheim Ohio Lease $10,100 70,892 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
            06/16/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $12,800 73,083 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
            06/08/16 Manheim New Jersey Regular $10,500 79,956 Avg GOLD 6G Yes
            05/26/16 Manheim Tampa Regular $10,600 88,774 Avg SILV 6G A Yes
            05/26/16 Manheim Louisville Lease $11,400 101,065 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
            05/31/16 Manheim New England Regular $8,400 114,692 Below BLACK 6G A Yes
            06/15/16 Manheim Pittsburgh Regular $7,500 181,249 Below SILVER 6G A Yes

            MY09 Lexus RX350 AWD

            06/01/16 Manheim Tucson Regular $15,900 66,095 Above WHITE 6G A Yes
            05/26/16 Manheim Albany Regular $15,400 72,593 Above Silver 6CY A Yes
            06/15/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Lease $14,600 75,531 Avg BROWN 6G A Yes
            05/19/16 Manheim St Pete Regular $5,900 76,149 Below BLACK 6G A No
            06/10/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $15,500 78,569 Above GOLD 6G A Yes
            05/25/16 Manheim New Jersey Regular $14,000 81,839 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
            06/03/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $14,800 81,979 Avg GREY 6G A Yes
            05/19/16 Manheim Palm Beach Regular $14,500 83,520 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
            05/25/16 Manheim New Jersey Regular $13,600 86,248 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
            06/09/16 Manheim Cincinnati Regular $13,700 90,969 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
            06/02/16 Manheim Atlanta Regular $12,800 91,201 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
            06/01/16 Manheim New York Regular $12,500 93,305 Avg SIL 6G A Yes
            06/15/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Regular $14,300 95,493 Avg WHITE 6G Yes
            06/01/16 Manheim Kansas City Regular $12,200 95,617 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
            06/16/16 Manheim Tampa Regular $12,000 105,299 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
            06/09/16 Manheim Northstar Minnesota Regular $9,975 108,755 Avg Black NON N Yes
            06/03/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $12,750 111,833 Avg GOLD 6G A Yes
            05/26/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $8,600 111,976 Below Gray NON A Yes
            05/27/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $8,400 129,340 Below BLACK 6G A Yes
            06/16/16 Manheim Chicago Regular $8,300 159,525 Below GRAY 6G Yes
            06/08/16 Manheim California Regular $6,400 171,086 Below WHITE 6G A Yes
            05/27/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $8,500 200,196 Below GREY 6G A Yes

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh also, the price difference between RX330 and RX350 is naught once you consider a timing belt service which is inevitably past due on those 330 models for sale.

      • 0 avatar
        Acd

        I ended up buying new last year because 2013-2015 used RAV’s were roughly the same prices as buying new with all the incentives that were available at the time. Most used 2015’s were listed online for more than comparable new ones at aggressive dealers. Originally I was looking at an XLE but bumped myself after seeing a Limited with a tan interior which my wife really liked.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        That explains my garage then. I’d keep an 09 RX with 110k if offered a straight trade for a new RAV4 limited if I had to keep whichever for another 60k + miles.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    The RAV 4 would still be cool if it still offered a V6.

    Kia, Hyundai, Ford, Subaru, GM, all offer something with over 200 hp in this segment.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The Tucson does not with the 1.6T —it’s 175 HP and 195 lbs of torque.

      I prefer the styling of the Tucson, and KIA made the Sportage look ugly. You couldn’t get me to touch the GM twins; we have one as a company fleet car and when you close the doors you can see the door skin rattle. I like the changes to the Escape for 2017, it looks so much better on the outside.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        I was thinking of the Santa Fe Sport, forgot that the Tucson is really in the RAV 4s segment.

        Either way, it wouldn’t make the RAV 4 less desirable to have an engine option.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          The 176 HP 2.5 is adequate in the FWD model unloaded but AWD models with passengers aboard and or A/C going is quite sluggish in the warmer weather. My boss had a 2012 AWD with the same basic drivetrain as the current one and it was taxed in these situations. This would be a perfect vehicle to use the new 2.0T from Lexus as an optional motor.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Maybe for drag racing. The V6 be made a front end heavy vehicle even less balanced. And hurt mileage. Few paid the prices for the V6 just to win stoplight drag races. Time to put the V6 Rav4 laments to rest.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        Or for driving around not listening to a 4 cylinder.

        Or for driving around with a car load of people and/or stuff with the AC on.

        Or for wanting an engine refined enough for a Lexus in your RAV 4.

        Lots of things you could want the V6 for that don’t include drag racing.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          I agree. A road trip in a current 4-cyl RAV4 against a headwind made me wish for the V6. The 2.5 is powerful enough in town but loses to wind resistance at highway speeds, so the transmission was unable to stay in 6th and was shuffling constantly between 4th and 5th to maintain speed. Not pleasant.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I am sure the thing will last forever, but is there anyone out there who can look at that interior and say ” wow that’s beautiful”? It just seems to be a random collection of various shapes and sizes – how could the designers create such a mess?

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    “…what’s with the door handle seriously cutting into the armrest space?”

    We have a Rav4 as a company car and the ergonomics – mostly this door handle – drives me nuts every time I have to drive it. It’s bad enough, and its competitors good enough, that the door handle would cause me to reject the Rav4 if I had to buy a compact crossover. Visibility, the infotainment system, and the way it rocks back and forth every time I come to a stop are also lousy.

    But it doesn’t have the horrible, horribly tip-in that the previous generation did.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    The styling is growing on me. On a separate note…seems the most overlooked vehicle in this class is the Tiguan. A Tiguan S starts at like $25k,and it blows the RAV4 and CR-V away in terms of performance.

  • avatar
    ixim

    RAV4 vs Equinox. Bigger inside, smaller outside. Also noisier, bumpier, and lacking a power seat in lower trims. AND – thousands more OTD. Uses more gas, too. Sells better, though. Must be that Toyota rep for zero defects. Fair enough.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “Uses more gas, too”

      I don’t think so, Tim.

      • 0 avatar
        ixim

        Have owned both. YMMV.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Is this hand calculated or going off the display? The ‘Nox is hauling around close to 400lb extra curb weight. Distributions for 4cyls of both models on Fuelly seem to back up my suspicions and physics. But I could see in careful, flat, highway driving an Equinox pulling even with a Rav economy wise.

          • 0 avatar
            ixim

            Calculated at fillup. Same driver, same conditions. 2010 AWD RAV vs 2013 I4 FWD ‘Nox. The lack of AWD may account for the difference. FWIW, the slightly better mpg of the ‘Nox – about 2 mpg on the road., was not a deal breaker. The Chevy had, in low trim, the power seat, was smoother and quieter and cost thousands less. My current 2016 ‘Nox is even better. The current RAV is as competent as the post says. Overpriced and overrated IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Ah, well we’re talking different generations of Rav4 then, AND AWD vs FWD! :)

            That Rav4 still had the old 4spd auto that was quite less than optimal, as well as the older, less efficient AWD system. I daresay a 2013+ Rav4 with AWD would match a FWD ‘Nox on the highway, and could very well beat it in the city (again, due to less weight).

          • 0 avatar
            ixim

            Neighbor has a 2016 AWD RAV and similar numbers. It’s a $30K trim with a sunroof but no power seat! Just as solid and rattle free as the Chevys. An older guy, he loves the change from the Corolla he traded for it.

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    I’ve always liked the styling of the 2nd gen RAV4 and the materials at the time were very high quality. The drawback was of course the Corolla underpinnings made it extremely underwhelming on the onramp.

    We almost bought the V6 3rd gen (30 mpg) but got an Outback instead because those were Toyota’s dark years and the visible material quality had dropped substantially by then.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    We put about 1,100 miles on a stripper LE FWD. Picked it up with just 4 miles on the odometer in Orange County. There were things we liked, on road manners, off-road manners and traction, it was very competent.

    I don’t know where soft touch dash and interior bits and supportive seats come from, unless the SE gets a vastly different interior. We found the front seats – horrifically uncomfortable and hard black plastic everywhere. Observed the same issues with the base stereo system of errors in displaying information and other odd quirks.

    Controls were basic and laid out well for the most part. It was on our list for potential Forester replacements – but after our rental experience – nope. Certainly not in LE stripper trim.

  • avatar
    peeryog

    My wife had a 97 Rav4, steel wheels, locking center diff, 5 speed. She drove it to 425,000 kms before she gave it to a friend. She went and tried a new Rav4 and found it just OK. It did everything it was supposed to but she was ..well , there was just nothing. She bought a Frontier with a 6 speed.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Those gen 1s are awesome little trucklets. Off-road.com did a build on a gen 1 with a 5spd+rear LSD, it went some surprising places, albeit ultimately limited by both the lack of a low range and an overheating/slipping rear LSD.

      http://www.off-road.com/trucks-4×4/trails/rav4-crawler-finding-the-limits-of-the-trucklet-15044.html

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    The hybrid interested me for the mileage and added power, but after driving it I put it at the bottom of my list. They really tried to give me a great deal to sway me, but I just couldn’t. I drove a loaded Limited Hybrid. Sticker was $36,600 and they came down to $31,999. It had everything. The seats were surprisingly comfortable compared to the lesser models but the interior shapes, design, and materials were a deal breaker. Not to mention there are no sporting pretensions to this vehicle. Cargo room was fantastic and the 2016 restyle improves the looks. I ended up ordering a 2017 Escape Titanium. 90% of the CX-5’s handling and a quality feeling interior. Plus I like a big sunroof so that panoramic roof swayed me a bit too.

  • avatar

    The song/station data displayed when listening to the radio comes from the radio stations themselves and I’ve seen more errors in song titles over the years than I care to admit. The data displayed via RDS is just pulled from mp3/wav metadata which means if it’s entered in by a drone it may suffer in accuracy.

    The radio itself may also try to display RDS data by showing received data before error correction can be applied. It gets text on the screen faster but with many more errors.

    Frankly, I’m surprised to see radio text on any Japanese car; my previous experience was they avoided it like the plague because it wasn’t used widely in Japan. Contrast that to German/Euro cars which had it before it became widespread in the US, because RDS goes back to at least the early 90’s in Europe, where radio networks are more common.


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