By on January 23, 2020

2019 Toyota RAV4 front quarter

2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD

2.5-liter inline four, DOHC (203 hp @ 6,600 rpm, 184 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

25 city/33 highway/28 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

9.2 city/7.1 highway/8.3 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)29.4 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $35,945 US / $42,661 CAD

As Tested: $39,034 US/ $42,661 CAD

Prices include $1,045 destination charge in the United States and $1,971 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Well, maybe the crowd can’t always be trusted. Over the last two hundred-plus years, there have been more than a few instances where our plurality voting system has yielded suboptimal victors in statewide and nationwide elections alike.

I’ve promised before that I’d stay away from politics here, so I’m not getting any more specific than that. I’m sure I’d piss off someone who doesn’t feel like hearing my thoughts on Franklin Pierce.

Anyhow, in 2019 Toyota pushed nearly half a million of these compact crossovers out the doors, making the 2019 Toyota RAV4 the fourth best-selling passenger vehicle in America — and if you exclude half-ton pickups from each of the Detroit Three, the best selling vehicle, period. But why?

2019 Toyota RAV4 profile

While your author would love it should practical minivans once again become available from every mainstream automaker and start stealing the sales crown from the scourge of crossovers, that’s nearly as likely as a return to carburetors for induction. This is our reality for the foreseeable future, I’m afraid crossovers are king.

2019 Toyota RAV4 front

Arguably, Toyota was the pioneer in this category with the first-generation RAV4. This newest fifth-generation has taken some styling cues from more butch members of the extended Toyota family, with angles and creases across every surface to distinguish this car from prior models. I wouldn’t call it pretty, but the newest RAV4 at least isn’t as boring-looking as some of the competition.

[Get Toyota RAV4 pricing here!]

One styling note — I typically despise overly large wheels, as they often degrade ride quality while increasing road noise. I was pleasantly surprised with the 19-inch alloys fitted to this Limited-trim tester, as they didn’t seem to affect either the ride or noise. And they look quite fetching, too. Maybe it’s silly, but I do think they make the car look that much better. I don’t look forward to replacing 19-inch tires, however.

2019 Toyota RAV4 front seat

For the most part, the driving experience of the RAV4 is excellent. Steering is nicely weighted, and harsh pavement imperfections are dispatched with little noise or cabin disruption. Wind noise is hushed. My only complaint comes from the 2.5-liter engine, which gets surprisingly thrashy as the tachometer swings north. In most driving, the engine is quiet enough, but when passing or pulling onto the interstate, it’s best to pause your conversations for a moment.

2019 Toyota RAV4 rear seat

Otherwise, living with the RAV4 is as pleasant as can be. The interior is spacious — wedging a random third kid between my too-tall tweens was a simple affair that didn’t lead to tears. While I’d personally prefer a slightly longer lower cushion on the heated front seats, most will find them plenty comfortable. Primary HVAC controls are handled intuitively by two large, easy-to-grip knobs, and the touchscreen, while of the hated iPad-glued-to-dash variety, was more responsive than some I’ve sampled in prior-year Toyota models.

2019 Toyota RAV4 cargo area

I love the two-tier dashboard, revealing a small tray both left of the steering wheel and above the glove compartment. It’s just enough space to hold the passenger’s cell phone (mine will be in the optional wireless charging tray ahead of the shifter) and a pair of sunglasses, but not too large to gather too much assorted crap like the extra napkins my wife likes to hoard in the glovebox.

2019 Toyota RAV4 interior

The RAV4 is now fitted standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of safety features – TSS 2.0 for short – which offers pedestrian detection with pre-collision warnings, full-speed active cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist, and automatic high beams. The full-speed active cruise is a godsend for stop-and-go traffic; just a tap of the cruise button or the throttle pedal when stationary, and the RAV4 will begin moving forward as traffic allows.

2019 Toyota RAV4 dashboard

I’ll admit one thing: though I’ve logged countless hundreds of thousands of miles behind the wheel over the years, I’ll occasionally struggle with one simple task – parking. Blame a decade of driving a two-seat roadster or something, but occasionally I’ll be flummoxed by a narrow parking spot at the supermarket. It seems I always park just a touch too close on the passenger side, causing my bride to squeeze out of her door. Other times, I brush the sidewall of a tire against a curb. With nineteen-inch polished wheels like those fitted to this RAV4, a curb can prove seriously hazardous. The Advanced Technology package fitted to my tester includes my favorite feature on any car: a birds-eye view camera for parking. Press a button at low speeds, and I can quickly gauge how close I am to disaster – or an argument with my bride.

2019 Toyota RAV4 center stack

The price of my tester ain’t cheap, at a hair under forty thousand US dollars delivered. One could even get into some entry-level luxury crossovers for a similar figure. But it’s hard to beat the Toyota RAV4 for features, value, and comfort – which is the same calculation hundreds of thousands of buyers make every year.

2019 Toyota RAV4 rear quarter

[Images: © 2020 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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105 Comments on “2019 Toyota RAV4 Review – Half a Million Buyers Can’t Be Wrong...”

  • avatar

    I fail to see why this is even written about. Toyoduh took a Jeep product, copied it, added a hideous front end and then have the nerve to call it new.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    While contemplating my next vehicle acquisition, quite often the conclusion is ‘why not just buy a RAV4’. Krown it every year, drive it for 10+ years, it does about 90% of what I would ever need a vehicle for, and it will probably provide a reliable experience and still have some residual value after that time.

    Toyota quality, an AT rather than a CVT, and a ready re-sale market.

    However. Toyota does not deal on these and I would have to finance it. I despise that tacked on screen (and all it stands for). If there is a problem, Toyota has one of the shorter warranties (at least in Canada). Tires larger than 16 inch are expensive, particularly when you purchase a winter set. Finally the RAV4 has grown ‘too big’ (and expensive). Remember the ‘Tonka Toy’ 1st generation. That was too small. But this one is now a sportcute on steroids. Unfortunately their smaller model the CRX is butt ugly (the rear end) and has a roofline that is far to sloped.

    • 0 avatar

      When I test drove the 2016 RAV4 I made it clear I wanted to test drive a couple other vehicles before I decided. And after driving what was a $36K Hybrid Limited they immediately took $4 off. Maybe because the hybrid version hadn’t been out that long at the time and they weren’t moving fast.

      Yeah, CH-R is hideous.

  • avatar

    Good god that as tested price is absurd. For that price I’d be looking one size up at a lesser trim level. Edge. Grand Cherokee. That kinda thing.

    I’m sure a fine car otherwise. Can’t imagine there is more more to it than that.

    • 0 avatar

      You could get a really nice minivan for that price too. More room, more power, similar gas mileage. No AWD, but really how many times per year is it needed? Here in WI I can think of one or two times in the past several years where I thought I should have AWD with my winter tires. One of those times was because the roads were drifted closed and the bean field was blown clean and I could have taken the bean field to the highway had I had a Wrangler, or FJ40.

  • avatar

    I still nominate the RAV4 as most improved vehicle in recent years. If you have ever been in a first gen one you know what I’m talking about. My retirement age parents have Ford’s version of this: the Escape. While I have no desire or need for such a thing you can understand why people get them. It has 4 doors with room for kids, decent rear hatch space, reasonable mileage and good tech. Its totally average which is what basic transportation appliance drivers want. However its not an attractive design inside or out. The fake plastic to give the floating roof look is pathetic, the squared off wheel arches are silly and the iPad suck to the dash look has got to go.

  • avatar

    Family friend in NYC/NJ managed to get $800 of the MSRP of a 2020 XSE Hybrid. He had to drive to PA for his deal. I remember when Honda was MSRP only in NY.

  • avatar

    That Ipad-dash looks terribly cheap.

  • avatar

    Base Price: $35,945 US / As Tested: $39,034 US

    Apparently priced for people with more dollars than sense.

    • 0 avatar


      It was not long ago where if someone priced a ho-hum 4 cyl hatchback in a dealer parking lot with a $40K MSRP, it would have languished on the dealer’s lot for the next decade with only the laughter passing car shoppers to keep it company. Add 3 inches of ground clearance with AWD and somehow it is the second coming and you cant keep them on the lots.

      Dont get me wrong, I think the small to Midsize CUV package does a lot of things right. Its interior dimensions and exterior dimensions would suit 90% of the population, it can tow small loads, handle inclement weather, has reasonable efficiency, etc. But everything about them is entirely generic from the looks, to the ride, to the materials and forget about performance, acceleration, etc. There is nothing to justify a $40k price tag. This should be priced $2-3k more than a similarly equipped Corolla.

      Nice package, horrible value.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      I see this all the time with folks on the B and B. I just don’t really get it.

      A fully loaded 2009 RAV4 without the V6 of the same era was 35K. That puts it over 42K in 2019 dollars.

      This vehicle gets much better gas mileage and has worlds more technology than a 2009 RAV4.

      What would YOU spend 40K on? I guarantee that what most people would spend 40K from the B and B would seem like a complete waste to a RAV 4 buyer.

      • 0 avatar

        Hmmm. I bought a 2011 Rav4 Sport with a ripping V6 engine for just over $27k. Great car. Fast, reliable, handled well. A bit of road noise, but better than any comparable Honda product.

        But I kind of agree. This engine belongs in a $30,000 vehicle. Ugh.

        • 0 avatar

          I dont think the engine choice was entirely Toyotas decision. The EPA likely forced them into it, and engine choice is made years in advance of a model launch.

          The last generation V6 Rav4 really moved when called on by my right foot. I wish the V6 was still around.

  • avatar

    The hybrid version of these interests me.

    41 city MPG in an AWD SUV with a large cargo area.

    Mechanically simpler transmission and AWD system (no transfer case, no driveshaft, just a rear mounted electric motor)

    The CVT is better than the 8sp and not a CVT in the traditional sense.

    Faster, smoother, quieter, better mileage than gas RAV4 for only $900 more when comparing AWD models.

    Could be my next.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Hamilton


      Your reasoning made perfect sense to me. That’s exactly why I got one, although it’s the previous generation.

    • 0 avatar

      I just bought one last month, the base 2020 LE model. I don’t need all the bells and whistles, thanks, well, except for the available heated steering wheel, but that would take $3,000 worth of bells and whistles I don’t need or want. Bonus as well on the LE, they throw in dual zone climate control and aluminum wheels on the hybrid for the 800 extra.
      Compared to my ’16 Prius, well, the Prius is only 15% more fuel efficient. Toyota’s hybrid drivetrains are simply sublime in how seamless they perform. They have the instant torque of an EV with a gas motor running in the background (or not, I have seen 0 RPM at 60 mph) . Oh, and dang is it faster and way more quiet than the Prius!

      I do have a hard time believing the author’s claim that the 19″ wheel/tires ride as smoothly as the 17″ 65series sidewall tires on my base model. The ride is stiff enough as is. Honestly my former 2000 Corolla rides more smoothly over manhole covers, expansion joints and asphalt patches.

    • 0 avatar

      The best $900 you will ever spend.

  • avatar

    Please dont buy these FUGLY CUVs.
    Homely looking- especially the front.
    2- tiny tail lights. you can over the stop function on the tail light with a frigging QUARTER.
    3- Car in the pictures is of the color that hides the blackish squarish wheel well plastic stick ons and the UGLY plastic stripe at the top of the D pillar.

    PS – it s popular to crap all over CVTs. But I ve found that CVT gives you 10-20% higher gas mileage. When the CVT has proper ‘steps’ and mimics a std transmission (like honda)are they fine.

    PPS- RAV4 have the same engine as the Camry? That one is agriculture grade for NVH.

    Buy the Honda or Subaru instead.

  • avatar

    “a hair under forty thousand US dollars delivered”

    ” My only complaint comes from the 2.5-liter engine, which gets surprisingly thrashy as the tachometer swings north”

    No! You can do better for much less from Subaru, Ford, GM, Honda, Kia, Jeep or Hyundai. Even a Nissan Rogue is a better deal

    • 0 avatar

      The RAV4 has some good things going for it that make it appealing like easy to get in and out of (for old people), pretty decent fuel economy unless pushed hard, larger on the inside than it appears from the outside, big range in driver seat accommodation, good head room for people over 6ft tall, decent support in front seating and pretty good ride and handling.

      Downside is that little squirrel four-banger isn’t up to the task if you put four fat people in the RAV4, and of course, the unrealistic price that is driven by demand.

      One other thing, if you get one get one with a VIN that starts with a J. They’re better because they have better suppliers in Japan.

      • 0 avatar

        I would guess that those commenters on this site who decry 1.5 liter turbo motors with CVTs might like a 2.5 NA and geared tranny that does as well in terms of power and efficiency, even if it is noisy when working hard.
        There is a RAV4 commentary site, and people there have found that the Hybrid has a mat on the underside of the hood over the motor that the non hybrid lacks. FWIW

        • 0 avatar

          Actually, often the smaller turbo engines have a better power-to-weight ratio, when coupled with final-drive (differential) gearing ratios that favor brisk acceleration within the turbo-engine’s power and torque envelope.

          Top speed could be lowered as a result, to maybe <100mph, but there aren't many places these days where you can run any vehicle WOT.

          AFA CVT vs Hydraulic step transmission? It's just a matter of time before the CVT will show up in the RAV4. It already has in the Corolla.

          CVTs are dirt cheap to make vs the multi-step process of making/assembling the conventional hydraulic automatic tranny.

    • 0 avatar

      “a hair under forty thousand US dollars delivered”

      -goes on Autotrader, buys the following for $40,000 total

      2000 BMW Z3 $7,490
      1997 Ford F350 $8,999
      1990 Cadillac Allante $9,000
      1987 Corvette $9,000
      1983 Lincoln Continental $5,000

      Has more fun than the buyer of the $40,000 RAV 4.

  • avatar

    The darker colors help to mute some of the jacked up curves on these. Squarish wheel wells suck no matter what they are on.

    Glad to see the grille toned down a bit. Maybe Lexus will now see that it can be done.

  • avatar

    The 2.5NA is lackluster at any price, and what they want for it, really makes no sense. For those of us that don’t want a hybrid, I think Toyota is trying to paint us into a corner. With no option for a V-6, which it could get from the Camry it is based off of, or a 2.0T, that could come from the NX300 which they obviously don’t want to compete with, the RAV4 is underpowered with NVH issues. They can sit on the lot as far as I am concerned.

    • 0 avatar

      The V6 is the way to go.

      Sister has a Lexus NX with the 2.0L turbo I4. IMHO it is not a particularly good engine. There is turbo lag if you do anything other than granny drive it. The highway MPG is positively atrocious for such a small CUV and 4 cylinder motor. Basically the same as my father’s 10 year old RX350 with the 3.5L V6. And it requires premium gas.

      The fact that Lexus doesn’t seem to be sticking it really anywhere else (I think the IS has it? Maybe the RC?) makes me think Toyota knows they’ve got a bit of a dog vs their superb V6. In my opinion there is zero comparison to the Toyota 3.5L V6 vs this turbo 4. The V6 is butter and feels very premium.

    • 0 avatar

      The old Rav4 with the V6 were fast, many say the fastest in class, but today you can get an Escape with a 2.0T for under $35K

  • avatar

    The rav4 hybrid is a terrific deal. Honda is bringing the crv hybrid to us this year and i just hope they make it available on the low trims like toyota does.

    Ive always liked the crv more because it has always offered more cargo space and a lower load floor. The new rav4s tailgate cuts too sharp reducing cargo volume.

  • avatar

    My Scion has that little shelf over the glove box, and yes, it’s very handy. I think I’ll just hang on to it another 10 years and save the $40K.

  • avatar

    These new RAV4’s are everywhere now so I guess I’m in the minority, but does anyone else think this is one of the worst looking new designs on the road? I will admit that styling plays a big part in my vehicle purchases, but I don’t get this one at all. The front looks like a combination of angry and depressed and the rear just looks sad. Is America’s taste really this bad?

    • 0 avatar

      I know someone who bought a RAV4 for his wife and thought the RAV4 was ALWAYS butt-ugly.

      Yet HE drives it most of the time around town on errands, instead of his pickup truck (F150).

      I always thought the RAV4 was a chic-car, built for the ladies, like a CR-V and Cherokee.

      No self-respecting man would want to project the image of being a girly-man.

      • 0 avatar

        Well everyone’s tastes are different, but I like a vehicle that you would want to turn around to look at while walking away. This would not do it.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Have to laugh at that last sentence.

        When I was growing up we had a ‘toy’ poodle. After it was groomed and festooned with ribbons, My Old Man used to enjoy taking it out for walks, to the store, car rides etc. He would then ‘demonstrate his masculinity’ to anyone foolish enough to call him (or the dog) something like ‘girly-man’.

        The end result is a belief that anyone who believes things like automotive choices/pets/etc have anything to do with someone’s sexuality/masculinity is most likely overcompensating for something.

        Or as he said “only small men need big dogs”.

        • 0 avatar

          Did he always wear a trench coat during dog walks; just in case?!

          I don’t feel like I’m driving a chick car when I drive the wife’s CRV. They’re so practical and common, I just feel anonymous. My Mazdaspeed3 embarrasses me far more during winter with its lack of traction. I can’t keep up with ladies in RAV4s off the line. The CRV is a rocket in comparison. Nobody’s keeping up with it and its studded Pirelli Ice Zeros on slippery days.

          I also never thought I’d care much for a little dog, but her Havanese is my buddy and I like walking him. I even got him a dinosaur jacket for the really cold winter days. He likes to prove his own masculinity by lifting his leg every 10 feet though.

        • 0 avatar
          Greg Hamilton


          I must agree with you. Having inherited my ex-wifes multipoo, I now find that that little dog is quite a chick magnet. Anyone who drives a car (or SUV) to validate their masculinity is just silly in my opinion. But this is America (or Canada) and we are all free to drive whatever we want, for the time being at least.

        • 0 avatar
          cimarron typeR

          +1 , considering I read that the Wrangler is the top choice for alternative lifestyles

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Did you just fall out of 1952?

      • 0 avatar

        There’s lots of guys out there that aren’t insecure, like you are.

    • 0 avatar

      It looks like it just took a big bite out of a sh*t sandwich and is experiencing severe disgust.

  • avatar

    RAV4 is the “default” choice. If you show up in suburbia with one in your driveway nobody is going to ask you: “Gee Bob, what made Susan choose the Toyota?” – it would be like buying an Impala in 1972. Your neighbors wouldn’t even bink.

  • avatar
    DOHC 106

    I remember Motortrend did a cross over comparison and rated the Rav4 in fourth place. Narrow borrow, terrible ride, and coarse engine as such. Fast forward, its number one and says: we can’t decide between the Rav4 and Crv. Go figure.

  • avatar

    My dad had a 2001 (2nd gen) Rav4 for a bit when I was growing up, and it was the worst car the family has ever owned. Insanely rattly, tiny interior, jittery ride. I’m surprised the reviewer found the road noise tolerable, because consumer reviews I’ve read indicate the experience isn’t much different than my dad’s rattle trap from 20 years ago. He only kept the car 2 years, and usually keeps cars 10+ years.

  • avatar

    “I’m sure I’d piss off someone who doesn’t feel like hearing my thoughts on Franklin Pierce.”

    Funny, but I actually did that once. Turns out they really *were* related to him!

    The RAV4 is really not a bad vehicle, even if not on my short list of cars to buy. For almost $40,000, however, there’s a lot of incentive to look elsewhere.

    A lot of words went toward analyzing the 19″ wheel choice, but I think it really does point out how illogical carbuyers (and carmakers) can be at times. We drove around quite nicely in two-ton vehicles on 225/60R16 tires 20 years ago. They handle almost as well, and ride much better, than these 19″ behemoths. The downside is less space for brake rotors. A nice set of 17″ wheels would be fine, however.

  • avatar

    This is the one I want. But I will be too cheap to buy it when it debuts. So I think it might be the fall of 2021 before I’ll pony up for the extra horses:

  • avatar

    A neighbor has one. Scratch that, every fourth neighbor has one. Anyhow, getting back to that first one, it’s a brilliant electric blue that stands out so brightly that all of the other overdone styling looks like it belongs there too.

    Just this once, full retard worked.

  • avatar

    I had one of these as a rental a couple of months back, and aside from it being quiet on the highway, and the engine being thrashy, I’m struggling to remember anything about how it drove. That’s probably by design. Toyota builds stuff for people who don’t want to think too hard about their cars. That’s not a slam – it’s just their market, and they serve it brilliantly.

    BTW…my rental was a more basic model, and as I recall, it would have stickered for around $30,000. That makes a lot more sense than this “luxury” model at this silly price.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Thankfully, these don’t transact anywhere near their MSRP, so actual retail for one like this—in my area—would be closer to $34K at the most.

    The real killer app is the RAV4 Hybrid. Unfortunately, a loaded one of those *is* close to or right at $40K, and in some areas, it’s tough to get your hands upon one.

  • avatar

    How much longer before a naturally aspirated 4 cylinder makes 250 horsepower and similar torque?

    As homely as it is, this thing is pretty clean by Toyota standards. I even dare say the tailgate and lights are attractive. I’m still partial to Mazda at this point, but I wouldn’t necessarily shun this.

  • avatar

    $39K???? No thanks, Toyota.

    My 2019 Outback Limited stickered for $36K and discounted to $33K. And I like it better, with over 6′ of cargo space and enough ground clearance to drive it all over the Mojave.

  • avatar

    Can’t wait to test drive the RAV4 Prime. I’m very curious about this evolution of the hybrid system.

    The rest of the lineup… totally competent, totally boring.

    • 0 avatar

      My guess is that all the extra power is due to beefed up battery and electric motor, and the gas motor will be working more to keep the system charged up when the battery reserve is depleted.
      But dang, about 100 more horsepower up from 209! Its going to be fast!

  • avatar

    People complaining about the price of this loaded up top trim press fleet car crack me up.

    As if you can’t buy a RAV4 for $25K or option a Camry up to $40K either….SMH

  • avatar
    Offbeat Oddity

    My family and I drove a 2019 RAV4 as a rental and had mixed feelings about it.

    Pros were that it rode and handled well. It also got 31 mpg overall despite the fact that it had to be driven aggressively on MA’s roads- we only filled it up once during the week we drove it.

    Cons were that my mom and I found the rear seats very uncomfortable. You sat low in the seat, and it reminded me of sitting in a car. We also noticed that the engine was quite load and that the interior materials- at least in the back- were low rent and nothing special.

    • 0 avatar

      “It also got 31 mpg overall ” That may change.

      I was hoping for looser mpg standards so we could enjoy bigger engines.

  • avatar

    Rav4 …. uh, I forgot what I was going to say.Yawn. Oh yeah. Nope, forgotten again. Oh well, makes no difference.

  • avatar

    In a short drive, I found the new RAV to be a little too boomy, too loud from the cargo area. Other than that, having no use for sitting up higher, I’d rather just take the Camry’s very legitimate 40+ highway MPG.

  • avatar

    Commentary on the 2.5L mill under the hood in this write up is beyond kind.

    At California highway speeds of 75 to 80 MPH, standing on the gas pedal for passing power reminds me of the old GM 2.2. Oh there is a lot of sound and fury as noted in the article, and the NVH is surprising for a Toyota product – but that’s it. NVH and sound and fury. Not so much in the acceleration department.

    Faster? You want me to go faster?

    Oh no no no no – I’ll just start screaming like I’m ready to come apart but don’t expect me to go much faster. Certainly not in a hurry…

    • 0 avatar

      And that is why I’ll keep my 2009 AWD V6 RAV 4 until the wheels fall off.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know if the engines are from the same family, but the 2.4L I had in my Scion xB2 was similar. A whole bunch of noise/thrash at WoT but no apparent increase in acceleration.

    • 0 avatar

      I haven’t driven this one so maybe it’s even worse than the others, but is there any cute ute naturally aspirated four that isn’t strained and obnoxious at highway speeds? Has there ever been one?

      All fours sound like garbage and none of these have the damping to turn 5K while hiding it from you.

  • avatar

    Ixnay on the quirky first-gen (1994-1999). The second-gen (2000-2005) was fairly forgettable – I had to squint to recognize it just now.

    Sales doubled in 2006 with the debut of the third-gen, and have generally continued to climb from there.

    The RAV4 sells well because it is about the right size for many people, the powertrain is adequate for many people, and it is fairly reliable. To my eye, Toyota is in danger of compromising the utility aspect of the vehicle with their more-recent responses to “your styling is boring” criticisms.

    My spouse drives a 2010 base third-gen RAV4 (I was quietly suggesting Highlander), which is not unattractive, especially with aftermarket wheels installed. [Replacing the catalytic converter on the 2.5L I4 was refreshingly straightforward.]

    I asked her last week about the side-opening rear door – she would prefer a liftgate (Toyota switched to liftgate in 2013).

    A hybrid RAV4 is going on the “future consideration” list, along with the hybrid Highlander.

  • avatar

    “For the most part, the driving experience of the RAV4 is excellent”

    Opposite for me. I did not like the engine, the transmission, the noise. Basically, I dumped it after small loop and bought Highlander…. for less

  • avatar

    Ah, the press cars, always speced and priced like they live in a fantasy land. I wish they provided more journos with the absolutely bare-bones models. This way you absolutely start to see the essence and performance of the car without 10 thousand dollars worth of bells and whistles.

    This is by the way, what I do when I want to evaluate a burger joint. Just give me a damn burger. No BBQ sauce, no bacon, no cheese, one patty, no mushrooms, etc. Then it quickly becomes apparent what it’s made of.

    • 0 avatar
      Thomas Kreutzer

      TTAC was better when they didn’t regularly get press cars and had to rely upon what the author could rent or borrow. It lent real credibility to the site.

      It’s nice that TTAC gets press loaners these days and I would like to think that those charged with reviewing those cars really do their best to give an honest picture, but deep down you can bet that no one wants to screw up the gravy train. The old, blunt TTAC was a thing of beauty.

    • 0 avatar

      I can tell you right now. I jumped into 34K Adventure model and it didn’t have a leather steering wheel.

      • 0 avatar

        Supposedly the Adventure model is the one that drives well: better shocks and springs and whatnot. The base model I drove was unremarkable in every way except cargo space; it’s a well-packaged, roomy little bugger.

  • avatar

    B and B? I searched and found Bold and the Beautiful…. Bimmers and Benzes would be my guess but of what do you speak?

  • avatar

    I would tend to think them boobs and the bozos. I’m much too old to keep up with all the shorthand that is required to decipher these modern idioms.

  • avatar

    I recently drove a previous-model RAV4 from Chicago to Colorado and back. I found the seats to be highly uncomfortable. Do the new ones have the same seats?

    FWIW, my aged father says the RAV4 is the best driving car he’s ever had. He relies on the laser cruise control and lane departure warning to keep him out of trouble. I imagine I’m soon going to have to tell him he can’t drive any more.

  • avatar

    Yes. If you want a V6 go have one. Milage issues have killed them in many vehicles. They exist as do V-8’s. We all know this.

    If you see a better engine buy it.

  • avatar

    Like the Jeep Gladiator, I don’t understand the pricing on this thing. My friend’s daughter just got a Rav4 that stickered for about $40K, and I didn’t drive or ride in it, but sitting in it, I thought it was about a $30K vehicle, and then I saw the sticker. I don’t see anything on it that takes it up to the $40K price level. I can think of a ton of other vehicles I would be happier with and they all cost less or about the same. You could buy any of a number of larger, more powerful CUV/SUV’s for $40K. The Gladiator my friend test drove was over $50K, and we both thought it was just insanely overpriced. FCA or whatever it’s called now must make a ton of money on them.

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