Model Tested: Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD
Engine: 2.5-Liter DOHC 4-Cylinder
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Horsepower: 203 • Torque: 184 lb.-ft.
EPA Ratings: 25/City • 33/Highway • 28/Combined
Base Price: $34,900
As Tested: $39,536
Overview: The Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD is a great family vehicle, boasting a roomy interior and excellent fuel economy for a mid-sized SUV.
Walkaround: The RAV4’s styling isn’t really groundbreaking, but is more evolutionary than anything else. It has crisp, angular lines and attractive alloy wheels.
Interior: There’s lots of room for the driver and front seat passenger to stretch-out — in fact, more than some full-sized SUVs. The front seats are heated, and the rear seats offer generous legroom as well. Like most vehicles this size we wouldn’t want to sit in the middle rear seat for a long trip, however, there is a soft, wide rear armrest with cupholders.
Interior materials are good quality, with Toyota’s excellent fit and finish. The leather steering wheel is heated, slightly contoured, and features lots of excellent auxiliary controls.
The panoramic sunroof greatly brightens the interior, and makes it appear roomier than it actually is.
Instrumentation features nicely textured control dials for HVAC system, which offers an Eco choice for heat/cooling.
The sound system is good, with ample presets for the AM/FM/Satellite Radio setup.
There’s ample room behind the split, folding rear seats — which fold flat with no lift-over. The power liftgate has a very high opening however.
Behind The Wheel: The RAV4 delivers good power and acceleration for a 4-cylinder. On a trip across the mountains to Spokane and back, it acquitted itself well. Handling and braking are decent, and there’s a console dial for Normal, Eco, and Sport suspension settings, along with buttons for EV and Trail.
Bottom Line: We’ve tested both this and the hybrid version of the RAV4 – and actually drove both to Spokane for different reasons at different times. We found the difference between the two to be minimal. It’s a good solid, vehicle with Toyota’s legendary reliability.
The ample info screen can provide detailed information about the hybrid functions. Our best fuel economy in the hybrid was 39.3-mpg and 38.2-mpg in the non-hybrid. Better economy could be obtained in city-only hybrid driving. Spacious, high quality interiors were big pluses for both models as was the ability to handle varied road and weather conditions.