Toyota RAV4

2016 Toyota RAV4

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 benefits this year from a mild freshening inside and out. Most of the attention went toward the interior, evidently in response to customer comments. The current-generation model was introduced for the 2013 model year and it offers two rows of seating (not three) for five people.

Also new is the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid model. EPA-rated at 33 mpg Combined, the RAV4 Hybrid is the only small SUV currently available with a gas-electric powertrain.

Also new is the 2016 Toyota RAV4 SE, the sportiest model, which uses the same engine but adds a sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Built on a small front-wheel-drive passenger-car foundation, the RAV4 competes with the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester and other compact crossovers. Roomier than some rivals, the RAV4 provides a touch of driving pleasure.

All-wheel drive is an option, in place of the standard front-wheel drive.

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 176 horsepower comes standard, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a sport-shift mode. The RAV4 can reach 60 mph in less than nine seconds. Thats sluggish performance (and a V6 is not available). Fuel-economy estimates are below average. Front-wheel-drive models are EPA-rated at 23/30 mpg City/Highway, or 26 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive lowers each estimate by 1 mpg.

The new RAV4 Hybrid is more powerful and delivers an EPA-rated at 34/31 mpg City/Highway. At very low speeds, it can run in electric-only mode. Using a 154-horsepower version of the 2.5-liter engine coupled with the latest generation of Toyotas Hybrid Synergy Drive system, the RAV4 Hybrid delivers a total combined output of 194 horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard on the Hybrid, with a separate electric motor driving the rear wheels.

Not only has the RAV4 earned some decent crash-test ratings, its added new active-safety systems for 2016. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick +. While earning a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the RAV4 got only four stars in frontal-crash and rollover testing.

New for 2016 is Toyotas Safety System. Standard on the 2016 RAV4 Limited, it includes Forward Collision Warning with automatic braking, Lane Departure Alert, adaptive cruise control, a pedestrian pre-collision system, and automatic high beams. A new four-camera Birds Eye View Monitor gives a 360-degree view surrounding the car.


2014 Toyota RAV4

All-new for 2013, the Toyota RAV4 adds new safety features and four levels of Entune connectivity for 2014.

Toyota pioneered the crossover/SUV segment with the first RAV4 (for Recreational Active Vehicle, 4WD) in 1996. This latest, fourth-generation RAV4 handles better than before, and squeezes more miles from a gallon of gasoline. The new styling is more fluid: less truck, more car. The fourth-gen RAV4 is also more focused than its predecessor. The V6 option is gone, as is the optional third row of seating. The RAV4 is now strictly a four-cylinder five-seater. Take it or leave it.

Of course, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder that remains features all of Toyota's usual high-tech hardware, including four valves per cylinder with variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides (VVT-i, in Toyota-speak). It boasts 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. It's coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission (also new for 2013), with the top two cogs being overdrive gears to aid fuel efficiency.

City/Highway EPA ratings are 24/31 mpg with front-wheel drive and 22/29 mpg with all-wheel-drive, representing about a 10 percent improvement over 2012 and older models.

As we said, the latest styling is more car than truck. It's been tweaked to create more emotion. The spare wheel is no longer stored on the tailgate but in the more commonly used location under the trunk floor. Yet despite these changes, it still looks remarkably uninspiring and bland.

The fourth-generation interior is upgraded as well, including a SofTex leather band that runs the entire width of the dash. While the feel doesn't scream luxury, it does stack up well against the competition; and comfort is good, too.

On the road, the fourth-gen RAV4 is a nice step forward in terms of handling. It feels far firmer and more planted than before. The steering is a touch rubbery, but braking is good. Yet, again, despite the improvements, the car still fails to engage the driver. It's better, but not fun.

Overall, the 2013-14 RAV4 is a solid improvement over the outgoing model. But it is still a means of transportation, and not a vehicle that you will particularly enjoy driving. In true Toyota fashion it remains remarkably vanilla.

It is, however, practical, efficient and competitively priced (starting at $23,550), making it a car that will sell like a Lightning McQueen toy at Christmas.


2013 Toyota RAV4

The fourth-generation Toyota RAV4 arrives for 2013. While the 2013 RAV4 may look a touch better than the outgoing model, and drive better too, in true Toyota fashion it remains remarkably vanilla.

The RAV4 was introduced to the U.S market back in 1995 as the world's first crossover SUV. Since then, three progressive generations have been developed, including the current generation 2006 RAV4. Light cosmetic surgery has been performed during this last generation's reign, but the all-new fourth generation has been totally reborn.

For 2013, RAV4 loses its third row seating due to a lack of demand, as well as ditching the more powerful V6 engine option, again due to a low take rate, with customers favoring the more efficient 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

That engine remains, boasting 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic has replaced the four-speed automatic transmission; with the top two cogs being used as overdrive gears to aid fuel efficiency.

Fuel economy has been increased throughout the board with City/Highway/Combined EPA rating 24/31/26 miles per gallon with front-wheel drive (compared to 22/28/24 mpg for the pre-2013 RAV4) and 22/29/25 mpg for the all-wheel-drive 2013 RAV4 AWD (21/27/24 mpg for the outgoing model).

The 2013 RAV4 exterior receives tweaks in an effort to create more emotion and lust. The spare wheel is no longer stored on the tailgate but in the more commonly used location under the trunk floor. Despite the changes, it still looks remarkably uninspiring and bland.

The 2013 RAV4 interior gets some nice upgrades, including a SofTex leather band that runs the entire width of the dash. While the feel doesn't scream luxury, it does stack up well against the competition, and comfort is good too.

On the road, the 2013 RAV4 is nice step forward in terms of handling. It's feels far firmer and planted than before. The steering feels a touch rubbery, but braking is good. Despite the improvements, the car still fails to engage the driver. It's better, but not fun.

Overall, the new 2013 RAV4 is a solid improvement over the outgoing model. But it is still a means of transportation, and not a vehicle that you will particularly enjoy driving. It is, however, practical, efficient and competitively priced (starting at $23,300), making it a car that will sell like a Lightning McQueen toy at Christmas.


 

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