Inside the New Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 hits the scene with all sorts of high-tech niceties and plenty of style. This sport utility vehicle has something for everyone, from singles to couples, those in college and even those in their golden years. This crossover is spacious, rip-roaring with power and quite comfortable in just about every regard.

The new RAV4 is available in five trims: LE, XLE, SE, Platinum and limited. The exterior is redesigned with new wheels, a perkier tail and distinctive taillights. The interior features improved materials along with all sorts of plush soft touch surfaces. The touchscreen is extremely easy to use even for those who aren’t exactly tech aficionados. This is an accessible vehicle in every sense of the word. It is fun to drive, easy to maneuver and loaded with all sorts of electronic goodies that make the driving and riding experience that much more enjoyable.

Toyota RAV4 Specs and Size

The new RAV4 features two powertrains. The base engine is an inline four cylinder with 176 horsepower and 2.5 liters, paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Turn on the sport shift mode and the vehicle will feel a bit like a go-kart, capable of taking on corners at high speeds with impressive balance and dexterity.

The 2017 RAV4 goes from zero to 60 mph in less than nine seconds which is more than acceptable for a vehicle of the RAV4’s size. The RAV4 Hybrid is surprisingly powerful, despite its diminutive looks. The Hybrid’s all-wheel drive relies on a separate motor with 50 kw, this equates to roughly 67 horsepower.

This year’s RAV4 has a considerable amount of space. The cargo floor is positioned quite low for easy loading and access. Tumble the split-folding back seats to the floor and you will have a whopping 73.4 cubic feet of space. Keep these back seats upright and the RAV4 has 38.4 cubic feet of space.

For Sale: Toyota Rav4 MSRP

The new RAV4 has a starting MSRP of $24,910. This is quite the attractive price for a vehicle of the RAV4’s quality. Compare this starting price to that of similar sized and equipped crossovers and you will find the RAV4 is competitively priced. All-wheel drive is available at an extra cost of $1,400. Once you consider all the fancy gadgets and incredible comfort level, you will quickly realize the RAV4 is a fantastic value.

Gas Mileage and Fuel Economy

The 2017 RAV4 has excellent fuel economy considering its size and power. The Hybrid version of the vehicle achieves 32 combined miles per gallon. This is nearly a one-third improvement compared to the 25 miles per gallon provided by Platinum and Limited RAV4 all-wheel drive models. These models achieve 23 miles per gallon on city roads and 29 miles per gallon on highways.

XLE and LE trims equipped with front-wheel drive achieve 26 combined miles per gallon. Similar to the Platinum and Limited trims, these models provide 23 miles per gallon on city roads and 30 miles per gallon on highways. RAV4s with all-wheel drive achieve a combined 25 miles per gallon with 22 on city roads and 28 on highways.

How It Stacks up Against the Competition

Take a look at the 2017 RAV4 reviews posted around the web and you will find that this sleek crossover stacks up quite nicely against the competition. Many SUV shoppers are a bit hesitant to plunk down their money for a vehicle of considerable magnitude due to fuel cost concerns. In terms of fuel economy, the new RAV4 is slightly above average for its class. While some crossovers provide fuel efficiency in the low 20s, the RAV4 provides mid-20s.

The new RAV4 is loaded with safeguards, making it one of the safest in its class. Though the RAV4 rides quite nicely, its engine feels a bit strained when the vehicle is loaded up with passengers and cargo. Some critics have complained that the new RAV4 has an inferior powertrain compared to the Subaru Forester and Ford Escape. It is also worth noting that competing vehicles like the Jeep Cherokee and Ford Escape are equipped with stronger engines.

Pros and Cons

This year’s edition of the RAV4 is lauded for its spacious cabin, intuitive infotainment system, myriad standard features and unique styling that appeals to the masses. RAV4 owners love its parking aids. These aids ease city driving to a considerable extent. The front and rear parking sensors do a fantastic job of guarding against fender benders. Though previous incarnations of the RAV4 looked fairly basic, the new version is quite aesthetically pleasing. It has a sporty dash along the front end, angled body lines and 18-inch wheels.

In terms of complaints, some feel as though the vehicle’s interior features too much plastic. Others have griped that the new RAV4 has somewhat sluggish acceleration. Though the vehicle handles quite well in harsh weather, it doesn’t perform well in rugged off-road environments. This SUV’s tires and chassis are meant for street driving rather than rough-and-tumble terrain off the beaten path. If you need a SUV for towing massive loads, look elsewhere. The 2017 RAV4 is tow rated up to a mere 1,500 pounds.

Entertainment Features

Hop on in the new RAV4 and you will find a 7.0-inch touchscreen. Four Entune levels are offered. The upper two levels make use of the App Suite with iHeartRadio, Bing for search and Pandora to stream audio. Even Open Table, MovieTickets.com and Yelp are available. Additional niceties include satellite radio and a JBL sound system with 11 speakers and 576 watts that produces crystal clear audio.

Interior Goodies

Aside from the entertainment specs outlined above, the new RAV4 has its fair share of electronic features. There’s a 12-volt outlet, a USB port, heated steering wheel, alloy wheels, power everything, tilt/telescope steering wheel, air conditioning, interior LED lighting and cruise control. Step on up to the XLE trim and you will enjoy a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control and fog lights. The Limited, SE and Platinum trims have uber-plush SofTex upholstery. It feels like leather and gives the vehicle an upscale feel. The Limited also provides 18-inch alloy wheels and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.

Safety Features

This is one of the safest vehicles on the road. The new RAV4 earned the best possible 5-star rating from the NHTSA. The IIHS awarded it with its much-coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation. As expected, the new RAV4 has eight airbags. In terms of high-tech safeguards, the RAV4 has just about everything you could hope for. Safety equipment includes:

  • A forward collision warning system
  • Lane-departure alert
  • Pedestrian pre-collision technology
  • Automatic high beams
  • Radar-based cruise control
  • A four-camera surround-view system that provides a 360-degree view

There is even an automatic pre-collision braking system that applies the brakes if the driver fails to press them in a timely manner. The Limited trim provides blind-spot monitoring along with cross-traffic alerts.