2008 Toyota RAV4 SUV Review | Edmunds.com
 

2008 Toyota RAV4 SUV

 
 

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Toyota RAV4 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 269 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No
 

Review of the 2008 Toyota RAV4

  • Spacious, comfortable and easy to drive, the 2008 Toyota RAV4 is a top pick for a small SUV, especially if you want a V6 or a usable kid-size third-row seat.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Superb power and fuel economy for optional V6, balanced ride and handling, roomy second row, low cargo floor, solid construction.

  • Cons

    Interior has a budget feel, side-hinged rear gate impedes curbside loading, driver seat a tight fit for tall drivers.

  • What's New for 2008

    The Toyota RAV4 carries over unchanged for 2008.

 
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (9 total reviews)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

At first impressed and then

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota RAV4 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I am a 7 year Toyota owner and didn't think twice when it was time to buy a another car. My 2003 Corolla took me to 150,000 miles with no problems (besides standard maintenance). I bought my CERTIFIED 2008 RAV4 in November of 2009 and have had to replace the breaks, tires, and battery since then. At first, I loved the snappiness (torque) of my V6 Rav4. After replacing the breaks and the tires (after 6 months of ownership) I was a little discouraged. Then, my battery went out and what I didn't know is that the power steering is powered by the battery. I lost complete power steering in the middle of a major intersection and am thankful to be alive.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Good value for the price

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota RAV4 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I have owned this car for 2.3 years putting approximately 23,000 miles per year on it. I bought the Base model. Wanted to get the Limited but my head would hit the roof line occasionally when going over bumps because of the sun roof intrusion into the cabin. The car has given me no mechanical problems and I've never taken it back to the dealer for any issue. I wanted a vehicle with both all wheel drive and 4 wheel drive capability. However, recognize that this vehicle is not designed for off-road use. No rattles or squeaks have developed. Car handles very well, but OEM tires wear out quickly, lasted 1 year. Actually this is good so you can replace them with ones of good quality.



1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Leg cramps from uncomfortable seats

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota RAV4 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I really can't wait to get rid of this car. It's nothing like my old 4runner. Driver's seating position is so uncomfortable I have constant leg cramps. I tried spacers under seat legs, extra spring on gas pedal, lumbar pillow, seat cushion, none worked. I have to drive for now but this is the last toyota for me. That is saying a lot from a guy that had 4 so far but this one is not my favorite. Really don't like silly side-swinging rear door. Dash rattles. It struggles to get the rated MPGs. Transfer case whines a bit a certain speeds. I am just plain unsatisfied.



 
 
 
Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Full 2008 Toyota RAV4 Review

What's New for 2008

The Toyota RAV4 carries over unchanged for 2008.

Introduction

An engine can make or break a car. That's rather obvious since without cylinders pumping under the hood, a car is nothing but an expensive lawn ornament. But in the case of the 2008 Toyota RAV4, its optional V6 engine catapults this otherwise competent compact- to medium-sized crossover SUV to the top of its class. Not only does the 269-horsepower six-cylinder provide excellent acceleration, it gets about the same fuel economy as four-cylinder-equipped competitors putting out 100 fewer horses -- including the four-cylinder RAV4. More power without more consumption is always a recipe for success.

The vehicle surrounding that engine is a model of user-friendly transportation. Though previous generations of the Toyota RAV4 were petite, the third-generation RAV has ballooned to offer a huge 73 cubic feet of cargo space (more than the midsize Ford Edge, for example) and ample space for five passengers. A third-row seat provides room for two children, or possibly small adults with a high threshold for cramped spaces. There are also plenty of family-friendly cubbies, cupholders (10, to be exact) and other features like an available rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Even with its boffo V6, the 2008 Toyota RAV4 still isn't the most involving crossover to drive. As such, driving enthusiasts might prefer a Mazda CX-7 or Saturn Vue Red Line. Otherwise, the V6-powered RAV4 is hard to beat for families in search of a vehicle that offers plenty of space, features and value (both at buying time and at the pump). The four-cylinder RAV4 isn't quite as attractive. Unless you really need a third-row seat, the Honda CR-V is a more well-rounded, versatile and luxurious choice. And although they don't offer the same space and/or fuel economy, the Nissan Rogue, Mitsubishi Outlander, Saturn Vue and Hyundai Santa Fe are also worthy of a look.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Toyota RAV4 is a crossover SUV that falls in between the compact and midsize categories in terms of size. There are three trim levels: base, Sport and Limited. There is standard seating for five; however, a third row is optional on the base and Limited trim levels and it increases capacity to seven people.

Standard features for the base RAV4 include 16-inch steel wheels (17-inch alloys are optional), rear tinted windows, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player and auxiliary audio jack. The Sport adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, foglights, heated side mirrors and several exterior details. The range-topping Limited trim includes 17-inch wheels for a smoother ride, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an in-dash six-CD changer (optional on the two lower trims).

Options available on the Limited trim include leather upholstery, heated front seats and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. Optional on the Limited and Sport trims is a sunroof and upgraded nine-speaker stereo system with satellite radio capability and Bluetooth. Toyota packages these options together, but those packages' exact content and availability varies based on region.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2008 RAV4 comes standard with 2.4-liter four-cylinder that delivers 166 hp and 165 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard. Revised fuel economy figures for this engine with front-wheel drive are 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, while the four-wheel-drive model gets a 20/25 mpg rating.

Optional on all trim levels and coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces an impressive 269 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain gets almost the same fuel economy as the much less powerful four-cylinder, with 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Getting four-wheel drive results in a loss of only 1 mpg on the highway. In performance testing, the RAV4 V6 4WD delivered a very quick 0-60-mph time of 7.2 seconds.

All RAV4s can be equipped with either front- or four-wheel drive. Front-drive models have a limited-slip differential, while the electronic 4WD system sends most of the power to the front wheels until it identifies potential slippage. Unlike many competitor vehicles, the RAV4 offers a true 4WD lock feature that fixes the front/rear power split 50/50, which is useful for driving in snow and light off-roading.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on every 2008 Toyota RAV4. Vehicles equipped with the V6 and/or the optional third-row seat also come with hill-start assist and downhill assist control. In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the RAV4 earned a perfect five stars for driver protection in frontal impacts and four stars for the front passenger. It earned five stars for front- and rear-occupant protection in side impacts. Toyota's small SUV performed well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests as well, earning the top rating of "Good" in both the frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the RAV4 has a clean design with large, simple controls and lots of storage space. The cabin isn't as plasticky as previous-generation RAV4s, but it still has a budget feel compared to competitors like the CR-V, Rogue and Santa Fe. Nevertheless, the Toyota offers a highly practical design. The rear seats recline, and can slide forward or rearward 6.5 inches to optimize passenger space or cargo capacity. Normal seating capacity is five, while the optional third-row seat bumps it to seven. Though this seat is meant only for children, it is at least reasonably sturdy and spacious.

To configure the RAV4 for cargo, all one has to do is flip a lever to instantly get a flat load floor -- no need to remove headrests or fold up seat cushions. With its flat load floor, the RAV4 can hold a maximum of 73 cubic feet of cargo. The load floor is also quite low for this class, and minimizes the strain of loading a week's worth of groceries. The Toyota's side-hinged tailgate can be an inconvenience when you're parked on the street, though, as it opens away from the curb.

Driving Impressions

Although plenty capable off the beaten path, the 2008 Toyota RAV4 is meant for and succeeds at a life on pavement. Its taut suspension and quick electric steering (that can nevertheless feel a little vague) make daily errands much more enjoyable than they would be in most SUVs. The RAV is not as athletic as the Mazda CX-7 or Honda CR-V, but in trade, the Toyota offers a smooth ride that's forgiving enough for commuters who drive on crumbling expressways. Road noise can be an issue at times, but wind noise is well controlled.

If we were to buy a RAV4, it would have to come with the optional V6. Despite having 100-plus more horses than the CR-V and four-cylinder RAV4, V6-equipped RAVs manage to get almost the same fuel economy. The four-cylinder is a reasonable choice for most buyers, as it provides adequate power for day-to-day driving, but when equipped with this engine, the RAV doesn't fare as well against its competitors that offer similar power, gas mileage and space.

Read our Toyota RAV4 Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

Talk About The 2008 RAV4

2008 Toyota RAV4 Discussions See all Started By

I just bought a 2008 Rav4 and I know the headlights are supposed to turn off automatically after 30 seconds or when the lock button is pressed twice on the key fob. But mine don't. I'm worried about...


emsman1
emsman1
04-25-2007
Does anyone know when the 2008 will be out? Any word on changes?...


coquipr
coquipr
03-10-2014
I've trusted Toyota vehicles two times before. Great experiences., but this third time I bought a RAV4 SUV Sport 2008 4 Cylinders has been totally different. It has received about 5 recalls. Lately...



 

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