2008 Toyota RAV4 Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
No surprises with the RAV4. I dove into this purchase with extensive research, and optioned it precisely to suit my family's needs (well, mostly my needs): Limited, V6, 4wd, leather, JBL, 3rd row, tow package. On paper, it's exactly what a family of 5 needs to motor about the local area (with three kids in car seats) in a bit of style. What this vehicle lacks (unbeknownst to the spec-sheet analyst) is any serious personality. It's fast, but handles like a van. It's a suitable light-medium duty tow vehicle; I frequently tow a 2,000 lb enclosed trailer and barely know it's there. The interior is laid out fine. Exteriorwise, the front is nice, but the back bumper is just plain ugly.
Powerful V6, almost too powerful for the suspension. Leather seats are firm, but comfortable. 3rd row seats flip up individually, so you can still transport a large, long item with three kids still seated by flipping down only one side of the middle and 3rd row. Note the 3rd row is only for kids.
Redo the ugly rear bumper. Include the dealer option bumper protector film as standard (so you don't scratch it). Figure out a better system for the mid-center seat belt. Stiffen the suspension on V6 models. Add a rub strip along the side; the naked doors are just begging for parking lot dings.
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