We decided on a vehicle that allows the wife to enter/exit a higher driving position car. She finds getting in and out of the smaller Rav4 easier on her hip (bursitis). We took the Rav4 for its first long vacation trip, putting a total of 1590 miles on the vehicle. We averaged over 28mpg. The Rav4 handled in a predictable and well mannered fashion, but when rolling over rough pavement, you know you are not riding in a sedan. Some road noise was also evident at slow speeds, possibly due to the larger 17" (steel) wheels that came with the Value Pkg. The wife found the Rav4 a bit better to her driving sense than the CRV we test drove. The only complaint so far is the audio system (muffled).
Utility of the cargo area and ease of handling. Good driving position.
Audio / acoustics need tweaking on the base radio. I am used to quality audio sound at home and even my 99' Camry has a better sounding radio. Some minor issues with small storage areas.