We live in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the combination of very steep roads and snow/ice is challenging. We had to have 4WD and seating for six, but we wanted good mileage too. After two years of reviewing cars, we got a RAV4. The V6 eats up mountains without straining the transmission. There's a bit of a 'turbo' lag as the transmission gears down, but then the RAV4 jumps past cars when passing. Same engine as the Highlander in a much lighter SUV. Wow. Backdoor and wheel are same as on our Jeep; not a big issue for us. Where else could the full-size spare go? Having a full-size spare is important. Only complaints - mileage is not as good as we want and steering not as tight.
Power. 3 row seats. Exterior design - looks better than a Lexus. Controls. Aux jack for ipod, etc.
Leather options for RAV4s with 3rd row seat. Tighter steering. This is the perfect mountain vehicle but for the steering.