I am a first-time crossover/SUV buyer, in which I traded-in my 1997 Honda Accord (the best car model ever made, in my opinion) w/ 160,000 miles, and felt it was time for an upgrade since I'm moving to a mountain state. Going from a car that got 31 mpg hwy to a heftier and less efficient model was tough, but I have actually been happier than I expected, with the RAV4. I get an average of 24 mpg, and probably up to 26-7 on the hwy. I had heard that the Sport models have a rougher road experience b/c of the tires, so I opted for the Base model instead. Compared to my Accord, there is less engine noise and much less road noise than some of the CR-Vs I test drove. Overall a good, smart choice!
I like the exterior look--fancier than interior look, for sure. The spare tire does not intrude on window visibility. Lots of interior space/headroom. Lots of hidden cargo space! I am 5'8" female w/ long legs and am very comfortable driving. Smooth ride, and tons of "pep" when accelerating!
Better mpg, if possible. Needs to include volume and radio controls on steering wheel for Base models. Rear door is heavy, when closing. Add plastic mats to cargo space, instead of carpet. Doors are light and don't close well w/o some 'oomph.'