Here's the thing with Toyota. It's ALWAYS been their thing. Unless you upgrade to "Limited" (or in the old days LE, etc) - you get the cheapest stuff around as far as fit and finish of the interior. Time was, under the hood all things were equal. Not anymore. Anyone who owns the BASE MODEL 4cyl 4WD MUST know how much of a lag there is if you need quick acceleration. This thing is THE slowest responding dog I've ever driven. Off the line, it's okay but if you need a passing gear, wow, it's bad. This is directly the result of Toyota keeping selling costs down but it completely sacrifices the performance not having at least a 5 speed transmission. I had a 2008 Corolla S before this which had better acceleration. Thankfully, if you switch the shifter to 'sport' it downshifts more rapidly. Traction control and safety features are great on this car. The standard headlights are pathetic. No fog lights standard either. I've upgraded to better lights and also have installed foggers. Makes a major difference. The wheels are simply painted steel which I was fine with until three years in, they are already rusting. Again - irritating. OEM tires (Kumho) were also pure junk. Finally, the stereo. Now, I didn't expect a massive sound system but again - always with Toyota - it's not a Limited so they install something you would have found in an American car from 15 years ago. Piece of absolute junk. There are component speakers in the front doors and ONE WAY speakers in the back. The sound in the rear is just terrible. I've upgraded the rears and it made a good improvement. A compass on the rearview mirror also would have been handy. Don't get me wrong, I DO like this SUV. Overall, I'm picky but those are the things for me that stick out. It rides smooth, it's ultra reliable, it's quiet, very good in poor driving conditions, love the swinging rear door, plenty of room, AC blows SO COLD, lots of storage. For those complaining of the cup holders, take the rubber insert out. Simple. Those were only there so one COULD use a can if you wanted to. Also, like that it came standard with electronic fuel economy readings. We have been driving Toyotas in my family since we owned a 1979 Supra. Amazingly reliable.
We just bought a used 2011 Base FWD RAV4 with 24K mi on it as we were outgrowing a 1999 Corolla with 199k miles. This RAV4 is pretty stripped down but does have tinted glass. The acceleration is great for a 4 cylinder and the car is quiet. We get 24-25 MPG suburban driving, 28 mpg hwy. Kids are comfortable in the back, and there is plenty of storage for our needs. Visibility good.
Acceleration, ease of steering (almost TOO easy), basic features, quietness of car, reasonable comfort, trunk space, fuel economy, Toyota reliability (we hope). Wife likes it, that's all that matters!
These are mostly nit-picky, but here goes. Radio is a bit far to reach. Seats could use some more padding (though we are not tall people). Handling is a bit too loosey-goosey (though we also have a Mitsubishi Outlander, which seems more precise). Radio sound is not that great. Mirror controls are in a weird place. Would prefer a top hinged hatch and more auto transmission gears, but we didn't want to spend the money on a newer model RAV4.
purchased a 2011 Base rav4 4 cyl with 35K,traded in a 03 Hemi Ram Quadcab,compared to the ram this is a riding lawnmower on steroids,now i can pass a gas station,the fit and finish is excellent,rides very nice for a short wheelbase vehicle,i find the 4 cyl to be very adequate for daily driving,mileage is good also,the interior is roomy,if you like the glitz and glamour look,this wont do it for you,personally,i prefer basic and reliable,banking on the toyota reliability to serve me well for a number of years,overall very pleased.
This could have been a great car, but some issues keep it from even coming close. For one, this is the loudest car I've ever owned. It rattles, creaks, and squeaks like no other. On a typical drive I'll hear rattles from the sunroof, dashboard, some random panels on the drivers side, and the cargo area. The brakes make a grinding noise every morning when I depress the pedal. Some of the noises are so loud it makes the driving experience miserable, especially for a 2011 model. If you're considering one of these, I highly suggest driving with the stereo off so you can hear for yourself. I'll likely never buy a Toyota again after this experience. I've driven 15 year old cars quieter than this.
The appearance is decent, acceleration is good. The engine is quiet, and feels reliable.
Please improve the interior build quality. I feel like they used the cheapest flimsiest plastic available, and it really hurts the overall quality of the vehicle.
I just bought a 2011 RAV, and for me it was a no brainer. I've always had Toyota's -- so maybe I'm biased in that direction -- but the test drives convinced me.
I live in the Sierras, so I need a vehicle with high clearance. At first, I wanted a jeep, but driving two of the Liberty's was like driving a car weighed down by boulders. I couldn't believe how sluggish the Liberty was....Then I drove the RAV -- the thing took off like a rocket. It was almost too responsive -- I tapped the pedal and it would lunge forward. And the MPG is almost as good as that of my aging Corolla...
It could be that after a while paint chips will fall off, or whatever, as others have said. But I am happy so far.
Power. Gas Mileage. Off road capability. And the fact that Toyota's last a long time...
The RAV is a bit too big for my tastes. I wish they were smaller, as they were in the late 90's ...But, I suppose the trend in toward bigger SUV's....