I bought this car for my wife who loves SUV's and this one is no exception. I bought it 22k miles and it has served both of us very well in the past 2 years. We are now closing on 60k miles and so far we have only had to replace the Stock tires at 30k miles - which was the only bad thing we thought. Other than that we have stuck to a good 6-7k maintenance schedule and haven't had any problems with it. Some cabin noises such as squeaks and the brakes groan a bit.. but apart from that it does what it is built for. The V6 has amazing passing power and can really get off the line pretty quick. I have put the care through the paces and it hasn't let me down so far. Excellent room for moving etc. - we were able to stuff a LOT of furniture in our car and it just drove without even a slight lag. Good gas mileage for an SUV - I average 25 mpg with about 50% highway driving.
I was driving at highway speed when a car ran a stop sign and stopped right in front of me. The anti-locked brakes worked perfectly, allowing a great reduction in speed before impact. The collapsible front end did what it was supposed to do. The air bag deployed with no problem. Car is totaled but I'm untouched. I loved the car: it had great pickup, was comfortable and roomy and drove well. I have replaced it with a 2016 RAV4 Hybrid.
I bought my rav 4 base model in 2012. It's an upgraded 4wd base model with a sun roof. It has great acceleration but am very disappointed with the gas mileage for this vehicle. It seems to be on the low end of 22mpg and with a small gas tank seem to be at the gas station twice a week for a fill up. What is even more depressing is the floor carpet in the interior. On the drivers side the carpet is already torn by the left foot rest. I never expected that for an owner who takes the best care of a vehicle. It will cost lots of money to repair it.
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.