I "downgraded" myself from a V6 2006 Escape to this I4 2012 RAV4 and so far so good. I am living in NC bay area but purchased my RAV4 from a dealer near LA downtown during my July 4th trip (a totally unplanned purchase but David in Buena Park Toyota gave me a great price plus reasonable trade-in, highly recommended).
Two weeks with two tanks of gas, hwy/local 50/50, the avg mileage is ~24, which is way better than the previous Escape's (17-18).
The Escape is really a reliable small SUV which gave me zero problem, but with the increasing live expense in bay area, some trade-off has to be made.
Huge trunk, flexible seating capability, good gas mileage for a suv, reasonable acceleration for a I4 engine, easy drive like a mazda 3, 2 years free maintenance.
Make the back-up camera standard on the base trim (just like the new CR-V), or as an option not too expensive.
Warning for potential RAV4 buyers.....Most uncomfortable seats in a car....EVER!
I like almost everything about this vehicle but if it is uncomfortable to sit in then what use is it.
Just took a 1000+ mile trip in our new 2012 RAV4 over 7 days and had a miserable experience in the passenger front seat (driver seat and back seats are just as bad).
When test driving the car, I noticed the seats were firm, but did not know just how bad they were going to be until this trip. Too bad it took paying a gazillion dollars to find out how uncomfortable a ride this car is. If I had it to do over again, I would not purchase this vehicle based on the seats.
I have owned 2 Corollas (1992 & 2006)and a Camry (2002) and loved all of them including the seats (that is why we returned to Toyota for another vehicle).
What happened Toyota?
Why change a good thing that has been working for many years?
Not only are the seats beyond pitiful, but the upholstery is made of a hard feeling material. Cutting corners to save a dollar, I assume.
The dark charcoal-colored material in the door panels and the dashboard show dirt and dust easily.
I would prefer a one-tone lighter color like the gray that is used as the complementary color in my vehicle.
I also do not care for the orange glow that Toyota has incorporated into the instrument panel on the dashboard.
My 2006 Corolla has all white colored lights which is easy on the eyes, but the orange in the 2012 RAV4 is very distracting at night.
The leg room and storage in the RAV4 is good.
I especially like the storage bin under the back floorboard.
I would like a couple more cubby hole type storage compartments in the front for the driver.
My cell phone does not fit in the cell phone holder so I have to put it in the cup holder.
The headrests are not adjustable.
They can go only up or down and not in between.
The back seat adjustment handles are VERY inconvenient....located on the top side of the seat back.
Would prefer them to be located on the bottom side of the seat like most all car seats I have sat in.
If you are already sitting in the seat and need to adjust the back up or down, then it is impossible to reach the handle without getting out of the seat.
There are no adjustment handles for the seat height like in my Corolla.
Wish there were.
We got good gas mileage on our trip....27-28 mpg.
The RAV4 handles easily and rides pretty smooth.
But, like I said before, the uncomfortable seats outweigh any positive characteristics in this vehicle.
Going on a long trip at the end of the summer in our RAV4 and not looking forward to it.
easy to handle; good storage
Get rid of the hard seats and make them comfortable like my older Toyotas.
Change the upholstery material to be softer.
Get rid of the orange dash board lights.
Include more storage compartments for the driver and make the cell phone compartment bigger.
After a having the car for a month I am still fighting to find more or less safe position to drive. I am afraid to lose control of the car because my right leg is in awkward position and I can't figure why. I have Montana 2000 and I have took all the measurements of the pedals and seat trying to understand where the problem coming from. I even tried to drive bare foot - even worse. I tried different seat cushions and padding - no luck.
This is leased car and I have 1 year return back if lost the job. I will have to use this option if I can't figure out how to fix the problem. We suppose to go to Safari tomorrow and I am scared to drive with my family.
Don't buy this car if you are big or taller than 6.2
Gas mileage after 600 miles: 25.8 mpg
Driving is smooth, but Rogue feels much better.
The car is fast , but Rogue fast from the first second and rav4 takes a second or two to decide.
Rogue have superiors adaptive transmission that always "knows" the traffic and I hardly used any breaks. After 4 years I had almost new breaks.
Rav 4 have terrible, spongy breaks and requires a lot of power to stop the car.
Very disappointed in this car.
On a bright side
I started to exercise to build stronger foot and leg muscle to be able to control this car :) without cramps.
Driving position is terrible.
The seat is so firm that I have got pain in the butt and leg muscles.
It is like sitting on the bare wood. I don't understand why Toyota would do this.
Toyota is made for a small people, I am a big guy,
I used to drive a Versa ( When I had Rogue recall) - no problems - amazing car, I would now switch this Rav4 to Nissan Versa.
Rav 4 was the cheapest to lease - you are getting what you are paying :)
The biggest disappointment with the RAV4 driver position is that I canít adjust for normal driving. I donít even want to feel comfortable at least safe.
My right leg and foot is so uncomfortable, it numb, the knee is pressed and hurts.
The muscles are tense. The RAV4 seat has a lot of adjustment but nothing works.
They had the acceleration pedal got stack problem once, and they put it so high from the bottom and also made the bottom incline, and cut the
bottom half of the pedal making it so small; the feet is in terrible position , the position is breaking the feet.
If I knew this issue I would take Rogue or may be CRV.
The floor angle and pedals position are terrible and breaking knees. If I can't fix it I am going to take a lose and get rid of the car.
I just got my Rav4 a week ago, and I LOVE it so far! I am moving off to school and so I needed an SUV that had a lot of space for hauling while getting good gas mileage. I easily get over 23mpg in the city and haven't taken it on the highway yet. It's fun to drive, my friends and I love it! I can fit up to 7 people because I got the added 3rd row! I couldn't be happier with it!
I love the ipod hookup and the added third row. I also love that all of the seats in the back fold down to give me tons of room. Also, it has tons of nifty storage compartments that comparable vehicles didn't have.
I wish that there were more cup holders in the back, and that the door handle on the back door was black to match the others. Other than that, it's perfect!