Originating in the latter half of the 1990s, the Toyota RAV4 was one of the first entries in the small crossover SUV market. Almost two decades later, today's RAV4 is considerably larger than that pint-sized original, but the core appeal of versatility, good fuel economy and favorable on-road manners are firmly intact.
The RAV4 has been very popular with consumers through the years, so there are going to be plenty to choose from if you're searching for a used model. The newest third- and fourth-generation RAV4s are the most family-friendly and come with the most features, but an older RAV4 should still appeal to young families and urban singles in search of a reliable compact crossover SUV.
Current Toyota RAV4
The Toyota RAV4 is offered in LE, XLE and Limited trim levels. All have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard and buyers can choose either front- or all-wheel drive. With an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in combined driving, the RAV4 is as fuel-efficient as its competitors.
Base LE standard feature highlights include air-conditioning, reclining second-row seats, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a touchscreen interface and iPod/USB integration. The XLE adds alloy wheels, heated mirrors, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control and sport front seats. The Limited features bigger wheels, a power liftgate, keyless ignition/entry, a power driver seat, heated front seats and faux leather upholstery.
Major options, depending on the trim level, include automatic high beams, blind-spot/lane-departure warning, Toyota's Entune smartphone integration system, a navigation system and premium audio.
In reviews, we've found that this RAV4 gets just about everything right. Its roomy cabin boasts more cargo room than most rivals and provides ample seating space for adults both front and rear. The overall interior design is modern looking, and the Entune system provides useful smartphone app integration, although the touchscreen's virtual buttons can sometimes be finicky to use. There's no engine upgrade available, but the RAV4's 2.5-liter four is refined and adequately powerful. Handling is secure, and the all-wheel-drive system adds further athleticism on curvy and slippery road surfaces. In the interest of comfort, we recommend the smaller wheel options, as the 18-inch wheels tend to have a rougher ride quality.
Read the most recent 2014 Toyota RAV4 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Toyota RAV4 page.