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2008 Toyota RAV4 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
Before the final stroke of the pen, I decided to buy the Toyota extended warranty - which actually seemed ridiculous that a Toyota wouldn't go 100K without a major problem.
That was the only redeeming feature of my purchase: by 80K miles they replaced the alternator, air conditioning condensor, all valve stems and the COMPLETE ENGINE.
When I informed Toyota of this total disaster they produced, the best response I got was that it was a good thing I bought the warranty.
It is now gone and I'll never deal with a Toyota product again.
2008 Toyota RAV4 Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
After testing other brands as well as the base and Sport model RAV4s, decided on the Limited. Much quieter, more comfortable ride (it's based on a car platform, not truck) and better interior materials than the base. The two extra hidden storage behind the rear seats are awesome as well as the three 12v outlets and iPod jack. Seats are super comfortable. The 4WD handles off-road duties superbly. Everything on this vehicle is laid out well with emphasis on order and functionality. Purchased rain guards, mud flaps, bug deflector, and better crossbars for my kayaks to make it perfect. I purchased this car used and it now has 48,000 miles. Every tank has been 24-26mpg with mixed driving.
Fold-flat seats, two storage areas under carpet in the back. Storage compartment above glovebox and the two-compartment armrest. Dual-zone climate control (the significant other likes warmer temps than I), sunroof, privacy glass, heated side mirrors, Bluetooth, steering wheel controls, power seat (especially lumbar support). Comfort and quietness, especially on the highway. Electric-assisted steering makes steering effort intuitive. Overall space and layout. Upgraded interior materials over base model
Spare tire rattles over bumps (will be attempting to fix this with more rubber inserts), engine seems down on low-end power accelerating from 50mph. Seats and carpet are very tough to clean dog hair out of
2008 Toyota RAV4 Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
I have owned a number of AWD/4WD cars, including a WRX, Outback Limited 2.5XT, the 2009 Rav4 Limited (which got totaled by tree) and now I got this one. This car easily tops the list. For a high sitting car, it handles very well with the 18inch rims and 235mm tires. It actually rides better the the Subaru WRX and feels commanding and not cheap.
The torque steer of my limited is not there and feels very even. The car is very fast for its size, suprisingly faster than most cars off the line.
Its really an understated car. JBL upgrades stereo is more than adaquate, and the black interior looks sweet.
Power, handling, reliability. Safety - I tested this when a 2.5' tree fell onto the car while I was driving at 25mpg. The car was totaled but I came out without a scratch... thats why this is my second RAV4. This time I chose the Sport over the Limited as the suspension is definatelly more responsive.
The button press - second glove compartment is goofy! Some way of telling whether the dome and map lights are turned on when locking the car, as the lights stay on after you shut the car you cant tell if they will stay on. Ability to turn on dome lights in the rear from up-front (to see my kids).
2008 Toyota RAV4 Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
I bought this car for the engine, and it remains the best feature of the car.
But I have had ongoing problems with the transmission, and many others have, too. This is only true with the 5-speed transmission on the V6 (not the 4-cyl.)
The now infamous "whining transmission" noise that has been well documented on the owner's forums (search transmission noise on RAV4 World and others) is something you will want to consider when you're buying this vehicle used.
Also the poor response from Toyota in fixing the problem under warranty has completely soured me on the ownership experience, so I wouldn't be able to recommend this car to anyone.
Go with Honda.
Engine power, cargo room, visibility for shorter drivers.
Fix this noisy transmission! Also has almost no insulation, and with the Unibody construction, road noise (and other mechanical noises) intrude badly into the cabin. Quiet tires are very important here (I had good luck with Michelin Latitude Tour) Driver seating for anyone over 6' is tight . I'm 6'3", and thought I could live with it, but it's yet another reason I'm getting rid of the car. Console edge is sharp for right knee. Have had to add padding there to tolerate it. Fussy controls on the dual-zone climate control system. Constantly defaults to "recirculate" when fresh air is wanted instead. Less arrogance in responding to warranty claims, and more responsiveness.
2008 Toyota RAV4 Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
I am 6'7" (36" inseam) and love my Rav4 Sport w/the V6.
The JBL audio is excellent.
I have had this car from day one, 25k miles, never a problem - other than flipping a coin for who has the car for the day.
Winter (northern Vermont) with Firestone Winterforce: excellent.
I've tried getting it to skid, nearly impossible.
Never stuck, stomping on the pedal and all four wheels really grab.
I am 6'7" tall and have no issue on the driver side (passenger side is ok, I don't sit in the rear but could if the driver seat wasn't all the way back).
My only beef is the small light in the rear door.
Fast acceleration, excellent passing capability on the highway (55mph to 70mph or even 35 to 50). Sport has very tight feel (it is a rough ride below 25-mph, as expected). Corners very well. JBL with 6-CD changer is excellent.
Improve that light in the rear inside door. That's the only complaint. Note: on long trips I do use a pillow under my left arm, the arm rest is rather hard.