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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.
2008 Toyota RAV4 Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
Took over the lease on this car. Engine is powerful but vehicle does torque a bit when accelerating quickly. Quiet enough on the highway but the audio system is poor. Nice high driving position. Interior is versatile; seat fabric in Sport Model is very thick synthetic something or other. I like this car much better than my old g'friend's '08 CRV EX-L. Some small things left out, e.g., no light in glove compartment. Looking forward to replacing the OEM tires (Yokohama) - they're not great. Easy to back up for an SUV - spare tire helps you gauge how close you are to whatever's behind you. If I can find a way to upgrade the stereo, I'll definitely by the car when the lease is up.
V6 and 4WD. Roof rack for my bike rack. Sideways rear gate works fine - better than lift hatch. Lots of space. Rear seats recline and slide fore and aft - very cool. Tinted windows in back. Tie down hooks in cargo area. Flip over the cargo mat and it's rubber - prevents things from sliding around.
Tune the stability control to prevent torque steer. I hesitate to use all the V6's power because the car does a weird front-fishtail move. Light in glove box. Make the seat fabric more comfy. Put a slit or hole for the AUX cable to your iPod from inside the armrest. Make a backup camera standard!
2008 Toyota RAV4 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
First off, I've had three yodas: 89 corolla 214,000 mi, 95 Camry 250,000 mi and this rav4. The rav just feels cheaper: the paint has way to many chips, the transmission is horrible, rough ride in the city, the stereo sucks, interior is loud, not enough room in the driver (I'm 62" 200 lbs) and passenger seat, we are expecting our third child and have to buy three new car seats because the second row is so narrow and it just doesn't feel like it is going to hold up. Now the good: zero problems in the first three years (of course it's just past the three year mark), awesome second row leg room and cargo, great in the snow, gas mileage is decent, and the wife loves the second glove box.
Reliability, gas mileage, cargo area, 4wd
Toyota stop being like Chevy and Dodge and go back to being "TOYOTA!" I will not buy another toyota. I am so unimpressed with this car I've actually looked at "gasp" VW's.
2008 Toyota RAV4 Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
V6 is very peppy engine. CONS:Driver's seat does not go back very far. I'm only 5'6" & I would like more leg room. Since getting the car I have always noticed a humming noise whenever I'm accelerating & at all speeds, but especially between 40-45 mph. It has never impacted the performance of the car. I just took it into the dealer to address this sound. The dealer confirmed it IS a problem with the Rav4. They will be replacing the L side engine mount, rear engine mount & L side drive axle damper. They said IF that doesn't do the trick it will have to get a new transmission! What a surprise that was! Thank goodness I took it in before the warranty expired! So be aware...and listen.
I like that is handles well and is extremely responsive. Love the configuration of the back seats and the way they fold flat.
Driver's seat needs to slide back farther. Rear windshield wiper is hard to get, only available at Toyota dealer & is expensive. I found I can just buy the rubber piece and that is simple to replace. It should be made available elsewhere like other wipers.