2010 Toyota RAV4 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Superb power and fuel economy from optional V6, huge cargo space with flat load floor, roomy second-row seating, balanced ride and handling, solid build quality, strong crash test scores.
  • Interior has a budget feel, side-hinged rear gate impedes curbside loading, driver seat a tight fit for taller drivers.
List Price Range
$7,481 - $13,998

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Spacious, comfortable and easy to drive, the 2010 Toyota RAV4 is a top pick for a small-to-midsize crossover SUV, especially if you want a V6 or a usable kid-size third-row seat.

Vehicle overview

Toyota kick-started today's wildly popular small crossover segment 14 years ago with its RAV4, which introduced the novel idea of a car-based SUV. That original diminutive RAV4 has changed a lot since its introduction, though. Today's RAV4 offers a commodious interior with room for up to seven people, luxury features like leather upholstery and a navigation system, and an available V6 engine that cranks out more than twice the horsepower of the original RAV4's engine, yet gets similar fuel economy. While it has many competitors, the 2010 Toyota RAV4 should be among those on your must-drive list.

After a more powerful four-cylinder engine was introduced last year along with some minor styling changes, the RAV4 heads into 2010 virtually unaltered. That's certainly OK, because it remains a veritable Swiss army knife of user-friendly transportation. The controls are simple and well-placed. The engines are powerful and economical. Storage spaces are abundant, and with all the rear seats folded, it can swallow more cargo than official midsize models like the Ford Edge. Passenger space is also excellent, with an optional third-row seat capable of accommodating a pair of kids.

Competition in the compact/midsize crossover category is tougher than ever, but the RAV4 remains one of the most appealing entries. We'd recommend opting for the V6 model if you can swing it, though, as its robust 265 horsepower achieves basically the same fuel economy as the four-cylinder model. This engine alone has helped the latest RAV win multiple comparison tests.

However, there are other options to consider. The new Chevy Equinox has a more upscale look and feel than the rather utilitarian RAV, while the Honda CR-V is also a bit nicer inside and more responsive to drive. The Subaru Forester is also worth a look for those who'd like some turbocharged punch. Still, the 2010 Toyota RAV4 exceeds in areas the others do not, and if you're searching for versatile, easy-to-use transport, it'll make an excellent choice.

2010 Toyota RAV4 models

The 2010 Toyota RAV4 is a midsize crossover SUV. There are three trim levels available: base, Sport and Limited. Each one is available with front- or all-wheel drive and a choice of either a four-cylinder or V6 engine.

The base RAV4 comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, a limited-slip differential (front-drive models), air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver seat height adjustment and a six-speaker stereo with CD player and auxiliary audio jack. The base V6 4WD adds 17-inch alloy wheels, though they are optional on other base models.

The RAV4 Sport comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, color-keyed bumpers and sportier suspension tuning. The Sport Appearance package available on all four-cylinder and V6 4WD Sport models includes a spare tire-less rear door, run-flat tires, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated sideview mirrors and chrome exterior details.

The RAV4 Limited switches to the regular suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels, and adds automatic headlights (optional on Sport), the heated mirrors, a hard shell spare tire cover, roof rails, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control and an upgraded stereo with a six-CD changer and satellite radio (optional on base and Sport models).

All V6 models add hill-start assist and downhill assist control, which are also standard on the four-cylinder with the optional third-row seat.

Most of the RAV4's options are grouped into packages, but their content and availability differs by region. A third-row seat is optional on all models, as is a back-up camera. Options available on the Sport and Limited include a sunroof, a touchscreen navigation system and a premium nine-speaker JBL stereo with Bluetooth. The Premium package available on the Sport and Limited (but not with the third-row seat) adds leather upholstery and an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar support. The latter item can be added separately on the Limited. V6-powered models can be equipped with a tow package.

2010 Highlights

The Toyota RAV4 gains minor interior trim changes for 2010.

Performance & mpg

The 2010 Toyota RAV4 comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers 179 hp and 172 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard. Fuel economy with front-wheel drive is 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined, and 21/27/24 with 4WD.

Optional on all trim levels and coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 269 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque. In performance testing, the RAV4 V6 4WD delivered a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds. The V6 achieves an impressive 19/27/22 for front-wheel drive and only 1 mpg fewer on the highway with 4WD.

All RAV4s can be equipped with either front-wheel or four-wheel drive. In 4WD models, power is sent to the front wheels until slippage is detected, at which point power is also sent to the rear wheels. A true 4WD lock feature fixes the front/rear power split at 50/50, which is useful for driving in snow and for light off-roading. With the optional tow package, the RAV4 V6 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, whiplash-reducing front headrests, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on every 2010 Toyota RAV4. Vehicles equipped with the V6 and/or the optional third-row seats also come with hill-start assist and downhill assist control.

In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the RAV4 earned a perfect five stars for driver protection in frontal impacts and four stars for front passenger protection. It earned five stars for front- and rear-occupant protection in side impacts. The RAV4 also performed well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, earning the top rating of "Good" in both the frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests. It achieved the second-best rating of "Acceptable" in the roof strength test.

Driving

Although relatively capable off the beaten path, the 2010 Toyota RAV4 is meant for -- and succeeds at -- a life on pavement. Its taut suspension and precise electric steering make daily errands a pleasant, although not particularly interesting, experience. The RAV4 is not as responsive to inputs as the Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-7, but in trade, the Toyota offers a smooth ride that's forgiving enough for commuters who drive on crumbling expressways. Road noise can be an issue at times, but wind noise is well controlled.

If we were to buy a RAV4, it would have to come with the optional V6, which generates nearly 100 hp more than most segment four-cylinders yet matches their fuel economy. The RAV's four-cylinder version is a reasonable choice for most buyers, though, as it provides adequate power for day-to-day driving.

Interior

The RAV4's interior boasts a clean design with large, simple controls and lots of storage space. The cabin isn't as filled with plastic as previous-generation RAV4 cabins were, but it still has a budget feel compared to some competitors like the Chevy Equinox and Honda CR-V. Nevertheless, the Toyota is a model of practicality. The rear seats recline and can slide fore and aft to optimize passenger space or cargo capacity. Normal seating capacity is five, while the optional third-row seat bumps it to seven. Though this seat is meant only for children, it is at least reasonably sturdy and spacious.

To configure the RAV4 for cargo, all you need to do is flip a lever. There is no need to remove headrests or fold up seat cushions to get a flat load floor that can hold a maximum of 73 cubic feet of cargo. This is bigger than several other midsize SUVs. The load floor is also quite low for this class, which minimizes the strain of loading a week's worth of groceries. However, the Toyota's side-hinged tailgate can be an inconvenience when you're parked on the street, as it opens toward the curb.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2010 Toyota RAV4.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Nice Little SUV
Ed,01/21/2017
4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
Thought I would share my experiences in case someone is looking for a nice used vehicle. I've owned my Rav since it was brand new(2010). Very reliable vehicle. Have had next to zero issues except recalls which cost nothing except a little time. The V6 engine is probably the strongest part of the car. Tremendous acceleration, smooth, and avg. 22 mpg. I'm still on my original brake pads and I'm at 50,000 miles. The cargo space is deceivingly big inside. Mine has the spare tire on the rear gate, but that is actually an advantage because it opens up a lot of underneath storage inside the cargo area. The few downsides would be that the rear seats are a little hard (but they do have plenty of room and they recline), the steering is a little numb on center, and their is torque steer if you gun it from a standstill (and I have 4wd). But the engine is so powerful there is no need to gun it. The 4wd drive is very good and includes a lock feature for really slippery conditions. Because it's a 2010 it doesn't have all the latest technology, but if you're looking for a dependable car that's fairly comfortable with a lot of room and a great engine, you'll be happy. In a few years I plan to give this car to my daughter for her first car. UPDATE-Jan. 2019 Still loving the reliability. Ready to hand this over to my daughter with no reservations. Still on the original brake pads at 59,000 miles. These new turbo 4 cylinder engines can't touch the smoothness, the power, and reliability of this 6 cylinder engine.
Great so far!
smokey10,10/29/2010
I bought my RAV4 7 months ago and I've never liked a car better than my new one. Ride is smooth enough and all these things I read on reviews about vibrating and stuff, never experienced it except when I'm driving on rough roads and unpaved ones, quite expected I would think. My car is the limited model and the convenience of the features really fits me well. The only thing I don't like about my car is how much I paid for it. Gas mileage is very reasonable since I'm primarily the only passenger plus my little dog, we're so happy to go out of town occasionally on weekends with comfort. I agree it's no escalade nor a Land Rover, but it certainly fits most responsible,low profile people like me
Good Value Vehicle
avrz10,09/16/2016
4dr SUV 4WD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
I have 120,000 miles on the car, maintenance includes oil changes, tires, brakes. What else can you ask for, Road noise is a little loud, comfort is ok, This is a good vehicle.
Great Value Vehicle-Terrible Bluetooth Instructions!
hysteria,05/12/2011
My wife and I both love this vehicle. We've taken it on 2 very long trips and it perfoms great. We get over 26 mpg. Our only gripe is that the bluetooth instructions in the owner's manual are complete garbage! I've had to take it to the dealer 3 times to get the bluetooth working. The rep at the dealership (who told me she had to "go to school to learn how to program phones for Toyota's bluetooth technology) had major problems trying to get our phones synched up. It took her over 40 minutes to get it working. She also stated NOT to follow the owner's manual instructions. What should be an easy application made difficult by Toyota's good for nothing instructions.

Features & Specs

MPG
22 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
179 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
22 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
179 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed automatic
Gas
269 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
21 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
179 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2010 Toyota RAV4 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Acceptable
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2010 Toyota RAV4

Used 2010 Toyota RAV4 Overview

The Used 2010 Toyota RAV4 is offered in the following submodels: RAV4 SUV. Available styles include Sport 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 4A), 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 4A), 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), 4dr SUV 4WD (2.5L 4cyl 4A), Sport 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 4A), Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (2.5L 4cyl 4A), Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (2.5L 4cyl 4A), 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), and Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2010 Toyota RAV4?

Price comparisons for Used 2010 Toyota RAV4 trim styles:

  • The Used 2010 Toyota RAV4 Base is priced between $7,481 and$13,998 with odometer readings between 87126 and168283 miles.
  • The Used 2010 Toyota RAV4 Sport is priced between $8,495 and$10,995 with odometer readings between 83035 and117412 miles.
  • The Used 2010 Toyota RAV4 Limited is priced between $8,885 and$10,754 with odometer readings between 117738 and140269 miles.

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Which used 2010 Toyota RAV4s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2010 Toyota RAV4 for sale near. There are currently 23 used and CPO 2010 RAV4s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,481 and mileage as low as 83035 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2010 Toyota RAV4.

Can't find a used 2010 Toyota RAV4s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota RAV4 for sale - 7 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $24,085.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 5 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $12,046.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota RAV4 for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $13,750.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $19,852.

Should I lease or buy a 2010 Toyota RAV4?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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