2011 Toyota RAV4 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Superb power yet great fuel economy from optional V6
  • huge cargo space with flat load floor and low load height
  • comfortable ride
  • responsive handling.
  • Interior has a budget feel
  • right-side hinge for tailgate impedes curbside loading
  • taller drivers are a tight fit.
List Price Range
$8,490 - $13,507

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Spacious, comfortable and easy to drive, the 2011 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

With so many compact crossover SUVs on the market today, it's hard to remember which brand created the idea of a small, car-based SUV. Yet it was Toyota with its then-diminutive Celica-based RAV4 that created the segment some 15 years ago, beating the rival Honda CR-V to the punch.

Of course, using the words "small" or "compact" is a bit of a stretch today, as the 2011 Toyota RAV4 is closer to a midsize crossover in terms of exterior dimensions. But Toyota has found a way to offer all that space (with seating for up to seven) while still providing impressive fuel efficiency. Indeed, today's bigger RAV4 powered by its available 269-horsepower V6 actually surpasses the fuel-economy rating of the original RAV4 with its 120-hp four-cylinder -- it delivers 1 mpg more in EPA-rated combined driving.

One of the RAV4's strengths is its ability to effortlessly make the transition from an accommodating family runabout to a pack mule. There are useful storage spaces throughout the interior and the rear seats flip down to create a cargo hold more capacious than even the midsize Ford Edge. Passenger space is also pretty good, with an optional third-row seat capable of accommodating a pair of kids. Add in the aforementioned powerful yet thrifty V6 and you can see why the RAV4 has been a favorite of Edmunds over the past few years.

That said, the RAV4 is one of the older designs in the compact crossover segment. The 2011 Chevy Equinox has a more upscale look and feel as well as a roomier backseat, while the 2011 Honda CR-V is a bit nicer inside the cabin and more responsive to driver commands as well. The 2011 Kia Sorento is also more engaging when you're behind the wheel, while the 2011 Subaru Forester is notable for its available turbocharged punch. Still, the veteran 2011 Toyota RAV4 is so well rounded that you'd be remiss if you didn't have it on your test-drive list.

2011 Toyota RAV4 models

The 2011 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 only), air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable driver seat and a six-speaker stereo with CD player and auxiliary audio jack. The base V6 4WD adds 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels.

The RAV4 Sport comes standard with 18-inch cast-aluminum wheels, color-keyed bumpers and sportier suspension tuning. The Sport Appearance package that is available on all four-cylinder and V6 4WD Sport models deletes the spare tire mounted on the rear cargo door (the model features run-flat tires instead) and adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated mirrors and chrome exterior details.

The RAV4 Limited switches to the regular suspension and 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels, and adds automatic headlights (optional on the Sport), heated mirrors, hard-shell cover for the spare tire, roof rails, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control and an upgraded stereo with a six-disc CD changer and satellite radio (optional on base and Sport models). All V6 models add hill-start assist and hill-descent control, which are also standard for the RAV4 four-cylinder with the optional third-row seat.

Most of the RAV4's options are grouped into packages, and their content and availability differs by the region of the U.S. in which the vehicle is offered. A third-row seat is optional on all models, as is a back-up camera with a display mounted in the rearview mirror. An Upgrade Value package for the base RAV4 includes a sunroof, roof rails, privacy glass, 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels, six-disc CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, upgraded cloth upholstery and a cargo cover. 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 trim levels (though 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.

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2011 Highlights

For 2011, the Toyota RAV4 sees only minor changes to standard equipment and option packages.

Performance & mpg

The 2011 Toyota RAV4 comes standard with a 2.5-liter inline-4 engine that delivers 179 hp and 172 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard. Fuel economy for this model with front-wheel drive is 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined, and 21/27/24 with 4WD.

A 3.5-liter V6 with a five-speed automatic transmission is optional for all trim levels of the RAV4. It produces 269 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, the RAV4 V6 4WD delivers a time from a standstill to 60 mph of 7.2 seconds -- quick for the segment. The V6 achieves an impressive 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined for the front-wheel-drive RAV4, and these ratings change only by 1 mpg less for EPA highway when the 4WD model is selected.

Every RAV4 trim level can be matched with either front-wheel or four-wheel drive. In 4WD models, power is sent to the front wheels until tire slippage is detected and then power is also directed to the rear wheels. The torque split can be manually locked at 50 percent front/50 percent rear for driving in poor traction conditions, such as gravel or snow. With the optional tow package, the RAV4 V6 can pull as much as 3,500 pounds.


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 2011 Toyota RAV4. Vehicles equipped with the V6 and/or the optional third-row seats also come with hill-start assist and hill-descent control.

In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the RAV4 earns a final rating of three stars, with three stars for overall front crash protection and four stars for overall side-impact protection. The RAV4 also performs 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 achieves the second-best rating of "Acceptable" in the roof strength test.


Although relatively capable off the beaten path, the 2011 Toyota RAV4 is meant for a life on pavement. Its taut suspension and precise electric-assist steering make daily errands a pleasant (although not particularly interesting) experience.

The RAV4 is not as responsive to control inputs as the Honda CR-V or Kia Sorento, but the Toyota does offer 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 2011 Toyota RAV4, it would have to come with the optional V6, which generates nearly 100 hp more than the inline-4 engines offered by other models in this segment and yet also matches these four-cylinders in 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.


The RAV4's interior boasts a clean design with large, simple controls and lots of storage space. Overall interior quality is acceptable, but the Chevy Equinox and Honda CR-V make the RAV's interior look too insubstantial and budget-oriented.

Nevertheless, the Toyota RAV4 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 on the second-row seats. There is no need to remove headrests or fold up seat cushions to get a flat load floor, and the result is an impressive 73 cubic feet of cargo capacity. The load floor is also quite low for this class, which minimizes the strain of loading a week's worth of groceries or makes it easy for a dog to climb aboard. However, the Toyota's tailgate can be an inconvenience when you're parked on the street, as it has hinges on the right side, the opposite of what you want for curbside loading in the U.S.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2011 Toyota RAV4.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

More sporty than crossovers
Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
After considering and test driving a lot of small SUV's including the Jeep Liberty, Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape, and Cadillac suv, I ran across the RAV4. I had always read good reviews but I hated the look of the tire on the back. The Sport model solves that with run flat tires and no spare tire. Pickup is good in the V6 and I like that it doesn't look like the "mommy crossovers". It's built on its own frame. Dashboard controls are easy to reach and black. After about 4 months I am getting 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The paint on this car is amazing and durable. My only complaints are road noise is a little more than I would like and the gas tank is a little small.
Unplanned Purchase, but so Far, so Good
4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
I wasn't planning to get another car for another year or so, but when the postcard came in the mail, I went to check this vehicle out. Took the test drive and liked the ride. I was coming out of a Honda Fit, so driving this around felt like driving a beast, but I kinda liked it. The Fit was a nice little car with great gas milage, but I just wanted something a bit more capable. Also, the Fit was rather a slow vehicle for something so small. I'm happy to say The Rav4's base 4 cylinder actually is quicker than the Fit. The handling is good, not as good as the CRV I once drove, but still solid. The ride is smoother than either of the other vehicles. Still, the gas milage is pretty low.
It does it all in FWD, AWD, 4WD & tight as a drum
Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
So a daughter totaled my awesome 2004 Camry XLE. (She was ok just minor concussion) I research everything even to replace a toaster oven! Decided to replace my old car with a loaded used Rav4 as my wife's car is another sedan (2009 Camry Hybrid) Bought this cream-puff Jan 2016 which oddly was traded in on a new Caddy. One owner, no accidents, well maintained etc with 22k and excellent condition. Have had it for 4 months now and it's everything I had hoped. Got a chance to drive in snow including up a steep hill and it was almost boring how well it gripped even on original OEM tires. Overall just a far smoother ride and better built than a new 2015 and 2016 I had tried. The power is more than adequate and smooth with good handling. A highway trip in heavy rain <>70 mph gave 28 mpg. Running errands in suburbia and commute yields 23-24 mpg. Not bad for what this thing can haul inside and yet still be easy to drive and park. The JBL system sounds decent with FM but awesome with CD or iPod playing. It's not an exciting vehicle to drive but it is very comfortable and pleasant. I'm surprised to read of others with squeaks/rattles as mine has none thankfully as I can't stand that. One negative is the cup holders are poorly placed but hey if that's all I have to complain about I'm a happy camper.
Meh - should have upgraded to the Limited.
Michael Hoffman,07/26/2015
4dr SUV 4WD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
Here's the thing with Toyota. It's ALWAYS been their thing. Unless you upgrade to "Limited" (or in the old days LE, etc) - you get the cheapest stuff around as far as fit and finish of the interior. Time was, under the hood all things were equal. Not anymore. Anyone who owns the BASE MODEL 4cyl 4WD MUST know how much of a lag there is if you need quick acceleration. This thing is THE slowest responding dog I've ever driven. Off the line, it's okay but if you need a passing gear, wow, it's bad. This is directly the result of Toyota keeping selling costs down but it completely sacrifices the performance not having at least a 5 speed transmission. I had a 2008 Corolla S before this which had better acceleration. Thankfully, if you switch the shifter to 'sport' it downshifts more rapidly. Traction control and safety features are great on this car. The standard headlights are pathetic. No fog lights standard either. I've upgraded to better lights and also have installed foggers. Makes a major difference. The wheels are simply painted steel which I was fine with until three years in, they are already rusting. Again - irritating. OEM tires (Kumho) were also pure junk. Finally, the stereo. Now, I didn't expect a massive sound system but again - always with Toyota - it's not a Limited so they install something you would have found in an American car from 15 years ago. Piece of absolute junk. There are component speakers in the front doors and ONE WAY speakers in the back. The sound in the rear is just terrible. I've upgraded the rears and it made a good improvement. A compass on the rearview mirror also would have been handy. Don't get me wrong, I DO like this SUV. Overall, I'm picky but those are the things for me that stick out. It rides smooth, it's ultra reliable, it's quiet, very good in poor driving conditions, love the swinging rear door, plenty of room, AC blows SO COLD, lots of storage. For those complaining of the cup holders, take the rubber insert out. Simple. Those were only there so one COULD use a can if you wanted to. Also, like that it came standard with electronic fuel economy readings. We have been driving Toyotas in my family since we owned a 1979 Supra. Amazingly reliable.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall3 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger2 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat3 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover18.5%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2011 Toyota RAV4
More About This Model

If you are in the market for a compact SUV, consider yourself a savvy shopper. You've likely realized that compact SUVs are more maneuverable and easier on gas than their larger variants. And you probably know that you gain a higher seating position and more room for cargo when compared to a midsize sedan. Now the only question to ask is, "Which is the best compact SUV for my needs?"

The Toyota RAV4 is like a grizzled veteran among compact SUVs. It was one of the first crossover SUVs and helped define the segment. But the 2011 Toyota RAV4 isn't the go-to pick it used to be. Its styling hasn't changed much and its competitors have begun to offer more standard features for the same money — or in some cases, less. But while the RAV4 has been somewhat slow to evolve, this doesn't mean that you should strike it from your list just yet. The RAV4 continues to be a strong contender whose utility is still near the top of its class. And with the price of gasoline soaring above $4 per gallon, maybe you'd like the RAV4 with a four-cylinder engine instead of the V6 that has been the default choice.

Compact SUV buyers in 2011 will find that there is some stiff competition in the market. The Honda CR-V has a nicer interior, but we find its engine to be lacking in torque. The Kia Sportage is less expensive and better looking, but it holds less cargo. Among the RAV4's domestic competitors, the Chevrolet Equinox is a spacious and solid pick. Lastly, though the Ford Escape continues to be a perennial best-seller, its platform is growing dated and it's set to get a much-needed redesign later this year.

Used 2011 Toyota RAV4 Overview

The Used 2011 Toyota RAV4 is offered in the following submodels: RAV4 SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV 4WD (2.5L 4cyl 4A), 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 4A), Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (2.5L 4cyl 4A), Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (2.5L 4cyl 4A), 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 4A), Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Sport 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 4A), 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), and Sport 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Toyota RAV4 models are available with a 2.5 L-liter gas engine or a 3.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 269 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2011 Toyota RAV4 comes with four wheel drive, and front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic, 5-speed automatic. The Used 2011 Toyota RAV4 comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 2 yr./ 25000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Toyota RAV4?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Toyota RAV4 trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Toyota RAV4 Base is priced between $8,490 and$11,892 with odometer readings between 109526 and164222 miles.
  • The Used 2011 Toyota RAV4 Limited is priced between $12,995 and$13,507 with odometer readings between 74277 and130408 miles.
  • The Used 2011 Toyota RAV4 Sport is priced between $12,990 and$13,281 with odometer readings between 97742 and112094 miles.

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Which used 2011 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) 2011 Toyota RAV4 for sale near. There are currently 12 used and CPO 2011 RAV4s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,490 and mileage as low as 74277 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 2011 Toyota RAV4.

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Find a used Toyota RAV4 for sale - 12 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $7,551.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 10 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $23,531.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota RAV4 for sale - 8 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $11,430.

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Should I lease or buy a 2011 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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