The 2012 Toyota RAV4 video review goes over fuel economy, price, features, interior space and cargo room. We also compare it to other compact crossover SUVs.
The Toyota RAV4 is a roomy, comfy and easy-to-drive small-to-midsize SUV, with the added benefit of Toyota's name for reliability. Although there's lots of storage space inside the cabin, the interior design and materials aren't what we expect from Toyota.
While we're griping, the RAV4's right-hinged tailgate is the opposite of what you want for curbside loading. That being said, the second-row seat folds completely flat with the touch of a lever, giving a full 73 cubic feet.
Standard items include air-conditioning and cruise control, as well as Bluetooth and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The base four-cylinder makes 179 horsepower, but honestly, it's inadequate for moving this little SUV with any real speed. And since it's mated to a four-speed automatic, fuel economy is disappointing at 22 city/28 highway and 24 mpg combined.
The 3.5-liter V6 makes a hearty 269 hp. Mated to a five-speed automatic, it achieves 19 mpg city/27 highway and 22 combined with front-wheel drive.
The RAV4 is a somewhat capable off-roader, particularly the four-wheel-drive version. But the reality is that it's designed for life on the pavement. The taut suspension delivers decent handling, while the ride is forgiving enough for commuters who drive on poorly paved roads. Some may find the road noise a bit excessive.
Government crash testing returned an overall score of three stars out of five. On the other hand, it garnered the top rating of Good in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Here's the bottom line: The RAV4, in all forms, is a decent-driving SUV, but the four-cylinder model will let some buyers down. Because of that, we recommend opting for the V6 version. Lots more oomph, and yet you only sacrifice about 2 mpg.