2013 Toyota RAV4 Consumer Review: Thorough review after 3 years

2013 Toyota RAV4 - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

64 Total Reviews

LE 4dr SUV (2.5L 4-cyl. AWD 6-speed Automatic)

12 of 21 people found this review helpful
Thorough review after 3 years
By 4bras on


2013 Toyota RAV4 LE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)


A great SUV for zipping around town, short highway travel, commuting, or heading to national parks and the great outdoors for fun weekends. One of the reasons I chose this vehicle was because it had the most cargo room for this class of small SUVs. Even so, I did buy a Thule cargo carrier for occasional extra luggage capacity.

The transmission is versatile with three modes. Its 6 speed transmission with a 4 cylinder engine shifts gears more often than a 4 speed transmission with a 6 cylinder engine, but we also enjoy 27-29 mpg in the city using Eco mode. The three modes respond as follows:
- Normal mode: Responsive shifting, great for busily driving around town and on the highway.
- Eco Mode: Slower to shift, but shifts more smoothly, not as jumpy or punchy. We see better gas mileage during city and mixed driving.
- Sport Mode: Favors shifting down 1 gear from Normal mode so that the transmission is wound tighter and the vehicle is more responsive. This is helpful on snowy and icy roads.

Headlamps create a very clear wall of light for night driving with great visibility. On the interior, everything is well lit except for the power side mirror adjustment--there is no light behind this control, leaving you to feel around for it in the dark.

It's a Toyota, so quality is good as expected. Oil changes uses synthetic oil, so they are closer to $80-$90 each, but they are only recommended every 10k miles, so that would average out the same as standard oil changes every 4k-5k miles.. I have only needed the regular preventive maintenance, a set of front brakes, and a set of tires--all to be expected for my mileage.

A few downsides to be aware of:
1) The 4 cylinder engine is under-powered when you load the vehicle with people and luggage. Highway mileage on the interstate (75-80mph) + rolling hill country + wind + rooftop cargo carrier reduces the mileage to 22mpg. Even without the cargo carrier, the same conditions reduce mileage to 24mpg. I WISH Toyota would have never dropped their 6 cylinder option. This vehicle needs 6 cylinders to be a good interstate highway travel vehicle.
2) The headrest design is crazy bad! It is too far forward and causes neck and shoulder tension. But for this problem I found a safe solution. Remove the headrest, turn it around backwards (which now makes it a bit too far from your head), and then purchase a headrest pad from http://www.addonheadrest.com/order.html. The distance to my head is now perfect (not too close, not too far), and this makes all the difference in the seating comfort.
3) Thin paint job and not very scratch resistant. It scratches more easily than other vehicles I have owned. So if you have an option of getting some kind of paint protective coating applied on a new vehicle, get it.
4) No air vents, USB port, or power socket in the back seat area. For a vehicle of this size, Toyota should have included all three as does the Hyundai Santa Fe (I tested this vehicle, but it had other issues that led me to purchase the RAV4).

Best Features

  • Purchase cost

Worst Features

Recommend (12) (9)

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By 4bras
on 06/29/14 06:59 AM (PDT)

As the author of this article, I am correcting a typo in the "Review" section. It should read: Overall a very good SUV. It's a Toyota, so their quality is good. I found the transmission very responsive depending on the mode you select. Its 6 SPEED transmission will of course shift gears more often than say a 4 SPEED transmission. But we also enjoy 27-29 mpg in mixed city/hwy driving.

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