Revising my review at 21,000 miles, I've now owned the car 36 months and driven it 32,000 miles. 2/3rds of those have been on interstates and local highways on long trips. Quite a change moving from 2004 Camry to a 2014 RAV4! I have adapted to a much stiffer suspension which really shows on poorly maintained urban streets. Not harsh, but stiff. Highway behavior at speeds at least up to 75 is very good, not subject to buffeting the way my 2004 Camry was, and the suspension set up is good. I do not find it tiring to drive 500 miles daily for multiple days. The front seat at least for a smaller person (5'6") is comfy, though an adjustable lumbar support would make the seat better. I miss the power seat of the Camry, but I can comfortably live with this basic seat with its height adjustment. The interior is not quiet on many highway surfaces. Engine & exhaust noise are higher than I think they should be in city driving. The body is quiet - no booming, rattles. squeaks or reverberations. The view out is surprisingly good, but I find the slope of the A pillars to obstruct turning vision in both directions. Thought I would not use the back-up camera but it is very useful. The screen is hard to see in bright overhead sunlight, and turns into a mirror with low sun from the rear. And - surprise - it is practically useless with polarized sunglasses. With no navigation feature, the screen is simple and easy to use for the radio. Other vision-related observations: There are metallic and reflective surfaces on the flat leading edges of the dash which reflect bright sunlight during some hours of the day depending on driving direction. At night I am bothered by what for me is a bright info screen. This turned out to be a default setting, and with some hunting through the menus (or reading the manual!) can be turned off. The instruments are hard to see in high contrast daylight. Cruise control is consistent. Brakes are very good with nice modulation and no grabbing. Rear discs usually have a grinding noise for the first three - five stops after sitting even one full day of high humidity/rain, but are not wearing prematurely. The car maintains good firm highway manners with a full load on long trips. Engine power is enough to easily get up to speed on most interstate ramps. Gas mileage is not better than advertised except on long flat runs in the mid 60 mph range, then I get 35mpg or better. This car has very usable load room. The rear seats do NOT fold flat, and the front passenger seat does not fold flat forward. Nonetheless, the space is useful with exactly 6 feet from front seatback to tailgate easily arranged.. The bay has a couple of D rings for tethering things. Safety for the 2014 model I own is decent, but not great: In particular see the NHSTA front passenger score, and the IIHS Small Overlap score. Handling seems fine. Last critical notes: The reliable 6 speed transmission is set up so that it will dramatically downshift from 2200 rpm to over 3100 rpm even on railway overpasses in the flats of Illinois(!) Very very annoying and hard on drivetrains. I have found that turning off the cruise control before even a moderate grade allows me to anticipate the grade, feather the throttle, lose not more than 1 mph and avoid rpms above 2600 with no harsh downshifting. This is a real nuisance in my view, and I've not universally seen this in similar non-turbo crossovers I have rented for a few days of cross country travel. The "eyebrow" over the rear window probably prevents the use of most simple bike carriers and it prevents easy cleaning of the glass with the usual filling station squeegee. Bummer. Interior content does not seem to me to come up to the standards I learned to expect from Toyota in a garden variety Camry, but there is no visible wear at all in the driver's area. (I am often the only person in the car.) Shoulder width in the back seat is narrow -- smaller than the Soul in fact. Footroom for even 6 foot + occupants is adequate all around. Overall, the car seems to me to retain legendary Toyota qualities - tight body, good wearing materials, decent seating and reasonable sight lines. This 2014 RAV4 has been entirely trouble-free through 32,000 miles. But interior content seems to me to be a little wanting - if this is important to you, inspect and survey closely to verify the presence of the stuff you like. Do I feel I have gotten top-notch value for my $23,000 in 2014? No, but I think there is reasonable value especially in terms of trouble-free operation and probable longevity. Perhaps more recent models have addressed some of my concerns.
I got the top trim level and added remote start, homelink, and a trailer hitch. Remote start and heated seats are great on those chilly, Midwest mornings. I am a conservative driver, having traded in a 2008 Prius, and I am routinely getting between 32-33 mpg on the hwy, and about 27-28 in city driving in Eco mode. This vehicle is fun to drive, and dollar for dollar is the best deal on the market. I test drove the Honda CRV, Subaru Forester and Crosstrek, and the Mazda CX-5, and none could compare pricepoint and features. Reliability and comfort have been fantastic!!
After a year and several thousand miles, It is time for a review so others can use as a reference. The gas mileage is as advertised. Average about 26m/gal (mostly highway). City is about 21. Some people complaint about the transmission and the car's power, but it is not true. They must learn how to use eco mode and sport mode to bring out the car true performance (play with shift paddle some time also). With my personal experience, I use eco mode on highway and sport mode on back road or city road. The car has good surrounding view and I love the rear view camera. The cargo area is almost as big as my 1998 grand Cherokee and the rear seats could be folded real flat. Review update: Currently in August 2017, This 2014 RAV-4 has been seized by my wife and I have to use her 2014 Prius-4 to get around town and to commute to work. The RAV-4 still running great without any issue. I just change oil and filter once a year. I did not bring the car back to the local dealer for free oil changes and checkup. I have no trust for anyone but me taking care of any vehicle I own and operate. I still make people mad at traffic lights because they did not believe the RAV-4 could be so responsive at start (using the sport mode. I also make people mad with my Prius using the Power mode.)
I have the 2014 RAV4 XLE. The drivers seat lumbar support hurts my back. There is no adjustment on the XLE model, why? This is my 5th new Toyota and I have not had this issue before. My only other issue is the lack of a power lift for the rear hatch on the XLE as an option.
When my 2003 Toyota 4Runner hit the 197K mark and needed a 4K repair, I started looking at other vehicles and found the 2014 Toyota RAV4 AWD XLE. For me it is the best blend of Toyota styling, performance, reliability and fuel economy, with the perks of fun to drive (SPORT mode), roomy cargo, comfort, optional equipment and good MPG and safety ratings. I purchased a Certified used (newly off lease) which came with a 1 year 12,000 mile warranty and 27K miles on it. Mine has a roof rack with bars, Etune infotainment system with navigation, Bluetooth and apps, and sunroof. I added a hitch via Uhaul (installation with lifetime warranty about two-fifty), to use the CURT 18153 Basket Style Cargo Carrier I'd used with my 4Runner. What I like about this vehicle... ? Drives like a car versus a truck or larger SUV, making it more fun to drive! ? Excellent head and leg room for all passengers. Driver of 6'3" had no problem with head room to spare! ? Tight turning radius makes it easy to pull into tight parking spaces. ? Comfortable seating all around. Rear bench seats even recline! ? Highest capacity cargo space in the compact SUV class. ? Fog lights work very well to enhance bad weather driving. ? SPORT mode (on demand all-wheel-drive mode) makes the vehicle hug the road; cornering with no slippage, and is very peppy! ? ECO mode for around town where boosts of acceleration isn't really needed is great for sipping fuel. ? Good visibility despite a smaller back window. ? Toyota reliability has been very good for me, giving me peace of mind with this purchase. ? Toyota RAV4's hold their resale value, especially with AWD. ? Back up camera works well and if you let off the gas while in drive, you can put the transmission into reverse while you're traveling forward (as shown to me by the dealer... I'm not sure I'd trust it to do it myself...) making the backup lights come on IN traffic. Works to get those who are tailgating ease off your bumper! ? Spare tire is easily accessed by lifting the floor of the cargo area. (Not full-sized.) ? Backseat has flip down armrest with cup holders, and no center hump on the floor to contend with if you are the 5th passenger seated in the middle of the backseat. ? Flattening the cargo area is easy to do, and two sets of golf clubs in bags can fit near the opening when placed horizontally. ? Interior lighting; reading lights for driver and passenger, cabin light overhead, and rear cargo light as well as courtesy lighting that goes on when the car is put into part and doors are opened. ? Excellent ETune navigation and info-entertainment center. Paired with my iPhone 5S easily to make calls and stream music, and the sound quality from 6 speakers after adjusting treble, bass, mids and fader, was great! ? Fit and finish of the entire vehicle is very good. ? Daytime running lights. ? Setting for AUTO means headlights and external lighting (not running lights) turn on with key, and off when ignition is off. AUTO setting on headlight settings must be left on the 3rd position to engage this feature. (Check page 216 of Owner's Manual for more.) ? Well placed gas hatch cover release on floor to left of driver seat. Takes unleaded fuel. ? The lines of the 2014 model (particularly the front grill and back end) are attractive (at least to me) by comparison to the 2016's and 17's. --------------------------------------- What I wish was better... ? XLE model has an adjustable driver's seat, but it's manual; back n' forth, up and down, and seat back - no lumbar support. ? Storage cubbies exist, but the flip down sunglasses holder I used daily in my 4Runner doesn't exist in the RAV4. I miss it... ? Recommended roof rack weight limit is only #100. ? Some wind noise inside the cabin during a particularly blustery drive. (Maybe it's just my vehicle and a door seal that needs attention?) ? Gas mileage varies widely depending upon what 'mode' you are driving in with an average of 25 for varied highway and in town driving. ? Takes synthetic oil, which is more expensive to have changed. (Consider buying in bulk and bringing your own when you get it done to save a little money.) ? Cabin noise is more noticeable than in the Honda CRV of the same year or newer. ? Can be a bumpy ride, but I think your perception of this will vary based upon what else you have driven. ? Rear hatch release tough to find (rubbery handle on back at center near camera) - no remote release. ? Tiered dash means passenger's knees may get bumped when getting in and out. **The model I have has a smart-key, not push button ignition as seen in some newer models. Some of the features on the vehicle (like headlights) act differently as mentioned in the Owner's Manual. I had seriously considered purchasing the newest RAV4's, Honda CRV, Ford Escape, Subaru Outback and Mazda CX5, but chose the 2014 Toyota RAV4 as for me it offered the best driving experience, size, comfort and value.