This is a great SUV with great handling, peppy engine, solid ride and economical. Driven it for over 8,000 miles now including a 1,600 mile trip up north. The Rav4 rides like a dream, but the best thing is how it does it. The 6 speed automatic transmission is silky smooth and always at the right gear. The engine purrs, it's quiet, peppy and dependable. When you crank it up in the mornings, there are no weird noises, no piston or valves noises, it just starts quietly and efficiently. I'm getting about 23 mpg in the city, about 31 on the highway. By all means this vehicle is way much better than my previous Subaru Forester.A Update: At 13,500 miles the Rav4 has been handling very well. Still rides great and shifts like new. This is one great vehicle!
I have had a Ford Escape, Honda CRV and several Subaru Outbacks. I also looked into the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Rogue. The Toyota RAV4 won out for many reasons. So far this vehicle exceeds my expectations. I'm getting 28.7 MPG average (yes AWD)! I love the seats, they seem to "grab" my rib cage and I do not sway either way when doing a sharp turn. The ride is solid like a truck. Visibility is great. There is plenty of room for 3 road bikes in the back without removing the front wheel.
As an add-on to the first opinion I wrote of the 2015 RAV4: Initially I was slightly disappointed with MPG's and realized the extreme cold temps. in the NE USA were the reason.A recent road trip produced Identical MPG's as a traded-in '13 CRV: 62 MPH= 34 MPG 69 MPH= 30 MPG 74 MPH= 28.5 MPG 79 MPH= 27.6 MPG W/cruise control over 200+ miles at each speed.MPG was identical to the CRV.The RAV4 is 150 lbs. heavier too.RAV4 also fits more cargo as the wheel wells inside the back are 44"apart.The rear seats also fold down completely level,unlike CRV.Driving in city, Sport mode is a must to shift smoother.The 6 speed manual/auto is a ++. Michelins grab the road in cornering,big +++.
We are leasing the 2015 RAV4 AWD 6A LE, replacing a comparable 2012 RAV4. We do a lot of long distance highway driving and find it very comfortable. Overall it is a step improvement over the previous model and we are happy with it, though it is no luxury vehicle. Of the other SUV's we considered, it was the best manufacturer's lease deal. We've been leasing to wait for better SUV fuel economy breakthroughs. Now that a RAV4 Hybrid is available, that is our top purchase candidate. We considered Honda CRV, Subaru Forester, and Subaru Outback. The much more expensive Outback was the best riding, best MPG, most luxurious , and much quieter, but we preferred the upright seating and compacter wheelbase of a true SUV. Of the 3 true SUVs the Toyota was the quietest (both Honda and Subaru still have unacceptable highway wind noise after all these years) and smoothest handling at highway speeds. Like its 2012 predecessor, our RAV4 was flawlessly constructed. The engine purrs and acceleration is very smooth. Handling is good considering the higher center of gravity and weight of an SUV (Forrester wins in this category with it's boxer engine). In strong wind at highway speed handling is jittery due to the high profile and short wheelbase- a lot of micro steering adjustments may be required. Mileage is decent, but not exceptional, and little better than the previous model despite the addition of an extra gear. If I keep it under 65 mph I can handily beat the EPA highway 29 MPG rating. However, on a recent 1200 mile highway drive at 80+/- mph, with some frantic stop and going around metro Washington DC, we averaged 27.6 mpg. Overall I have averaged 26.1 mpg in normal driving mode, lighting up the green ECO LED most of the way. 2017 UPDATE: Just drove 1150 miles from FL to PA with several half hour traffic crawl delays, otherwise averaging 70-80 mph with average mpg of 29.5 in eco mode. I have no problem with the electronic displays and controls. Find them useful, easy to read, and intuitive. Backup camera with guidelines is a great feature. Basic stereo sound is nothing special; works well with USB or music player, easy to set up blue tooth connections. It pisses me off that Toyota doesn't include a driver lumbar support in anything but the XLE model. Seats are fairly comfortable though better for me if I use a Back Joy Sit Smart. Some other areas where you now get less than in the previous model: no overhead sun glass holder, only one in-dash storage box and a useless shelf above it, less console storage, glove box does not lock, no cross bars (but a cheap after market purchase if you need it, and at least you get roof rails on the basic models unlike the CRV), no back seat fold down lever in the storage area, no VARIABLE control for intermittent wiper, no full size spare, plastic wheel covers instead of finished steel wheels. The extra charge floor mats are very cheap, better to get something after market. Some pluses versus 2012, ours included a rear storage cover, backup camera, the rear seat headrests can be easily folded down to improve rear view visibility, in car spare storage and upswing rear door makes rear access much easier, better MPG feedback tools, quieter ride. Rear visibility is excellent (much better than CRV). However, the forward descending body side lines throw you off when trying to align the car in a parking space. Cannot see speedometer when driver seat position is elevated.
Shopped for a variety of vehicles that could be an answer to a variety of situations. The RAV4 checks all the boxes. Oil consumption issues deleted the Subaru Forester from my list; the Crosstrek was a strong contender but the lack of room deleted it from my list as well. Vibration issues with the new Honda CR-V crossed itself off my list. The Subaru Outback had a strong lead, but something in my gut said no. The RAV4 meets most of my criteria. It's a sharp vehicle and Toyota has done its homework in tweaking aerodynamic features to maximize efficiency (vortex generators, anyone?). I came out of a Nissan XTerra, which I loved but was killing me on ergonomics, and was a poor carpooling choice. The RAV4 has a huge rear seat, room to drop the seats and sleep in this vehicle, good cargo carrying capacity, an AWD button that turns all four wheels up to 25mph on demand, a traditional 6spd transmission, great fuel economy (averaging 27mpg mixed, but I did replace the standard air filter with a K&N filter), revised IIHS crash test scoring, expected resale value, and (let's hope) Toyota reliability made me land on the RAV4. The Limited is a rough rider, but 18" wheels and a taut suspension are the reason. The sport button adds life to this machine, and the eco button drains any pep - nice to know those features are there, though. The navigation screen is dismal (best in class for navigation goes to Ford and its SYNC system - miss my C-Max, too!) Stop griping about the lack of a place to store your sunglasses - if that's all you have to complain about, life is pretty good.