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 +++.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
I have had this car about a month. I live in the mountains and wanted a car with decent acceleration that would be good in winter weather. The 2.5 engine has been fine even on steep hills at altitude. I've driven it in snowy, icy conditions (with snow tires) and it handles well and feels smooth. The automatic transmission can slide over to manual and a nudge of the shift lever up or down changes the gear. This gives the car the clutch breaking of a standard transmission and I have used it on icy, snowy downhills when I don't want to brake a lot. At first, I used the sport setting on hills, but I've found it climbs as well on the normal setting. I got the Limited because I love the push button start (I'm a key loser) and the automatic headlights. I also like the vinyl seats which are easy to wipe clean. The technology features are helpful. For example, a yellow light appears on the side mirrors when a car is in your blindspot and, when you're in reverse there is a warning if something is about to pass behind.
Update- have the car 8 months- 10,000 miles
No mechanical problems.
Driving this winter, it was really handy to be able to push a button and go into 4 wheel drive. Twice during snowy, icy weather, I used it on an uphill highway ramp. The second time, a light on the dash flashed "4 wheel drive not on" or something like that--hint, hint. It gave me instant traction and shuts off around 25 mpg. The all wheel drive was really excellent the rest of the time.
Roomy. Decent back seats and plenty of storage area.
Headlights and fog lights great on dark roads
Smooth ride with good feel of the road
Two memory settings for the drivers seat! I am 5'2" and everyone has to move my seat. My 6'2" husband is comfortable as a passenger.
Radio with Sirius is a touch screen- It takes a lot of attention off the road to change stations or settings and it's impossible to see if the sun is hitting it. Also there are no preset buttons for the radio. I can change preset stations (on the touch screen) from the steering wheel but I still have to look down too much to see what is on.
Short back window so the rear wiper only cleans a small area.
Overall I'm happy with the car. I haven't had problems with it so far.