The 2017 Toyota RAV4 keeps up the model's tradition as a practical choice for consumers shopping in the highly competitive compact SUV market segment. The refreshed RAV4 offers improved ride and handling, enhanced styling and an upgraded interior. As always, there is the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive, seating for five, a generous amount of cargo room and Toyota's reputation for reliability.
Probably the biggest change for 2017 is the standard Toyota Safety Sense suite, which includes a host of advanced safety equipment such as lane departure warning and forward collision warning with automatic braking. Also new for this model year is the luxury-oriented Platinum trim level with comfort and convenience features such as a foot-activated power liftgate and a premium JBL audio system.
Power for all RAV4 models, except the Hybrid, is provided by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque and comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters now standard on the SE trim level. Performance, although adequate for most family needs, is not particularly outstanding compared to many of its rivals, but the transmission's Sport mode, with revised shift points and improved acceleration, can provide a bit more spirited driving.
One of the RAV4's strong suits, in addition to reliability, is interior space. There's a generous amount of room for front passengers, and the cargo area — easily expandable and configurable with a 60/40-split rear seatback — makes it easy to load and transport as much or more stuff than its competitors. The backseats, though not as roomy as those in front, do recline to increase comfort.
As with previous versions of the RAV4, the 2017 model is capable and easy to drive, with a well-tuned, compliant suspension and smooth, quiet highway manners. Although not really equipped for hard-core offroading, Toyota's compact SUV remains composed on unpaved roads, and the available all-wheel drive provides additional confidence in wet or snowy conditions.
The front-wheel-drive RAV4 achieved an EPA fuel economy rating of 25 mpg in combined driving (23 city/29 highway), and the all-wheel-drive model is also rated at a combined 25 mpg (22 city/28 highway). These ratings, although respectable, place the RAV4 a bit behind its major competitors in the area of fuel economy.
The base model RAV4 is the already well-equipped LE trim level. Stepping up to the XLE or Limited version adds a number of useful and convenient features, and opting for the top-of-the-line Premium trim offers buyers even more comfort and luxury. Let Edmunds help find the perfect 2017 Toyota RAV4 for you.