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Vehicle Overview It's easy to see why the 2017 Toyota RAV4 is a popular choice among those shopping for a compact SUV. It simply delivers everything expected from full-time family transportation, including a comfortable ride, strong fuel economy, plenty of cargo space, an abundance of safety features, ease of operation, and a good reputation for reliability.
This segment in the marketplace is highly competitive, however. That's why the RAV4 has been significantly upgraded for 2017. Now standard on all models is Safety Sense, Toyota's suite of advanced safety features that includes an adaptive cruise control system that is either an expensive option on the RAV4's rivals or not offered at all. There's also a new top-of-the-line Platinum trim that adds luxury and convenience features typically found on more expensive vehicles.
These additions should help the 2017 Toyota RAV4 hold a slight advantage over other B-rated alternatives in its class such as the Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Kia Sportage. The Toyota is also more competitive against the class-leading Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5, both of which earned strong Edmunds "A"-ratings.
Powertrains and Performance Powering all 2017 Toyota RAV4 models is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, and it's matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available at additional cost.
In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive Toyota RAV4 accelerated to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds, which is comparable to other small SUVs in this class.
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 25 mpg combined (23 city/29 highway) for the front-wheel-drive RAV4 and 25 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway) with all-wheel drive. These figures come in just below EPA estimates for its chief rivals.
Safety Standard safety features for all 2017 Toyota RAV4 models include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length curtain airbags, a driver knee-type airbag, a rearview camera, and a driver mirror with a blind-spot view. New for this year, the Toyota Safety Sense suite is also standard and adds forward collision warning and mitigation, automatic high beams, and lane keep assist. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and a surround-view camera system are available on higher-trimmed RAV4s.
In Edmunds brake testing, a RAV4 Limited AWD stopped from 60 mph in 128 feet, which is a few feet longer than average.
In government crash tests, the RAV4 was awarded five out of five stars for overall and side-crash protection, as well as four stars for front-impact and rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick+, with the top score of Good in the small- and moderate- overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests. The RAV4 also earned a Superior rating for front crash avoidance and mitigation.
Additional Information 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.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.