2018 Toyota RAV4 Review
2018 Toyota RAV4 Review
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Used RAV4 for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Edmunds ContributorJames Riswick is an automotive journalist at Edmunds.
- One of the largest, most versatile cargo areas in the segment
- Advanced safety and driver aids come standard
- Rides smoothly in a variety of conditions
- Modest acceleration from the only engine
- Interior has a utilitarian look and feel
- Ho-hum driving experience
- Newly available Adventure trim level
- Sporty SE trim gets increased ride height (6.1 to 6.5 inches)
- Part of the fourth RAV4 generation introduced for 2013
The 2018 Toyota RAV4 represents the current generation's sixth and likely final year since it was completely redesigned. It's received a nip here, a tuck there, and a few extra safety features over the years, but it's largely the same utility-focused vehicle it always has been. And really, it's those standard safety features and its enormous interior that help keep it relevant despite virtually all of its competitors being redesigned.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Toyota RAV4 XLE 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.36 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Midsize SUV
Take a test drive of the RAV4 and some other top crossovers and you'll likely notice that the RAV4 looks and feels a bit behind the times. Its utility-focused interior lacks the refinement, quality and style of key rivals that can feel borderline luxurious. You can't even get the RAV4 with real leather upholstery. The RAV4 is also less engaging to drive, with subpar handling and an engine that trails in terms of both acceleration and fuel economy. Tech features can also be lacking — yes, safety tech is standard, but Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and onboard Wi-Fi are not available.
To be fair, these issues are most obvious on the RAV4's upper trim levels. Less expensive RAV4s such as the XLE are better able to showcase their space advantages and standard safety equipment. If you're shopping in that price range, the 2018 RAV4 is certainly worth a look, but we also suggest checking out higher-rated crossovers such as the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5.
Edmunds' Expert Rating6.8 / 10
The 2018 Toyota RAV4's roomy interior, numerous standard safety features and reputation for reliability make it a reasonable choice for a small crossover. But many rivals are more refined, engaging and even luxurious.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Toyota RAV4 SE (2.5L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, Toyota raised the SE's suspension, which could alter the SE's handling, ride and off-road ratings. Our findings remain broadly applicable, however.
|Overall||6.8 / 10|
The SE's sportier suspension tuning differs from other RAV4 trim levels. It improves its handling ability somewhat, but not enough relative to actually sporty competitors. Every RAV4 feels slow when you flatten the gas pedal, and no upgraded engines are available.
The RAV4 feels surprisingly punchy around town, and the gas pedal is responsive to your inputs. However, the engine runs out of steam pretty quickly. In Edmunds testing, our test RAV4 needed 9 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 mph, making it one of the slower vehicles in this class.
The brake pedal's action is long and mushy, with very little resistance. You have to press the pedal firmly to bring the RAV4 to a stop. It took 121 feet to halt from 60 mph in our testing, which is an average distance in the compact crossover class.
Steering effort is a little heavier than normal for this class. The wheel isn't difficult to turn, however, and it's easy to maneuver into a parking spot. Out on the road, rivals from Ford, Honda and Mazda provide more engaging and confidence-inspiring steering.
The RAV4 seems stable around turns, feeling well balanced and predictable. It's easy to drive. But the RAV4 lacks that extra zest offered by competitors that engages the driver. It's a bit of a snooze.
The RAV4 feels just right in its default driving mode. We're not fans of the Eco mode's overly delayed gas-pedal response and eager-to-upshift transmission programming. Even in Sport mode, the transmission doesn't always respond to commands while manually shifting and displays the incorrect gear.
A lockable center differential with all-wheel drive, and even the front-wheel drive's limited-slip differential, make the RAV4 a bit more capable than most rivals. However, this is still a light-duty off-roader and its ground clearance (even in the raised SE and Adventure) is nothing special.
The front seats are roomy and shaped well, but only the driver gets lumbar and height adjustment. The seats feel comfortable even on a long road trip, but road noise and wind noise are omnipresent. Ride quality can vary by RAV4 trim level.
Front seats are comfy enough, but there's no lumbar adjustment unless you upgrade to the SE (though its imitation leather isn't as comfy as the XLE's cloth). Only the driver seat is height-adjustable. Three-person seating in the back is challenging due to an oddly placed middle seat-belt anchor.
The SE's sporty suspension tuning improves handling but not enough to warrant the busier and harsher ride. Perhaps the extra suspension travel for 2018 will change this, but we'd probably stick with any of the other, more comfortable-riding trim levels.
Noise & vibration6.5
There's not much engine noise at any speed unless you're really pushing the car hard. Levels of wind and tire noise, especially tire smack, are overly intrusive while cruising on the highway. Nowhere as serene as Mazda and Honda rivals.
The dual-zone climate control adeptly cools the interior on a hot day. There are no rear air vents. Toggle switches for the heated seats are hidden depending on viewing angle, so you'll have to remember to switch them off. Even on the low setting, they get nice and toasty.
It's easy to enter and exit the RAV4, and most occupants will find the cabin quite roomy. The controls on the upper portion of the center console are easy to reach, but you might have difficulty finding some of the buttons and switches below. Outward visibility is excellent.
Ease of use7.0
The infotainment system features a nice mix between physical buttons and easy-to-press virtual ones. Eco and Sport buttons are out of the way, as are toggle switches for the heated front seats.
Getting in/getting out7.5
A low step-in height and tall doors make for easy entry and exit in the front. Steering wheel tilt is limited, and drivers might hit their knees on the column. Entering and exiting the rear are also easy thanks to the seats' lack of contouring.
The driver's seat offers enough range of height adjustment, and the seat bottom angles up nicely. As in many other Toyotas, the steering wheel doesn't offer enough tilt or telescoping adjustment.
There's an abundance of head- and legroom throughout the cabin. Four 6-footers will have no problem on a long road trip. Even the middle seat position has enough headroom for an adult. The side bolsters make the front seats a bit narrow.
The tall and wide windows allow for an expansive view out. There's a sizable window in the three-quarter view that compensates for the wide rear roof pillar. The rear window is also large. Overall, the RAV4 is impressively easy to see out of.
The RAV4 looks and feels cheap compared to its top competitors. There's a ton of hard plastic throughout and the utilitarian design doesn't help. SofTex vinyl covers the seats in top four trims, but unlike other faux leathers, it's obviously vinyl. There's no option for real leather.
The RAV4 offers one of the largest cargo areas in the class, and its low liftover height means you won't strain your back while loading heavy items. But the liftgate doesn't open very high. Small, haphazardly placed storage cubbies aren't very useful.
Two cupholders of different sizes are separated by the shifter. Strange. There are a couple of small, oddly shaped storage areas on the center stack, including a shallow, low-grip smartphone holder that isn't very good at holding smartphones. Not great for this family-friendly segment.
The cargo area is wide and flat, with a very low liftover height. Its volume of 38.4 cubic feet with the rear seats in place and 73.4 cubes with them folded is about as good as it gets in this segment. Excellent for bulky items, big dogs. The rear seats are split 60/40 with no center pass-through.
Child safety seat accommodation6.0
The lower LATCH anchors are well-concealed and far from the seatback; you really have to reach in and fish around to find them. The three seatback tethers can be accessed with the cargo cover in place, but these are also hidden under a thin cloth cover.
Towing capability depends on the trim and drivetrain. Most variants can manage only a meager 1,500 pounds, but the Adventure boasts 2,900 pounds with front-wheel drive and 3,500 pounds with all-wheel drive. That's pretty strong for this segment.
The infotainment system is easy to navigate and use, but the graphics look rather dated, and it's impossible to see the screen in direct sunlight. All RAV4 models receive standard safety tech. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and multiple USB ports are not available.
Audio & navigation6.0
The standard touchscreen is easy to use. It has a relatively simple layout and menu structure, but it's not particularly attractive, the screen is small and resolution is fairly low. The optional 7-inch screen offers nominal improvement. Either washes out in direct sunlight.
There's a single USB port in front and none in the back. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are notably absent. Instead, Toyota uses a smartphone integration system of its own design called Entune. You'll have to download the app, create an account, and pair your phone before it's ready to be used.
Unique for the segment, the RAV4 comes standard with forward collision warning, automatic braking, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot warning is available on all but the LE. Adaptive cruise doesn't maintain speed downhill, and clarity of the standard rearview camera is poor.
Hitting the voice control button displays a list of phrases, and the recognition software also recognizes natural speech. It's not the best, with a lot of garbled translations before it hits the mark. Best to use Siri Eyes Free if you have an iPhone (accessed by holding the phone disconnect button).
Which RAV4 does Edmunds recommend?
We would opt for the RAV4's new Adventure trim. Its extra ground clearance and sharper styling are appreciated over the XLE, while its pricing and feature content still land in a sweet spot. Upper trim levels just aren't luxurious enough to warrant their extra price relative to the RAV4's ritzier competitors. We would, however, upgrade the Adventure with the Cold Weather package that adds the greatly desired power driver seat, heated front seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Its fabric upholstery is also preferable to the upper trims' unconvincing SofTex simulated leather.
2018 Toyota RAV4 models
The 2018 RAV4 is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV. There are LE, XLE, Adventure, SE, Limited and Platinum trim levels, all of which come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (176 horsepower, 172 pound-feet of torque) and a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on all trim levels, and all-wheel drive is optional. Unlike most competitors, the RAV4's various trim levels do more than just vary in terms of feature content — they can have slightly different styling and overall characters. For instance, the SE is sportier while the Adventure is more outdoorsy.
The RAV4 LE comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass, Toyota Safety Sense P (forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams), a rearview camera, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding and reclining second-row seat, a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface, one USB port, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
The XLE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, upgraded interior trim, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, more aggressively bolstered front seats and extending sun visors. Heated front seats with a power-adjustable driver adjustment are optional.
The Adventure adds special styling flourishes, 18-inch black alloy wheels, a slightly raised suspension (6.5 inches of ground clearance versus 6.1), fender flares, all-weather floor mats, a leather-wrapped shift knob and a 120-volt household-style outlet in the cargo area. The Cold Weather package, exclusive to the Adventure, adds heated front seats, the power driver seat, a heated steering wheel, and a windshield wiper de-icer.
The SE gets some of the same styling flourishes as the Adventure and the same ground clearance hike, but from there, they differ. The SE adds automatic LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, 18-inch silver alloy wheels, sportier suspension tuning, an upgraded rearview camera, steering-wheel shift paddles, the power driver seat (plus power lumbar adjustment), heated front seats and SofTex simulated leather upholstery.
On the SE, you also get the Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation package that adds satellite radio, HD radio and a Scout GPS navigation app that works through your smartphone connection. It's optional on LE, XLE and Adventure.
The Limited reverts to the XLE's ground clearance, suspension tuning and styling, but keeps its equipment upgrades. It also adds different 18-inch wheels, chrome exterior trim, a height-adjustable power liftgate, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems, keyless ignition and entry, driver-seat memory functions, an auto-dimming mirror, and the Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite package (optional on XLE and Adventure) that adds a 7-inch higher-resolution touchscreen and a Toyota navigation system.
Most of the Limited's other functional upgrades can be added to the XLE, Adventure and SE trim levels through a variety of "extra value" packages.
At the top of the RAV4 lineup is the Platinum. It includes front and rear parking sensors, a hands-free liftgate, fancier exterior trim, a 360-degree parking camera, a heated steering wheel, and the Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite package (optional on SE and Limited) that adds an 11-speaker JBL sound system to all the other items featured in the Entune packages. All of the Platinum's extra functional upgrades can be added to the SE and Limited through an Advanced Technology package.
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
2018 Toyota RAV4 SE 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
The 2018 RAV4 has excellent ride, comfort, and safety technology. I was ambivalent about getting the advanced technology package with parking sensors, surround cameras, front collision avoidance, and lane change detector, but now that I have it, very glad I did. Considered purchasing a Honda CRV or Subaru, but the RAV has better features and comfort.
5 out of 5 stars
Reliable compact SUV
2018 Toyota RAV4 XLE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
Probably the 8th Toyota / Lexus car I have purchased. Purchased for my son who attends college in upstate New York, lots of snow.... The Rav-4 has a comfortable ride with all the safety features standard. For a compact SUV it has plenty of cargo space and a comfortable rear seat. I am 6'3" tall and the front seats give me plenty of leg room. My final decision to purchase the Rav-4 boiled … down to three things, Great reliability / Toyota's hold their value and the safety features. 1 year of ownership.... No problems. Toyota's 2 years of free maintenance is another great feature the car comes with.
5 out of 5 stars
Back to a RAV4 after a 2 year hiatus
2018 Toyota RAV4
I took two years off from a RAV4, for a Buick Encore. I regret my decision to leave my RAV4 last time although my last RAV4 wasn't equipped with things I needed for my wife, like heated seats and a power driver seat for when she drove it. These were crucial for someone with back problems, but I hadn't considered it when I bought it, not realizing that it would be such a big problem for … her - but it was. The Encore had all of this, and then some. What the Encore didn't have was (1) a passenger arm rest - don't think of this as trivial, it is a downright burden if you have back problems or take a long trip and (2) space is a premium that we simply could not live without any longer. We were bumping elbows constantly, trying to share a single driver seat arm rest, and nowhere to put our packages/bags/boxes because the cargo area was pretty small. We have a 90lb German Shepherd and 12lb Chihuahua and take them with us everywhere when we travel together (nights/weekends). I started to get claustrophobic all the time, got annoyed bumping elbows all the time, and going out together was getting more difficult to endure. So, I took a bath on my trade and got back into a RAV4. I got the SE model. Why? Power driver's seat and heated leather-like seats. The SE is a sporty model and it looks sharp, but I only got it because it had what a I needed, without anything more. The Limited is a step-up, but we didn't need all it had to offer vs. saving some money. I bought the 2018 because the 2019 slope of the rear will cut off much needed cargo room. I needed cargo space and now have it. The rear seats fold completely flat (gas model) and even when up, give plenty of storage vs. the Encore. I miss some things that the Encore had that the RAV4 doesn't, like remote start, or Onstar, yes. But not enough to get past the lack of space. The Encore also had some annoyances, like the drivers seat seams coming apart (supple leather, cheap stitches), and the auto air/heat not working like it should. The ride, handling, look, feel, fit and finish, etc. are fine with the RAV4, although some minor dash rattling and center arm rest rattling reminds me I'm in a RAV4, nearly perfect, but with minor annoyances. Ah, but the space. The passenger seat sits annoyingly close to the dash, but you get used to it. I know it is closer than I would like to allow for plenty of rear seat leg room. The lack of a real GPS in anything less than the Limited is shameful, in today's world of electronics. The Scoutlink GPS workaround on the SE kinda works okay, but is glitchy and sometimes shuts off mid-trip. The radio and speakers are fine, and I remember the JBL system was a bigger disappointment because all the sound came out of the front center speaker like an AM Radio from a 1975 sedan. The LED lights (headlights) are something that you should know are the best in the car industry right now. Plenty of light, spread out in front of you, and the high beams are LED as well. The bright LED daytime running lights (SE and Limited) are amazingly bright and function as parking lights as well. The LED tail lights and brake lights are more than adequate to warn drivers behind you. The air/heat work like a dream. The rear power lift gate is slow, but a nice upgrade and very reliable. The halogen fog lights point too close to the ground, but no biggie. The safety sense suite of things (Drifting from lane with correction, emergency braking, dynamic radar cruise control, auto high beams, and on mine the blind spot monitors on the mirrors are amazing. There is nothing more you could want in a car, it really feels good to be back in a RAV4. I tried lots of others and everything else was a disappointment. The RAV4, the 2018 version is one worth getting before they are all gone. Oh yes, the transmission is a perfect shifter, the engine smooth and quiet, the ride mostly decent, and the handling (SE model) is very sporty feeling. I will be keeping this one, and I'm only sorry I got rid of my 2015 Limited, it had everything I needed and wanted. I did a trade in for a RAV4 hybrid to save a few bucks, and only spent lots more going round and round until I got back to the 2018 RAV4 SE model. I'm nearly 300lbs and about 6' tall. If I can get cozy and feel comfortable in this so can you. MPG on highway nearer to 30. MPG in city/suburbs with lots of lights/traffic, about 21.
2 out of 5 stars
2018 Toyota RAV4 XLE 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
If your key fob dies to your keyless enters. Be prepared. It will cost you about $400 to replace and reprogram. The metal key will only open the door. There is no place to put that particular key into an ignition. In addition, there is no longer a GPS in the car. You must use an ap called SPORT through your phone to project on the car's screen. The graphics are horrible, and the … directions are often wrong. Toyota is going to lose customers. I feel like I've been duped. Before you purchase a Toyota, make sure that you know about the built in high cost items like key fobs and reprograming, and horrible Scout GPS system.
Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 23 City / 30 Hwy / 26 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.9 gal. capacity
- 5 seats
- Type: front wheel drive
- Transmission: 6-speed shiftable automatic
- Inline 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 176 hp @ 6000 rpm
- Torque: 172 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 3 yr./ 36000 mi.
- Length: 183.5 in. / Height: 67.1 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 72.6 in.
- Curb Weight: 3455 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 38.4 cu.ft.
Our experts like the RAV4 models:
- Pre-Collision System
- Warns the driver of a possible impact with other cars or pedestrians. Can automatically apply the brakes if necessary.
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
- Matches the speed of vehicles ahead when cruise control is in use on the highway. Generically known as adaptive cruise control.
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
- Warns you when drifting out of your lane and intervenes with steering input if needed. Generically known as lane keeping assist.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover17.4%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2018 Toyota RAV4
Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Overview
The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 is offered in the following submodels: RAV4 SUV. Available styles include XLE 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A), XLE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A), LE 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A), LE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A), Adventure 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A), SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A), SE 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A), Adventure 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A), Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A), and Platinum 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A). Pre-owned Toyota RAV4 models are available with a 2.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 176 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 comes with front wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 2 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2018 Toyota RAV4?
Price comparisons for Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 trim styles:
- The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 XLE is priced between $19,998 and$30,998 with odometer readings between 6213 and113540 miles.
- The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 LE is priced between $18,998 and$28,888 with odometer readings between 5594 and124539 miles.
- The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Limited is priced between $20,999 and$31,998 with odometer readings between 13185 and133135 miles.
- The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 SE is priced between $22,000 and$30,990 with odometer readings between 13818 and111842 miles.
- The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure is priced between $23,980 and$28,998 with odometer readings between 34561 and104483 miles.
- The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Platinum is priced between $31,590 and$31,590 with odometer readings between 39698 and39698 miles.
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Which used 2018 Toyota RAV4S are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2018 Toyota RAV4 for sale near. There are currently 230 used and CPO 2018 RAV4S listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $18,998 and mileage as low as 5594 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2018 Toyota RAV4.
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Should I lease or buy a 2018 Toyota RAV4?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.