Thursday, December 18, 2008

Toyota RAV4 - What the Auto Press Says

The 2009 Toyota RAV4 ranks 2 out of 27 Affordable Compact SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of 65 published reviews and test drives of the Toyota RAV4, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

The RAV4 delivers an excellent combination of power, performance and interior comfort in its class.

More than 10 years after it was first introduced, the RAV4 maintains a strong reputation for reliability, safety and interior comfort. "Available with the most powerful engine in the compact-SUV class, seating for seven, and impressive cargo room, refinement, and road manners, RAV4 is worth a look," says Consumer Guide. The RAV4 is relatively unchanged for 2009 and continues its award-winning heritage. Car and Driver selected it as one of its 5 Best Trucks for 2007 and IntelliChoice gave the 2007 model an award for "Highest Retained Value" in its class.

Despite its long award shelf, the RAV4 has not threatened the sales leaders in the compact SUV segment through the first half of 2008. Though its fuel economy places it in the top half of its class, it still can't compete with more efficient rivals. It is often compared to the similar Honda CR-V, which isn't as fuel-efficient but features an easier-to-use tailgate design.

In addition to the base model, the 2009 RAV4 comes in a performance-oriented Sport and top-of-the-line Limited trim. Four-wheel drive is optional.

  • "The RAV4's combination of compact size, plentiful and practical interior space, excellent powertrains, solid and substantial feel, and fine road manners makes for a sensible real-world SUV. The fact that pricing starts at barely over $20 grand is just icing on the cake." -- Car and Driver
  • "The RAV4 is among the most versatile compact crossover-type SUVs." -- Truck Trend
  • "It's very much in tune with what buyers now expect from any new utility. That is the biggest possible versatility in the smallest, most efficient package possible." -- Motor Week

RAV4 Performance - 8.2 (Very Good)

With a modified four-cylinder engine and an optional V6, the 2009 RAV4 offers better performance than ever. "Toyota's RAV4 has always been a pleasure to drive," says the Chicago Daily Herald. "Now, the larger V-6 engine provides RAV4 with a performance edge when compared to its compact SUV competitors." Continue with our full Toyota RAV4 Performance Review to learn why test drivers recommend the V6 over the four-cylinder engine option. continue

RAV4 Exterior - 8.4 (Very Good)

Though the RAV4 traditionally had a "cute" exterior, reviewers have responded well to its sleek redesign -- even going so far as to favor its looks over its traditional rival, the Honda CR-V. "The previous RAV's cute-ute styling has been replaced by sleek, sporty, modernly rugged good looks that fit its longer frame perfectly," says Motor Week. Reviewers' only complaints concern the design of its cargo door. Continue with our full Toyota RAV4 Exterior Review to learn exactly what some don't like about its rear door. continue

RAV4 Interior - 7.7 (Good)

The 2009 Toyota RAV4 is well-liked regarded for comfortable and stylish cabin. "The interior of the RAV4 is OK -- neither impressive nor stark," says MSN. "The mix of textures on the doors and dashboard is nicely done and doesn't look cheap." A big plus is a third-row seating option, which is a rare find in the compact SUV class. However, what the RAV4 doesn't offer is a navigation system. Continue with our full Toyota RAV4 Interior Review to learn more about the RAV4's many seating positions. continue

RAV4 Safety - 9.3 (Excellent)

Reviews are very positive about the 2009 RAV4's safety features, which include side air bags. This year's model also does very well in federal government crash tests. Continue with our full Toyota RAV4 Safety Review to learn more about the RAV4's safety equipment. continue

RAV4 Reliability - 10.0 (Excellent)

The 2009 Toyota RAV4 reliability score shown is the Predicted Reliability rating provided by J.D. Power and Associates. This score is based on trending the past three years of historical initial quality and dependability data from J.D. Power's automotive studies, specifically the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and the Initial Quality Study (IQS). The 2009 Toyota RAV4 comes with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty. Continue with our full Toyota RAV4 Reliability Review to learn what the auto press thinks about the RAV4's reliability. continue

MSRP: $21,500 - $27,810
Invoice: $19,888 - $25,307
MPG: 22 City / 28 Hwy

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