Toyota RAV4

#12 in Compact SUVs Overall Score: 7.7 / 10
2016 Toyota RAV4 View More Photos »
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2016 Toyota RAV4 Overview

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 ranks 12 out of 18 Compact SUVs.

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 slots into the middle of our compact SUV rankings, albeit on the lower end of the middle. It also ranks among the class leaders in terms of cargo space and predicted ...

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Pros & Cons

  • Abundant cargo space
  • Supportive front seats
  • Above-average predicted reliability rating
  • Sluggish transmission
  • Unresponsive touch screen

Notable for 2016

  • Updated interior materials and exterior styling
  • New SE trim added to lineup

Toyota RAV4 Rankings and Research

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 ranking is based on its score within the Compact SUVs category. Currently the Toyota RAV4 has a score of 7.7 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 38 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.


Overall: 7.7
Critics' Rating: 7.4
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 7.4
Safety: 9.3
Reliability: 4_0


2016 Toyota RAV4 Pictures

2016 Toyota RAV4 Review

By Cody Trotter July 8, 2016

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 slots into the middle of our compact SUV rankings, albeit on the lower end of the middle. It also ranks among the class leaders in terms of cargo space and predicted reliability, and critics think the RAV4’s front seats offer plenty of support. However, our analysis of professional reviews and data shows that the transmission is a drag on an engine that's merely average to begin with, and the infotainment system can be frustrating to use.

At $24,350, the RAV4's base price is among the highest in the class. There are three higher trims and multiple option packages to choose from, depending on which of the more advanced features you want. If you decide to go all the way, the RAV4 can cost about $35,000, which is a bit more expensive than class rivals. 

RAV4 Performance

Average Engine

The RAV4 is not a vehicle that driving enthusiasts will salivate over. It features a four-cylinder engine that delivers enough power and acceleration so that you won't be confined to the right lane on the highway, but not so much that you'll pass other cars with ease. The six-speed automatic transmission also holds the engine back a little bit because it is hesitant to downshift when you're asking for more power, and sometimes it has to hunt for the right gear.

When it comes to fuel economy, the RAV4, again, is adequate but not outstanding. It earns an estimated 23 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway, which are typical numbers for the class.

Comfortable Ride

Like most other compact SUVs, the RAV4 comes standard with front-wheel drive. You'll have no trouble with winding roads thanks to the accurate steering and composed handling, and available all-wheel drive can provide extra road grip if you want it. The RAV4 delivers an enjoyably hushed ride that's generally smooth, though the Limited trim rides more roughly than lower trims because of its larger wheels.

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RAV4 Interior

Substance Over Style

Look around the cabin, and you'll notice that the RAV4 uses quality materials. However, you may not be all that impressed with the cabin design, which looks less modern than some rivals' interiors.

Regardless of what you think about how the cabin looks, you'll probably enjoy how it feels. The RAV4's front seats are comfortable and have plenty of support, ensuring that you'll never feel achy or cramped after a drive. The rear seats are also comfortable and provide enough legroom for adults to ride in the back. Still, competitors like the Kia Sportage have roomier back seats.

Mixed Bag of Infotainment Features

Highlighting the RAV4's interior features list is the Entune infotainment system, which includes a 6.1-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, and a USB port. The system is intuitive, but it can be unresponsive at times, and setting it up initially may prove frustrating.

An upgraded version of the Entune system is available. It includes a larger touch screen and navigation, and it also increases your listening choices with features like satellite radio and HD Radio. Siri Eyes Free and smartphone app integration give you plenty of access to your phone and make it easier to use while driving.

An 11-speaker JBL audio system, which provides you with outstanding sound quality, is available. Other optional features include comfort and convenience options like dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, and a moonroof.

Spacious Cargo Hold

With all seats in use, the RAV4's 38.4 cubic feet of cargo space leads the class. With the rear seats folded down, the RAV4 has 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which is excellent for the class and more than rivals like the Nissan Rogue and GMC Terrain.

The RAV4 is available with a power liftgate, letting you open the hatch at the touch of a button. The power liftgate also has a height adjustment feature, so you can set how high the door opens, preventing damage to your vehicle if you're in a low-ceilinged garage.

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RAV4 Pricing, Options, and Trims

The RAV4 LE (base trim) has a starting price of $24,350, which is one of the highest base prices in the class – only the Volkswagen Tiguan is more expensive among nonhybrid compact SUVs. The LE comes with a rearview camera, a six-speaker audio system, voice recognition, and the Entune infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, and a USB port.

There are three higher RAV4 trims. The XLE starts at $26,270 and adds features like a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, and satellite radio. The SE, which is new for 2016, starts at $30,665. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, blind spot monitoring, and a sport-tuned suspension.

The highest trim is the Limited, which starts at $31,510 and comes standard with most features available in the RAV4. It builds on the SE trim with the addition of standard features like Entune Premium audio and navigation, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. The few features the Limited trim lacks are available as part of one of the option packages.

For any trim, adding all-wheel drive costs an extra $1,400, and there are a few other option packages to choose from. There are several Entune packages that get you the upgraded infotainment system and navigation at a cost of $500 to $1,300, depending on which trim you're adding it to.

The Convenience package costs $2,460 and includes the upgraded infotainment system, navigation, and some active safety features such as blind spot monitoring and front and rear parking sensors.

The Advanced Technology package costs around $1,500 to $3,000 depending on trim, and includes a 360-degree camera, front and rear parking sensors, an 11-speaker JBL audio system, and smartphone app integration.

See 2016 Toyota RAV4 specs and trims »

RAV4 Safety and Reliability

Though class rivals like the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson have higher safety scores, the RAV4 still scores well on crash tests. It was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and given a five-star overall rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A rearview camera comes standard in the RAV4, and several other driver assistance features are available. Parking can be stressful if there are a lot of other cars around, especially if you're parallel parking on a crowded street, but available front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree camera can help you squeeze into a spot and avoid dinging other cars.

On the highway, features like blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning can help you make safe lane changes. And rear cross traffic alert and pedestrian detection can help out around the neighborhood by alerting you to people or objects you might not see.

The RAV4 has one of the highest predicted reliability ratings in the class, and Toyota covers the RAV4 with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

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Read more about reliability »

Other SUVs to Consider

The Mazda CX-5 is arguably the most fun-to-drive vehicle in the class. It has impressive handling abilities and sharp steering that make navigating curvy roads a fun challenge instead of a chore. The CX-5 has good safety ratings, and it gets much better fuel economy than the RAV4. The interior has an abundance of high-end materials, making it one of the more nicely appointed cabins in the class. Both rows of seats have enough room to fit adults, and the CX-5's infotainment system is incredibly user-friendly.

The Ford Escape has a lineup of turbocharged engines, with the more powerful available engines delivering good acceleration and plenty of passing power. It's one of the most agile compact SUVs on the market, and the Escape has a lower starting price than the RAV4 to boot. The interior has an upscale look and feel, and the variety of infotainment and driver assistance features make the Escape one of the most high-tech cars in the class. While the Escape doesn't offer quite as much cargo space as the RAV4 (but still a good total for the class as a whole), it does have a hands-free power liftgate, which you can open just by waving your foot under the bumper.

Compare the RAV4, CX-5, and Escape in more detail »

Details: 2016 Toyota RAV4

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 seats five and comes in four trims: LE, XLE, SE, and Limited. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive are standard. All-wheel drive is available. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is reviewed separately. The Toyota RAV4 was last redesigned for the 2013 model year and sees few changes for 2016. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2013 through 2016 model years.

Standard features in the 2016 RAV4 include Bluetooth, voice recognition, a six-speaker audio system, a rearview camera, and the Entune infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touch screen and a USB port.

Available features include a power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, an 11-speaker JBL audio system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera, and an upgraded infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, HD radio, Siri Eyes Free, and smartphone app integration.

See 2016 Toyota RAV4 specs and trims »

  • "The 2015 Toyota RAV4 offers very good interior materials and ergonomics, and we especially like the Entune infotainment system and the standard rearview camera. However, while the RAV4 remains a top seller, other compact crossover SUVs have surpassed it in some key areas. Fuel economy, while good, is bested by competitors like the Mazda CX-5, the all-wheel-drive Subaru Forester, and the RAV's longtime rival, the Honda CR-V." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Although the 2015 Toyota RAV4 isn't a standout in any one area, its combination of features, passenger space and everyday utility warrant a closer look if you're shopping for a small crossover." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "The latest version of the RAV4 - that's short for Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel-drive - isn't the most stylish or exciting CUV around, but it does provide the space, comfort and efficiency that buyers prize." -- Left Lane News (2015)

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